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Updated: September 23, 2019 @ 2:37 pm
Marvelous players inevitably get left out, but here goes nothing. Your ultimate Husker two-deep chart.
- Steven M. Sipple
Tommie Frazier (1992-95), backup Eric Crouch (1998-01)
Comments: Frazier won the Johnny Unitas Award as the nation's top QB as a senior in 1995. His wizardry running the option was something to behold. Crouch, a leather-tough player, won the Heisman Trophy in 2001. He's a no-brainer at No. 2, although I think Turner Gill tends to get overlooked in these conversations.
Mike Rozier (1981-83), backup Lawrence Phillips (1993-95)
Comments: This actually was a tough call at the top spot, but Rozier's Heisman in 1983 gives him the edge. Phillips was the most talented Husker running back that I've witnessed. Ahman Green narrowly misses cut.
Comments: With apologies to Joel Makovicka, Cory Schlesinger, Roger Craig, Tony Davis, Bill Thornton, Dick Davis, Frank Solich, Sam Francis, George Sauer and any other all-time Husker fullback great not listed. The school has produced some tremendous ones.
Johnny Rodgers (1970-72), backup Kenny Bell (2011-14)
Comments: In addition to being incredibly tough and talented, Rodgers was as clutch as they come. He helped the program win its first two national championships in 1970 and 1971. Bell's consistency throughout his college career helps set him apart.
Irving Fryar (1981-83), backup Maurice Purify (2006-07)
Comments: Fryar's sheer talent was off the charts and he obviously was productive. Meanwhile, Purify often gets overlooked. But in two seasons at NU, after arriving from San Francisco City College, he had 91 receptions for 1,444 yards (15.9 ypg) and 16 touchdowns. His strength and size (6-foot-4, 225 pounds) set him apart.
Johnny Mitchell (1990-91), backup Junior Miller (1977-79)
Comments: Mitchell (1990-91) was the most electrifying talent to ever play the position at Nebraska, and Miller (1977-79) wasn't far behind in that regard. "If that's Junior, I'd hate to see Senior," former Kansas State coach Jim Dickey once said.
Zach Wiegert (1991-94), backup Eric Anderson (1994-07)
Comments: Wiegert won the Outland Trophy in 1994. He may be the program's best-ever player at the position. Folks tend to sleep on Anderson, but he was a first-team all-conference pick on two national championship teams (1995, ’97).
Bob Newton (1969-70), backup Toniu Fonoti (1999-01)
Comments: Newton, a consensus All-American in 1970, told the Journal Star that blocking for Rodgers, Jerry Tagge and Jeff Kinney was a blast. "We'd drive a hole and they'd zip through," he said. Fonoti never played tackle at NU, but he has to be on this team somewhere.
Dean Steinkuhler (1981-83), backup Aaron Taylor (1994-97)
Comments: Steinkuhler in 1983 won both the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award. Taylor won the Outland Trophy in 1997 and last year was voted into the College Football HOF.
Will Shields (1989-92), backup Bob Brown (1961-63)
Comments: Shields won the Outland in 1992. Brown was good enough to be selected second overall in the 1964 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Dave Rimington (1979-82), backup Dominic Raiola (1998-00)
Comments: How good was Rimington? Well, the Rimington Trophy is awarded annually to the nation's top center. Raiola is the only Husker to ever win the award (2000).
Alex Henery (2007-10), backup Kris Brown (1995-98)
Comments: Henery in 2010 posted what was then an NCAA record for accuracy, making 96.67% of his extra points and field goals during his career. He missed only one extra point as a Husker and made an incredible 68 of 76 field goals.
Grant Wistrom (1994-97), backup Jared Tomich (1994-96)
Comments: Wistrom won the Lombardi Award in 1997 as a linch-pin defender for a ferocious unit, and Tomich was a Lombardi finalist in 1996 while earning All-America honors in 1995 and ’96.
Willie Harper (1970-72), backup Randy Gregory (2013-14)
Comments: Harper was a three-year starter and two-time All-American (1971, ’72) who would help anchor the defense on back-to-back national championship teams. Gregory was the second-most talented DE to ever play at NU (behind only Wistrom).
Rich Glover (1970-72), Larry Jacobson (1969-71)
Comments: Glover won both the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award in 1972. He was never better than when he registered 22 tackles in the 1971 Game of the Century against Oklahoma. Jacobson also was a force in 1971, winning the Outland and finishing as a Lombardi finalist.
Ndamukong Suh (2006-09), backup Wayne Meylan (1965-67)
Comments: Suh, who won both the Outland and Lombardi in 2009, recorded 24 sacks and 57 TFLs from 2006-09. Meylan was a consensus All-American in 1966 and ’67 and was Big Eight player of the year both those seasons.
Trev Alberts (1990-93), backup Ed Stewart (1991-94)
Comments: Alberts is the school's only Butkus Award winner, claiming the honor in 1993. He also is the school's all-time sack leader with 29½. Stewart was a weakside linebacker for the 1994 national championship team, finishing third in the Butkus voting while being named a consensus All-American.
Lavonte David (2010-11), backup Broderick Thomas (1985-88)
Comments: David finished fifth in the Butkus voting in 2011 while claiming All-America honors. He racked up an astonishing 285 tackles, including 28 for loss, in just two seasons at NU. Thomas was a two-time All-American (1987-88).
Barrett Ruud (2001-04), backup Tom Novak (1946-49)
Comments: Ruud gets the nod here because he remains the school's career tackle leader with 432 from 2001-04. He was as efficient a player as you'll ever see. "Train Wreck" Novak is the school's only four-time all-conference selection.
Mike Brown (1996-99), backup Bill Kosch (1969-71)
Comments: An All-American in 1999, Brown was as sure a tackler as the program's ever had. If he got his hands on a ball carrier, they were going down. Kosch, an all-conference pick on the 1970 and ’71 national title teams, recorded seven interceptions in 1970 and finished with 10 for his career.
Mike Minter (1993-95), backup Josh Bullocks (2002-04)
Comments: Minter, a hard-hitting and savvy rover/weakside linebacker, was an All-Big 12 choice as a senior in 1996 after starting 11 games for the ’95 national championship team. Bullocks was an All-American in 2003, when he intercepted 10 passes.
Barron Miles (1992-94), backup Prince Amukamara (2007-10)
Comments: Former Nebraska secondary coach George Darlington told me a few years ago that Miles was the best corner he ever coached. Say no more. Amukamara was a consensus All-American in 2010 on an excellent defense.
Ralph Brown (1996-99), backup Joe Blahak (1970-72)
Comments: Brown, an All-American in 1999, remains the school's career leader in pass breakups with 50. Blahak was a three-year starter and two-time all-conference pick (1971, ’72) for three of Bob Devaney's best teams. What's more, Blahak's block assured Rodgers would make it "all the way home" on his famous 72-yard punt return in the Game of the Century.
Sam Koch (2002-05), backup Sam Foltz (2013-15)
Comments: Koch averaged a school-record 46.5 yards per punt in 2005. Foltz was an outstanding all-around athlete who happened to be a supreme punter. He often boomed punts into the heavens, where he currently resides.
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