Scott Baldwin, a former Nebraska I-back whose promising career was cut short by severe personal struggles, died Wednesday in his native New Jersey, according to an NU athletic department spokesman.
Baldwin died of cardiac arrest resulting from complications of previous health issues. He was 45.
In 1990, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Baldwin rushed 92 times for 579 yards (6.3 yards per carry) and five touchdowns. In August of 1991, he appeared well on his way to stardom, vaulting to No. 1 on the Huskers' depth chart ahead of younger running backs Derek Brown and Calvin Jones. But injuries limited Baldwin, a junior, to only nine carries that season.
In January of 1992, Baldwin was found not guilty by reason of insanity after being tried on felony assault charges against a Lincoln woman and a police officer who tried to subdue him after he attacked the woman near the NU campus. In September of 1992, he was shot in the ribs during an altercation with Omaha police. The scuffle left Baldwin with a bullet near his spinal cord and paralyzed from the chest down.
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Baldwin said in August of 1993 that his mental problems began after injuries sidelined him in 1991. He said it was difficult to adjust to life without football. Depression ensued and his illness progressed to the point where he heard voices in his head, he said.
A scholarship recruit, Baldwin in 1988 was the leading rusher on Nebraska's junior varsity team (back when NU had such a team). He sat out as a redshirt in 1989.
As a senior at Union County (New Jersey) High School, he rushed for 368 yards and five touchdowns against North Plainfield. He finished that season with 1,368 yards.