Archie Griffin: Sophomore year my best

Everyone knows Archie Griffin is the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner in college football annals.

But you’ll get a funny response when you ask the former great Ohio State running back which year was his best, 1974 or 1975?

“Neither,” he said matter-of-factly last week at Belmont Hills Country Club following a round of golf in the Ohio Valley Christian Soldiers Golf Classic in memory of Jeffrey Showalter. “My sophomore season (1973) was my best season, in all honesty.”

The small, but elusive Griffin ran the ball 247 times for 1,577 yards and seven touchdowns as a sophomore. His Heisman Trophy numbers were 1,695 yards on 256 carries and a dozen TDs as a junior and 262 totes for 1,450 stripes, but only four six-pointers.

Penn State running back John Cappelletti won the coveted trophy in 1973.

“He deserved it,” Griffin allowed. “I’m not saying I should’ve won it that year because John really did deserve it. I just think that my sophomore season was my very best at Ohio State.

“I look at those two trophies from time to time, but I always say, ‘those Heisman trophies reflect the teams that I played on because we had some great guys. Those guys made me look good enough to win two Heisman trophies.’

“We had a great team camaraderie,” he continued. “Everyone liked each other. We played hard and we were rewarded.

“I remember playing on some great teams at Ohio State,” Griffin recalled. “We won four Big Ten championships. We played in four Rose Bowls. The only thing I regret is that never won a national championship.

“We had a whole bunch of fun and really enjoyed each other’s company. It was wonderful playing for Woody Hayes,” the former Buckeye great added.

What does Griffin think about players being paid?

“I don’t like the thought of college athletes being considered as employees of the university,” he stressed. “But I do feel like college players need to be compensated. The things that have been ruled recently are good. These players should get cost of attendance for playing football.

“These kids are smart kids and they see what is going on around the country, especially your big 5 conferences,” he added. “They see the millions of dollars that are being made. The see the coaches are being paid millions and millions of dollars.

“When you look at it, the players nowadays are basically getting the same thing that I got when I played,” he recalled. “I think it’s a good move. I think they should be getting more, and I’m not talking about employee relationship with the university.”

He said he thinks Ohio State will be alright this season.

“I think we’ll be fine. Urban (Meyer) is a great coach and he’s done a wonderful job of recruiting great athletes,” Griffin allowed. “Woody Hayes used to say that you win with people. I think he’s got the people there that he can win with.”

Griffin might be a little more than biased in his opinion of his alma mater. His son Adam is currently a reserve defensive back for the Buckeyes.

Being a two-time Heisman awardee, Griffin knows a little about what it takes to be named college football’s top player. Can the Buckeyes’ Braxton Miller win it this year?

“I think he’s got a legitimate shot if we can keep him healthy,” Griffin said. “Jameis Winston is also a great player and Florida State has a really good team around him, so he’s got a chance to win it again.”

Can the Buckeyes replace Carlos Hyde this season?

“Even last year, when Carlos was suspended for three games, we had some guys in the waiting,” he noted. “We’ve got some terrific athletes back there. We’re not lacking in that position.”