RB | Senior | The Ohio State University
Cassady won Ohio State’s third Heisman, joining Les Horvath and Vic Janowicz.
Born in Columbus, Ohio, Cassady attended Central High. Ohio State was in his blood — as a boy, he would sneak into Ohio Stadium to watch the Buckeyes play — so there was little doubt about what college he would attend.
It didn’t take OSU fans long to realize why Howard “Hopalong” Cassady was something special. In his first collegiate game, the season opener against Indiana in 1952, the 150-pound freshman came off the bench to score three touchdowns and lead the Buckeyes to a 33-13 victory. From then on, “Hop” was a regular in the OSU lineup, playing in 36 of a possible 37 games and leading the Buckeyes to a combined record of 29-8 during the next four years. In 1954, Cassady won unanimous All-America honors and helped the Buckeyes to a perfect 10-0 record and the first of five national championships for Coach Woody Hayes. The 1954 season concluded with a convincing 20-7 win over Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl.
Cassady again won All-America acclaim in 1955, when he rushed for 958 yards and 15 touchdowns. At the end of the year, Cassady’s list of accolades included the Heisman Trophy and recognition by the Associated Press as the 1955 Athlete of the Year. Cassady, who also was an outstanding defensive back, finished his collegiate career with 2,466 rushing yards. That total still ranks 11th on the all-time OSU rushing list. He also played baseball at OSU, starting at shortstop for three years.
After graduation, Cassady was a first round pick of the Detroit Lions. He played defensive back with Detroit, Cleveland and Philadelphia before retiring. “Hop” who lived in Tampa in his later years, spent many summers in Columbus as a coach for the Columbus Clippers, the Yankees’ AAA farm club. His jersey number “40” was retired Nov. 18, 2000.
Cassady is a member of the Ohio State University Athletics (1997), College Football (1979) and Columbus Baseball (2005) halls of fame. He died on Sept. 20, 2019, at the age of 85.