Offensive linemen don't get a lot of credit in football (except from their quarterback), but when it comes to the top offensive linemen to ever play college football, Pace is in that conversation.
Pace has a lot of firsts for an offensive lineman:
- In 1995, became first sophomore to win Lombardi Award
- In 1996, became first to win Lombardi Award twice
- In 1996, he was the first lineman since John Hicks (1972) to finish in the top four in the Heisman voting
According to former Ohio State head coach John Cooper, Pace was the best ever:
Orlando Pace is not only the best offensive lineman I have ever coached, but he is the best I have ever seen. Every game was a highlight reel for him. We ran a lot of counter sweeps and a lot of screens, and on many of those plays Orlando had to be out in front of the ball carrier. And we had some pretty good ball carriers.
I don’t know how you could play the position any better than he did. He was just a fantastic football player. He was the best.
The Pancake Man left a legacy that is far-reaching in college football. In fact, he was only the second tackle selected as the first overall pick in the NFL Draft, with Eric Fisher becoming the third in this year's draft.