Sports Vault: Running back Carlos Snow blew through Ohio record books at CAPE and Ohio State
But a knee injury cut short his NFL career
Tom Ramstetter | WCPO contributor
5:00 AM, May 23, 2017
9:27 AM, May 28, 2017
CINCINNATI -- The best way to tackle Carlos Snow was to go right at him from the front.
"But most didn't want to do that after they tried that for the first time," said Princeton linebackers coach Steve Sheehan, who was Snow's coach at the now defunct Cincinnati Academy of Physical Education (C.A.P.E.) from 1983 through 1986.
"He was very blessed," Sheehan said. "He had great strength, great power and great speed."
Snow still ranks No. 3 all-time in the state of Ohio with 7,761 career rushing yards in high school, and he topped the state until 2001, when Williamsburg's Jason Bainum set the record with 8,216 yards. Akron Archbishop Hoban's Tyrell Sutton currently holds the record with 9,426 yards gained between 2001 and 2004.
Snow also ranked seventh in the Ohio High School Athletic Association record book with 648 points, fifth with 109 touchdowns overall and with 104 rushing touchdowns. His rushing and touchdown records were Top 5 nationally when he left high school, but are no longer in the Top 20.
He also still holds the Cincinnati Hills League record in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.70 set in 1987, when he was a senior.
"It's shocking, really, when I look back and see what I did," Snow said after entering the LaRosa's Hall of Fame, which honors Greater Cincinnati's elite prep players and coaches, in 1997 along with baseball Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. and several others. "I didn't even like football at first."
They called him The Blizzard, mostly because of his last name, but also because he could blow opposing defenses away with his mix of power and speed.
Snow was built much like National Football League Hall of Famer and all-time rusher Emmitt Smith, who graduated high school in Florida the same year.
"He came in as a freshman about 185 or 186 and well-built," Sheehan said. "I think he left about 192. So, he was gifted from the time he was a freshman through senior year."
Snow led two state championship teams at C.A.P.E., winning the Division IV state title in 1985 and the Division III title in 1986. He also won state championships in track in the 100-meter dash and anchored C.A.P.E.'s 400-meter relay team.
He averaged more than 10 yards per carry as a high school player over four years carrying what Sheehan remembered to be about 20-25 times each game. He went on to Ohio State in the fall of 1987.
"He's going to be something," former Ohio State head coach Earl Bruce said of Snow before the 1987 season. "I'll tell you this. If he turns the corner, you'd better look out, because he can fly."
Snow battled ball-security issues early on during his freshman season. He fumbled the second-half kickoff during his first game against West Virginia.
"I was so excited," Snow said that year. "I was thinking about taking it back all the way."
He fumbled twice the next week against Oregon and spent some time at the end of the bench. But he recovered to rush for nearly 400 yards as a freshman. He led the team with more than 700 yards as a sophomore and nearly 1,000 as a junior. A benign tumor in his thigh that had to be removed kept him out of the 1990 season, but he returned to rush for more than 800 yards during his final season at Ohio State in 1991. He rushed for nearly 3,000 yards during his college career and still ranks 10th all time in rushing yards at Ohio State, according to the school's athletics website.
"I went through a lot of adversity," Snow said in 1991. "This has helped make me a better person. I have been at rock bottom, and I've come back. Whatever happens, happens (as far as the pros). I'm going to have something other than football."
Ultimately, it was a knee injury that ended Snow's NFL career with the Denver Broncos in 1992.
"That's amazing, because I don't think he missed a game in high school," Sheehan said.
He never took time off either, whether it was a game or practice.
"The first thing is that everybody respected him," Sheehan said. "His teachers, his coaches and his fellow players. He was so good that he could have taken days off, but he never did. He practiced just as hard as the rest of the kids."
Snow's high-school records aren't where they once were nationally in the state, but records were never his concern.
"I just want to be remembered as one of the best," Snow said before leaving C.A.P.E.