That's the unexpected part. Despite having the most draft choices in college football history (85), Ohio State has never produced an exceptional NFL quarterback. The finest one wasn't even picked; Tomczak signed as a free agent with the Bears in 1985. He played in three games before suffering a knee injury and was replaced by Brian Griese.
The best of the Buckeyes' quarterbacks were gritty, smart players who didn't possess great physical skills but managed to win a lot of games. They include: Paul Hornung, No. 8 overall pick in the 1955 draft by the Green Bay Packers; Terry Hanratty, a five-time Pro Bowler with the Steelers who led them in interceptions during the 1980s; and Jim Plunkett, the only Heisman Trophy winner in Ohio State history. He went on to play eight seasons in Oakland and one in New York after being drafted by the Chiefs.
There have been some good quarterbacks coming out of the school over the years, including Steve Young, Ken Dorsey, Craig Krenzel, and Terrelle Pryor. But they weren't really considered top-flight players at any point in their careers; none of them won more than 14 games in the NFL.
The top Ohio State quarterbacks include previous OSU players like Braxton Miller, Troy Smith, Joe Germaine, and Mike Tomczak, as well as a current quarterback like Dwayne Haskins, who was taken into the NFL and made his stamp on the institution.
Haskins came out of nowhere to lead the Buckeyes to an undefeated regular season and then win the College Football Playoff National Championship. He threw for over 3,000 yards and 28 touchdowns and only seven interceptions while completing 62 percent of his passes.
There's also reason to believe that he can continue to improve. During his Heisman Trophy season, he took some big hits that would have ended many other quarterbacks' careers, but he kept playing even after getting hit in the head multiple times.
Besides Haskins, there are no other Buckeyes in the NFL, which shows how highly regarded they are among scouts and coaches.
That being said, it's hard to argue with the success of the other OSU quarterbacks, most notably Tomczak, who had a 10-year career and won 50 games before going on to have a successful run with the Chicago Bears.
Overall, we think Haskins has the talent to be one of the best quarterbacks in Ohio State history.
Tomczak, an undrafted free agent, was the most successful. NFL quarterbacks from Ohio State
|CAREER STATISTICS||2,804 yards, 12 TDs, 14 INTs|
Tomczak was drafted by the Bears out of Ohio State and won a Super Bowl ring in his first season as a backup. In five more seasons in Chicago, he made 31 starts, winning his first ten to set a record. He was released by the Bears prior to the 2004 season and signed with the Texans that year. After missing most of 2005 with a knee injury, Tomczak was released by the Texans in June 2006.
The Patriots picked him up a few days later and gave him a chance to win their starting job. But after losing the first two games of the season to Ryan Mallett, New England traded for Josh McDaniels and brought him in as their new offensive coordinator. With McDaniels calling the plays for New England, Tomczak lost his job to Mallett again. This time for good when Mallett was acquired by the Saints early in 2008. Tomczak finished his career with three years in Baltimore, where he made six appearances before announcing his retirement at the age of 30 in 2009.
In four seasons in the NFL, Tomczak passed for 4,043 yards with 28 touchdowns against 13 interceptions. He also ran for seven more scores.
After retiring from football, Tomczak stayed in Baltimore and worked as a security guard. In 2013, he was charged with second-degree assault and criminal restraint after an incident involving his girlfriend.
Santonio Holmes, the most complete Ohio State receiver of the twenty-first century, is a newcomer to this list.
The Ohio League was the main professional football league prior to the NFL. The Columbus Panhandles, Dayton Triangles, Massillon Tigers, Portsmouth Spartans, Akron Pros, and, most successfully both before and after the NFL's debut, the Canton Bulldogs would all join the league.
Brady Quinn is the most recent player to join the list, and he has by far the greatest numbers of the 10. After a struggling Carlyle Holiday was removed by then-head coach Tyrone Willingham during his rookie season, Quinn was given the starting role at Notre Dame. Since then, he has been nothing short of amazing. In fact, no other quarterback has even come close since then.
Quinn started every game for four years and finished with a record of 21-7 as a starter. That means he won more than half of his games; only two other quarterbacks have ever done that. He also threw for over 9,000 yards during his time at Notre Dame and had 85 touchdowns versus only 14 interceptions. He ended up winning the Heisman Trophy in 2005 when he was a junior.
When it came to passing yardage, no one was even close to him. Only Brady Quinn could say he was the best quarterback never to win the Heisman because he didn't win it while at Notre Dame. However, he did finish second three times and third once during his career there so he's not totally absent from the discussion.
Now that he's gone, someone will need to step up for Notre Dame this year if they want to continue their tradition of producing great quarterbacks. The leading candidate appears to be Tommy Rees who arrived this summer after spending one season at Pittsburgh.
This glut of outstanding quarterbacks who appear to be so promising creates a lot of excitement and anticipation on draft day, but it generally ends in disappointment and sorrow a season or two later when yet another collegiate star fails to make it to the big leagues. Here are 15 brilliant college quarterbacks who failed to make it in the NFL.
They include nine men who played for two schools and one man who played for three colleges in his career. Three of them were first-round picks, four were second-round choices and four more were taken after that. They include two Heisman Trophy winners and two National Football League MVP awards. They also include one person who was considered by many to be the greatest football player ever - Notre Dame's Joe Montana.
The list is not all losers, though. There are actually quite a few people who succeeded in the NFL despite coming up through the system rather than being drafted by them. Some of these players were very successful, others not so much. Still, they all have at least one thing in common - they were all spectacular college quarterbacks who never made it into the Pro Bowl or the Hall of Fame. Maybe they will someday join the other fifteen on this list.
Here they are:
Dan Marino - Penn State University - 1978 - 1999
John Elway - Ohio State University - 1979 - 2019