41 Keith Byars

Keith Byars Ohio State
usaUnited States
Dayton, OH
High School
Past Teams
Ohio State
1982, 1983, 1984, 1985

Post-OSU Update: Keith Byars suffered through an injury-plagued senior season with Ohio State. He fractured a foot bone in the preseason and attempted to return midway through the season. Byars quickly reinjured the bone during the regular season and missed the rest of the regular season. He attempted to return for the Citrus Bowl, but once again injured the foot.

The injury reduced his explosiveness, but Byars was still selected tenth overall in the 1986 NFL Draft by Philadelphia. Byars had a productive and mostly healthy NFL career with four teams, mostly playing fullback. He appeared in 189 games across 13 seasons. He made the Pro Bowl in 1993 and accumulated 8,770 yards and 54 touchdowns from scrimmage.

After football, Byars has worked in sports media, both in the Ohio and New York media markets. (updated: Feb. 2024)

Major: Social Work (1985), Business (1983)

Weight: 236 (1985), 233 (1984), 230 (1983), 225 (1982)

1984: Consensus All-American who finished second in the Heisman Voting (runner-up to Doug Flutie) … Big Ten Player of the Year … All-Big Ten in 1984 after leading the conference in rushing (1,764 yards), scoring (24 touchdowns) and all-purpose yards (2,441) … led OSU in pass receiving with 42 catches for 479 yards … Had his best performance in Ohio State’s thrilling come-from-behind victory against Illinois (overcoming a school-record 24-0 deficit), scoring five touchdowns and rushing for 274 yards on 39 carries … his fourth touchdown of the game was a spectacular 67-yard run in which he completely reversed his field and lost a shoe at the Illinois 35, but still outran the Illini secondary.

1984 Media Guide: Byars and Archie Griffin are the only two sophomores in Ohio State history to run for more than 1,000 yards … will be one of the top running backs in the nation this season.

1983: Byars moved back to tailback after playing fullback as a freshman … ran for 1,199 yards, caught 23 passes for 359 yards and scored 132 points … Had a dramatic 99-yard kickoff return against Pittsburgh in the Fiesta Bowl to cap off an outstanding season.

1982: With two established tailbacks ahead of him, Tim Spencer and Jimmy Gayle, plus a veteran fullback, Vaughn Broadnax, Coach Bruce moved Keith to fullback, where he would get more playing time as a second stringer, rather than a third-team tailback … saw limited action in nine games … carried just six times for 24 yards and caught a 20-yard pass.

High School: Byars attended Roth High School in Dayton and immediately stamped himself as a gifted athlete … in football, he played tight end as a sophomore, but was moved to tailback his junior year to take advantage of his speed and power … averaged an incredible 11.5 yards per carry as a senior, running for 1,701 yards and scoring 14 touchdowns … his Roth teams posted a 28-4 record … was a starting forward on two straight state championship basketball teams … played centerfield and hit .520 as a junior and .480 his senior year playing baseball … sprinter on the track team who ran on a state championship 440-yard relay team … won ten high school letters.

Personal: Archie Griffin was a boyhood idol and he played a major role in Byars’ decision to attend Ohio State … has two brothers and two sisters … father is a reverend … enjoys gospel music … hobbies are bowling and watching movies.


SeasonTeamGGSCompPass AttPass YdsPass TDRush AttRush YdsRush AvgRush TDRecRec YdsRec AvgRec TDLngFumLostFRKRKR YdsKR AvgKR TD
1982Ohio State9000006244.0012020.0020NANA012828.00
1983Ohio State1211000022211995.4202335915.6160320213668.01
1984Ohio State12111135133617645.3224247911.4267322819824.80
1985Ohio State430000552133.947446.30200000000