Ohio State Buckeyes legend, Heisman Trophy winner Howard ‘Hopalong’ Cassady dies at 85

Ohio State Buckeyes football great Howard “Hopalong” Cassady died Friday in Tampa, Florida, the school announced. He was 85. Cassady was born in Columbus and stayed close for his college years. The two-time All-American helped Ohio State to an undefeated, national title season in 1954 and won the Heisman Trophy the following year. At the time of his graduation, he held the school records for career rushing yards (2,466), all-purpose yards (4,403) and scoring (222 points).Legend has it that as a defensive back, no opposing team completed a pass against him. He was a two-time consensus All-American under coach Woody Hayes, and Ohio State retired his No. 40 in 2000. “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. “He was an all-time great Buckeye in every way. We will have the Cassady family in our thoughts and in our prayers.”Cassady will be honored Saturday at Ohio Stadium during Ohio State’s game against Miami (Ohio).The nickname “Hopalong” emerged following the first game of his career with the Buckeyes. Sportswriters observed he darted all over the field on both sides of the ball, and the moniker was in reference to “Hopalong Cassidy,” a popular fictional character that appeared in cowboys movies and television shows at the time. Cassady went on to a nine-year NFL career, spending the first seven seasons with the Detroit Lions. He won the 1957 NFL Championship with the team and played the 1962 season with the Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles. After his playing days, Cassady ditched the gridiron for the baseball diamond. He became a scout for the New York Yankees and also served as the first base coach of their Class AAA affiliate, the Columbus Clippers. 

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