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Chris Gamble: The (My) Ultimate Buckeye

You can have Archie or Eddie.

Living the first half of my life as a California kid in San Diego County, I wasn’t really born a Buckeye fan. I preferred watching San Diego State and those college kids from Los Angeles who wear the Cardinal and Gold.

My father was born in Columbus, Ohio, so I was a little familiar with Ohio State. I remember playing the EA Sports NCAA Football game on the original PlayStation, and the Ohio Bobcats were a much worse team than the Buckeyes. Knowing that my dad was from Ohio, I asked him why Ohio U wasn’t as good as Ohio State. His response was a simple “It’s just how it is.” I didn’t ask any further questions. That’s when I started paying attention and became a fan of Ohio State football.

I was fortunate enough to jump on the Ohio State bandwagon right before the 2002 season started. There was one player on that team who stood out to me from the very beginning: Chris Lee Gamble. He played all over the field, wore #7 (one of my favorite numbers), and had the ability to do great things with the football every time he touched it. He was 1st-team All-Big Ten and 3rd-team All-American as a cornerback.

The Buckeyes played in a lot of close games in 2002. October 26 wasn’t any different, when Ohio State welcomed Penn State to the Horseshoe. In the beginning of the 3rd quarter, Gamble picked off a pass and returned it for a touchdown, which ended up being the only touchdown scored by the Buckeyes in their 13-7 victory. A couple of weeks later, he intercepted a pass from Purdue’s Kyle Orton in the final minutes to seal the victory in West Lafayette. Gamble was also the wide receiver in the Fiesta Bowl who Miami (FL) cornerback Glenn Sharpe committed his controversial pass interference penalty against.

After his junior season, Gamble forwent his final year of eligibility and entered the 2004 NFL Draft. The Carolina Panthers drafted Gamble in the first round, which thrilled me because I played Pop Warner football for the Eastlake/Bonita Panthers. It was only right that my favorite Buckeye and I were always on the same team.

Gamble doesn't get any pub when folks start talking about the greatest Ohio State football players of all time. That talk is reserved for players like Archie Griffin, Eddie George, Orlando Pace, and Troy Smith. They, among other Buckeye greats, do deserve that recognition.

But Chris Gamble belongs in the conversation as well. He's one of the best (if not the best) Buckeyes of all time.