In a momentous announcement, former Ohio State Buckeye linebacker Randy Gradishar has been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, solidifying his status as one of the game’s greatest defenders. The induction ceremony, set to take place in Canton, Ohio, later this summer before the commencement of the 2024 NFL season, will be a culmination of Gradishar’s illustrious career. Adding to the excitement, his former Denver Broncos teammate, Tom Jackson, will have the honor of presenting him at the enshrinement ceremony.

Randy Gradishar’s journey to football greatness began during his college years at the Ohio State University, where he played under legendary coach Woody Hayes. Gradishar quickly established himself as a dominant force on the field, showcasing remarkable skills and an unyielding determination. Known for his exceptional tackling ability and football intelligence, Gradishar was a key player in the Buckeyes’ defense, earning All-American honors in 1972 before being named a consensus All-American in 1973.

Woody Hayes, a coaching icon renowned for his tough demeanor and commitment to excellence, had high praise for Gradishar. In one memorable statement, Hayes lauded Gradishar’s work ethic, calling him the best linebacker he ever coached. In 1973, Gradishar was one of three Buckeyes who finished in the top six in the Heisman Trophy voting, with the other two being Archie Griffin and John Hicks.

After an outstanding college career, Gradishar transitioned to the professional ranks and joined the Denver Broncos as the 14th overall pick in the first round of the 1974 NFL Draft. He quickly became the linchpin of the Broncos’ defense, earning widespread recognition for his leadership and on-field prowess.

Over his 10-year NFL career, all spent with the Denver Broncos, Gradishar amassed impressive statistics that underscore his impact on the game. He recorded 2,049 tackles, 20.5 sacks, and 19 interceptions. Known for his ability to read the game and make crucial plays, Gradishar was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection and a two-time First-Team All-Pro. His contributions to the Broncos’ defense during the famed “Orange Crush” era solidified his legacy as one of the franchise’s all-time greats.

The announcement of Randy Gradishar’s induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame has been met with widespread celebration among fans, players, and analysts alike. To make the occasion even more special, Gradishar’s former Broncos teammate and close friend, Tom Jackson, will present him at the enshrinement ceremony.

“Knowing that now I’m in, I’m just hoping and praying that the ‘Orange Crush’ defense — or that team, certainly — will be considered more recognizable and having the opportunity to go in, similar to the ‘Steel Curtain’ guys. [I’m] just very, very excited and again, it’s a real blessing for me to be the first guy acknowledged and [chosen] for this.”

Gradishar becomes the ninth former Buckeye to be enshrined into the NFL Hall of Fame as a player. The other eight are: Cris Carter, Lou Groza, Dante Lavelli, Dick LeBeau, Orlando Pace, Jim Parker, Paul Warfield, and Bill Willis.