Former Ohio State Buckeyes’ offensive lineman John Hicks has passed away at the age of 65 after a lengthy battle with an illness, his wife Cindy told the school’s Department of Athletics.
Hicks was a two-time first team All-Big Ten and two-time All-American in 1972 and 1973. He was ineligible as a freshman in 1969, but in 1970 he stepped into a starting role at the guard position. The Buckeyes went 9-1 in his first season of action en route to a National Championship win.
“I was stunned and saddened to hear the news of John Hicks’ passing,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. “He was truly one of the all-time greats for this university who was always good to this football program and the community. He will truly be missed and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”
The Buckeyes won the Big Ten in 1970, 1972 and 1973. They made the Rose Bowl all three years, making Hicks the first player ever to start three Rose Bowls. In 1973, Hicks made history again. He took home the Lombardi Award and the Outland Trophy as the best interior lineman. He also finished second is Heisman Trophy voting, which is unheard of for an offensive lineman.
Hicks was the third overall pick in the 1974 NFL Draft by the New York Giants. He spent three years with the Giants before being traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Before playing a down for the Steelers, he walked away from professional football. He operated a real estate development company and contributed to the Boys and Girls Club of Central Ohio.
Hicks was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Ohio State Sports Hall of Fame in 1985.