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Brutus Buckeye: the toxic nut of college football

Brutus Buckeye: the toxic nut of college football

Give me an O-H-I-O. 


The chant, which sounds like an Ohioan mating call, is a familiar one to both fans and opponents of The Ohio State. Every Saturday it echoes in Horseshoe as buckeye zealots follow their ruthless leader: Brutus Buckeye. 


The Ohio State icon, with his bobblehead perfectly balanced atop a scarlet and grey-striped jumpsuit that reads 00 on the back, holds a spot as one of the most recognized and unique mascots in all of college football. 


With Ohio State’s recent success on the field, we’ve been seeing plenty of action from Brutus on the sideline—hell, he even gave Blake Haubeil a run at kicking extra points last year. Those who’ve watched OSU games know, he’s an avid push up participant and a crowd-igniter that makes fans go buckwild. 


Like any fan, we wondered what it’s like to put on the suit and feel the adrenaline coarse through you like the moment before kickoff. So, like the inquisitive and slightly-obsessed college football junkies that we are, we dug deep into the bold buckeye, uncovering his history and how a nut turned into a mascot extraordinaire. 


The quick origin story of Brutus Buckeye. 

Born inside the walls of an Ohio State classroom, he was conceived by his creators, Ray Bourhis and Sally Huber, in 1965. At the time, every other school was using live mascots, which OSU quickly shut down after the proposition of a live buck was thrown into the discussion. 


As a tribute to the Ohio’s state tree and native nut, the school went with just that for the mascot… a nut. Side note, for those who are unaware, the buckeye is a highly toxic nut that when ingested has the potential to kill you. That being said, the duo wrapped a fellow student in paper mache and threw on some eyes which resulted in this—a tasteful, yet scary and foreboding toxic nut. 

This wouldn’t last long as the costume fell apart in two weeks, which led to arguably the best and worst look Brutus ever flaunted: the fiberglass dome. 


After of hauling a 22lb shell around for nearly a decade, Brutus experienced a glow up in which he adopted the look he has today—a polished, more professional man, who still gets wild on the weekends. 


No doubt, his extraordinarily-large head has been the talk of college mascots for decades, but that’s just the exterior of the suit. Don’t get it twisted, some serious talent has played the part over the years. 


A glance into Brutus Buckeye’s Resume.

In case you weren’t aware or ever once wondered, the OSU mascot has to attend over 500 sporting/non-sporting events a year. At that rate, one may find themself living in the suit more than their own skin—which deserves more accolades than we can mention in this article. 

 

Within the sports arena, Brutus has earned his stripes across all sports, including recognition as the ultimate multisport athlete at Ohio State. If you don't believe it, here’s a few other notable awards: 

  • Collegiate Push-Up Champion — though up for debate. 
  • 2007 Mascot Hall of Fame Inductee.
  • 5x Capital One Mascot Challenge competitor including a 2nd place finish.
  • 7th 2012 in UCA Mascot National Championship. 
  • 2015 UCA Mascot National Champion
  • 2019 UCA Mascot National Champion. 

Yes, you read those last two correctly—National Champion. As the premier competition for collegiate cheer, the UCA lets cheer teams and stunt crews test their school spirit against the best in the country, where one walks away as the top mascot in the country. 


This is not your high-school Friday night lights mascot—this is the real deal


It’s safe to say most of us won’t have any of those items listed on our next job application. Speaking of applications, the Brutus job doesn’t come easy. 


How one becomes Brutus Buckeye.

Trying to become brutus buckeye might be harder than landing a position on the coaching staff at Ohio State—for real, the gig only takes five or six students out of hundreds of applications. 


It starts with a costume session where you get to put on the head, and play the part. Maybe throw a few pushups in there, bust a few dance moves; it’s about becoming one with the buckeye. From there you run a gauntlet of interviews with previous Brutus alumni, school officials, board members, and athletic coaches. For the final round, applicants must perform a two-minute skit, showcasing their ability to play Brutus in live settings and bolster crowds. 


Like we said, it’s no shoe in the door. Even those selected to be part of the “Brutus Brigade” still have seasonal training that whips them into full mascot shape. If you thought only athletes worked out, try hitting the weight room and practice three days a week for the role. 


The one’s lucky enough to find themselves wearing the buckeye head then take on one of the most secret oaths in all of college sports: anonymity. This means you can’t tell anyone—no roommates, no significant others, not even your mother—though that might be the one exception. 


Then you jump right in, attending BIG10 media days, every sporting event, and pretty much anything that has OSU branding on it. It’s the one commitment in college that might actually surpass going to class—which might not be too bad. 


Brutus, the bold and beloved.

All in all, the process to become an Ohio State legend is no easy path, as one previous Brutus said, “you don’t pick the suit, the suit picks you.” 


There’s something really special about that, and something special about Brutus. Sure, there’s plenty of epic mascots in college football, but none bring the bizarre and beloved antics that Brutus brings to Buckeye fans across the country. He might be a nut, but he’s the nut that makes college football tradition what it is. 

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