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February 2020
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Otterbein Football still honoring Josh Worthington’s #5 with a special player getting to wear it each season


(courtesy Otterbein)

The significance of the football uniform Number 5 at Otterbein means everything to the program and community.

The number was worn by Grove City native and former QB Josh Worthington, who passed away early Christmas morning in 2004, after his vehicle was struck by a drunk driver.

Over a decade-long tradition has gone on where the Cardinals coaching staff annually selects one player each season to wear number 5. The numeral is worn as a yearly tribute to Worthington.

Worthington will always be remembered for his hard work, dedication and commitment he possessed as a very promising young player. The players say it is an honor and privilege to be selected by the coaching staff to wear number 5, which usually goes to a senior. That player must not only be respected as aplayer, but must also demonstrate great character. The following players have been awarded this prestigious honor:

2005 – Ricardo Lenhart

2006 – Justin Ross

2007 – Justin Ross

2008 – Brady Collins

2009 – Eric Yates

2010 – Justin Hochstetler

2011 – Matt Ross

2012 – Kiefer Hinkle

2013 – Zack Grieves

2014 – Ty Compton

2015 – John Pyles

2016 – Dalton Jarvis

2017 – Kyle Blust/Logan Stepp

2018 – Payton Vanderkooi

2019 – Winston Spiker (#55)

This season, the Otterbein Football coaching staff has decided to do something different. Josh Worthington’s number 5 will be retired and that 55 will be the new number.

Also, at this year’s Homecoming Game, Worthington’s Family will be present and they will get to meet every player that has donned that jersey.

That will be a fitting tribute to a young man that I had a chance to interview when he played at Otterbein. It is a shame his life, with so much potential was cut short by someone who was driving drunk.