The college football world just lost a legend. According to WBNS via 247Sports, former Ohio State halfback and Heisman Trophy winner Howard "Hopalong" Cassady died at his home in Tampa, Florida. He was 85 years old.
Cassady played for the Buckeyes from 1952 to 1955. He helped Ohio State win the National Championship in 1954 and he finished his career with 2,374 rushing yards and 30 rushing touchdowns. He won the Heisman in 1955 after rushing for 958 yards and 14 touchdowns. Along with winning the Heisman, Cassady was named Associated Press Athlete of the Year and he won the Maxwell Award. He was also named an All-American in 1954 and 1955.
In 1956, Cassady was drafted by the Detroit Lions No. 3 overall and he rushed for 413 yards his rookie season. In his time in the NFL, Cassady was known as an all-purpose back as he scored six rushing touchdowns and 18 receiving touchdowns in his career. Cassady played in the NFL from 1956-1963. However, Cassady was used more as a defensive back and he played a role in the Lions winning the NFL Championship in 1957.
"We've lost not only a legendary Buckeye, but also a wonderful person in Hop Cassady," Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said in a statement via ESPN. "He was an all-time great Buckeye in every way. We will have the Cassady family in our thoughts and in our prayers."
Back in 2015, Cassady talked about how his teammates helped him win the Heisman.
"When you’ve got a great team, you’ve got a chance to win the Heisman,” Cassady said. “If you don’t have those people up front blocking for you, you’re not going to win anything. But you have to have a winning team and outstanding players, and that’s how I won it.”
Ohio State historian, Jack Park remembers Cassady being able to make plays when the team needed it the most.
“In my opinion, Hopalong, probably as much as anyone in Ohio State football history, made the big play when the team really needed it,” Park said of Cassady. “He was a true Mr. Clutch."
Cassady was third Ohio State player to win the Heisman. The school has had seven players win the top award in college football which ties Notre Dame for the most at any school. The last Heisman winner at Ohio State was quarterback Troy Smith in 2006.