The 2002 Ohio State Buckeyes were one of the most noteworthy college football teams of recent vintage. Under the guidance of head coach Jim Tressel, the Bucks became the first team to finish a season 14-0, surviving several regular season cliffhangers en route to a memorable overtime victory over defending champion Miami in the BCS National Championship Game.
While Ohio State's 2002 season may be unforgettable, it's easy to lose track of what became of some of the key figures from that championship campaign. So we're here to take a look at how each of OSU's starters fared on the football field, post-college, and what they are up to today.
Before get into that, we'll start with Tressel. He resigned as head coach of Ohio State in May 2011 after coming under fire for a number of NCAA violations. Tressel then served as a consultant for the NFL's Indianapolis Colts before taking a non-athletic department position at Akron. Since May 2014, he has been the President of Youngstown State, where he coached from 1986-2000.
The co-MVP of the 2002 Buckeyes (along with Chris Gamble), Krenzel became a fifth-round draft pick of the Chicago Bears in 2004. He played one year with the team, his only season in the NFL, throwing for 718 yards, three touchdowns and six interceptions in six games (five starts). Currently a motivational football speaker, Krenzel is also the founder of the Arthur Krenzel Lett Insurance Group and serves as an occasional commentator for WBNS 97.1 The FAN in Columbus.
RB Maurice Clarett
A freshman sensation, Clarett was suspended by Ohio State for the 2003 season for filing a false police report. After unsuccessfully petitioning to enter the 2004 NFL Draft, Clarett was selected in the third round of the 2005 Draft by the Denver Broncos. He never played a down in the NFL, however, and spent several years battling depression, substance abuse and legal troubles. Clarett has since turned his life around, and is now as the owner of an industrial cleaner/pallet broker business in Ohio. He also spends considerable amounts of time as a public speaker, counseling and motivating others.
FB Brandon Joe
Spent time with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2006 but never played in a regular season game. Is now the Vice President of Strategic Business Development for Optimized Care Network in the Columbus, Ohio area.
A first-round pick of the Atlanta Falcons in 2004, Jenkins carved out a solid pro career, catching 354 passes for 4,427 yards and 25 touchdowns over nine seasons with the Falcons and Minnesota Vikings.
Gamble was a two-way star at wide receiver and cornerback for the Buckeyes before being chosen in the first round of the 2004 Draft by the Carolina Panthers. He played nine seasons for the Panthers and owns the franchise record for career interceptions with 27. Gamble retired from football in March 2013.
Hartsock was a third-round selection of the Indianapolis Colts in 2004, and he lasted 10 years in the NFL, last playing for the Carolina Panthers in 2013. He was cut by the New England Patriots last year, is currently a free agent. In his career, Hartsock has snagged 31 receptions for 312 yards and one touchdown.
LT Ivan Douglas
Blood clots derailed Douglas’ football career, and in 2006, he put his BCS Championship ring up for sale. Currently works for the Regional Transit Authority in Cleveland.
LG Adrien Clarke
Clarke was taken in the seventh round of the 2004 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. He played in 14 games with the franchise during the 2005 season before starting 14 contests for the New York Jets in 2007. Clarke then had a stint in the United Football League, and currently works as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at Pro Grade Performance in Ohio.
C Alex Stepanovich
Fourth round selection of the Arizona Cardinals in 2004. Stepanovich played in 46 games in his NFL career, starting 34 of them.
RG Bryce Bishop
Bishop was not selected in the NFL Draft. We're pretty certain he is currently a middle school teacher in Miami, his hometown, but we're not 100 percent positive.
RT Shane Olivea
Olivea parlayed being a seventh-round pick by the San Diego Chargers into earning a starting role as a rookie. He played for the Chargers for four years, making 57 starts, before back injuries ended his career prematurely.
DE Will Smith
The New Orleans Saints chose Smith with their first-round selection in 2004, and he went on to have a very productive career on the Bayou. He reached a Pro Bowl in 2006, and helped the team win a Super Bowl in 2009, recording double-digit sacks in both years. Smith hasn’t played in the NFL since 2012, but has not officially retired from the sport.
DT Kenny Peterson
Peterson was picked by the Green Bay Packers in the third round of the 2003 NFL Draft and went on to play seven seasons with the Pack and the Denver Broncos. He currently works in the Denver area as an Independent Representative for eMedical LLC.
DT Tim Anderson
Anderson was a fourth-round pick of the Buffalo Bills in 2004. He played for the Bills, Cowboys and Falcons until 2009, and now works as a high school social studies teacher in Ohio.
DE Darrion Scott
Scott played in parts of six NFL seasons after the Minnesota Vikings selected him in the third round of the 2004 draft. He also found himself on the wrong side of the law multiple times for a myriad of offenses during his pro career. Scott currently works as the owner of Scott Transportation Services in Fort Myers, Florida.
Grant is probably best known for his rendition of “Carmen Ohio” performed during the national championship celebration. He recorded another version of the song in January as his alma mater pursued the College Football Playoff national championship. A three-year NFL veteran with the New Orleans Saints, Grant lives in the Pittsburgh area, where he works as an engineer in the oil and gas industry.
Picked by the San Diego Chargers in the fourth round of the 2003 NFL Draft, Wilhelm played eight seasons in the league and won a Super Bowl with the Green Back Packers in 2010. Since 2010, he has served as the Ohio State pre-game show co-host for Cleveland radio station WKNR AM 850. He also appears on Cleveland’s ABC affiliate as an OSU and Cleveland Browns analyst.
A fifth-round pick of the Tennessee Titans in 2004, Reynolds lasted three seasons with the team and has settled down in Bowling Green, Ky., as an equipment salesman for the Columbus Equipment Company.
CB Chris Gamble
We covered Gamble in the wide receiver section. He also started at cornerback.
CB Dustin Fox
Fox was tabbed by the Minnesota Vikings in the second round of the 2005 NFL Draft, but a broken arm in training camp kept him out of action the entire 2005 season. He would go on to appear in 12 games with the Philadelphia Eagles and Buffalo Bills over the next three seasons. Fox currently serves as a commentator for the Cleveland Browns’ pre and post-game shows for WKRK-FM.
FS Donnie Nickey
Nickey was picked in the fifth round of the 2003 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans, and played nine seasons with the team, becoming a special teams standout. He struggled with life after football, abusing alcohol and painkillers, before turning to sobriety in March 2014. Since then, Nickey has assisted at Discovery Place, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center for men, and works in the financial industry at MetLife Strategic Financial Partners.
SS Mike Doss
A second-round pick of the Indianapolis Colts in 2003, Doss won a Super Bowl ring with the team in 2006. He last played in the NFL during the 2008 season as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals. Doss currently works as a Territory Sales Consultant for Biomet in Central Ohio.
K Mike Nugent
A surprising second-round draft choice of the New York Jets in 2005, Nugent is still kicking around the NFL, literally. He’s been with the Cincinnati Bengals since 2010, and made a 58-yard field goal in the team’s playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts in January. He enters the 2015 season as the Bengals’ starting kicker.
P Andy Groom
Groom had a brief stint with the Washington Redskins in 2005, and since 2007 has worked as an account manager in the medical division at Stryker selling therapeutic beds, surfaces, furniture and disposables.