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Van DeCree
Career information
Position(s): DE
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight: 215 lb (98 kg)
College: Ohio State University
 As player:
1975 Birmingham Vulcans (WFL)
Career highlights and awards
Awards: 2x All-American (1973, 1974)
Ohio State Football All-Century Team
Ohio State Football Hall of Fame

Van Ness DeCree, from Warren, Ohio, is a former football defensive end who was an two-time All-American (1973, 1974) at Ohio State University. DeCree is a member of the Ohio State Football Hall of Fame (Class of 1990)[1] He was also a three-year starter and a three-time All-Big 10 selection at defensive end, having been voted all-conference as a sophomore, junior, and senior. He was also voted to the Ohio State Football All-Century Team in 1999.

DeCree was part of a 1973 Buckeyes team that was considered among the best in school history. The defense had solid players from the line— tackle Pete Cusick, to the linebackers— Rick Middleton and Randy Gradishar, to the secondary— Neal Colzie, Steve Luke, and Tim Fox. This unit led by All-Big 10 selection DeCree, shut out four opponents in 1973, including three in a row.

Four of DeCree's teammates (Middleton, Gradishar, Colzie, and Fox) all became first-round draft picks in the NFL, as did Archie Griffin, John Hicks, and Kurt Schumacher on offense. Punter Tom Skladany was also a high NFL draft picks. The offensive skill players included Cornelius Greene at quarterback wingback Brian Baschnagel and fullback Pete Johnson and halfback Griffin, who led the Big Ten in rushing, running behind the tackle duo of Schumacher (an All-American) and Hicks (also an All-American) and winner of the 1973 Outland Trophy and the 1973 Lombardi Trophy.

The 9-0-1 Buckeyes, in the 1974 Rose Bowl Game, beat Johnny McKay's 9-1-1 USC Trojans 42-21. The following year in the 1975 Rose Bowl, USC edged the Buckeyes 18-17, which ended DeCree's career.

DeCree played professional football for the World Football League in 1975 for the Chicago Winds. The Chicago Winds signed Van DeCree. Winds coach Gibron planned to use DeCree at linebacker.[2] Due the the Chicago franchise folding due to league-wide financial troubles, DeCree ended playing the rest of the season (which was ultimately suspended) with Birmingham.

DeCree still resides in Columbus, Ohio, and remains an avid Buckeyes follower.[3]


  1. ^ O
  2. ^ Sports briefs, EL PASO HERALD-POST, Thursday, August 28, 1975.
  3. ^ Collegian-Penn State


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