The Buckeye Battle Cry will be counting down the Top 25 players of the past decade all spring/summer. Every Monday through May and June, Jim will be announcing a new player. Starting in July, we will be announcing new additions on Monday and Thursday. Our #1 player will be presented on Monday, August 30th. Three days later, the 2010 season officially begins. For a look at the rest of the Top 25, click here.
Bobby Carpenter (2004-2005)
Bobby Carpenter was a two year starter at strong side linebacker for the Silver Bullets. Along with A.J. Hawk and Anthony Schlegel, he was a part of one of the best linebacking corps in the country in his two years as a starter.
Although Carpenter was overshadowed when it came to national recognition and awards by Hawk, Carpenter’s contributions should not be overlooked. Most importantly, Carpenter revolutionized the LEO position on defense.
Prior to Carpenter, Ohio State had dropped a defensive end into coverage on occasion (most notably with Will Smith), but when Carpenter put his hand in the dirt as a pass rusher in 2005, the way Ohio State utilized its rush ends would never be the same.
You can see Carpenter’s influence in guys like Thaddeus Gibson and Nathan Williams. Both were primarily linebackers in high school and transformed into rush ends/ linebackers at Ohio State. The LEO position at Ohio State is Carpenter’s legacy and that is something to take note of.
Another thing that I remember about Carpenter was The Game in Ann Arbor in 2005. Carpenter was a senior and was clearly looking forward to one last thrashing of arch rival Michigan. Sadly, he broke his leg on the first play of the game. Unable to play, Carpenter was clearly upset, however, he stayed on the sidelines and cheered his team on for the remainder of the game, highly emotional and highly involved the entire time. That act showed what type of person, teammate, and Buckeye Bobby Carpenter is and I will always remember him for that.
The silver lining of Carpenter’s injury was that it allowed a young freshman by the name of James Laurinaitis to see his first significant playing time in a game, and as we all know, good things happened from there.
Carpenter was drafted in the first round by the Dallas Cowboys in the 2006 NFL draft. His time in Dallas was somewhat disappointing, but this off season he was traded to the St. Louis Rams, where he will be joining none other than James Laurinaitis. Small world.
Hopefully this fresh start will allow Carpenter to break out of mediocrity in the NFL, but no matter what happens, Carpenter’s legacy at Ohio State is secure, and for that he is #20 on our countdown.