History smiles upon Big Red

Article Image Alt Text

Quick, who’s the best Husker football player of all time?
Grant Wistrom? Mike Rozier? Irving Fryer? Eric Crouch? How about Roger Craig or Will Shields?
My vote would go to Johnny Rodgers any day of the week. Not only was he a great receiver as well as a thrilling punt and kickoff returner, but he was just downright crazy fun to watch. He could cut on a dime, accelerate in the blink of an eye, and make defenders not only miss, but miss badly, making them look ultra foolish.
It got to the point where later in his career, bored with just returning a punt for a touchdown, he would turn around and peddle backwards into the end zone. Just YouTube it if you don’t believe me.
Johnny, along with Ndamukong Suh, Dave Rimington, and Tommie Frazier, were all named recently to the CBS Sports All-Time All-American team. Most fittingly, Nebraska was the only school in the nation to have as many as four representatives on the top team.
Alabama had three, while Florida State, Michigan and USC had two each.
The 54-member All-Time team is of course subjective, but it’s kind of fun to look back at the names.
Georgia’s Herchel Walker and Oklahoma State’s Barry Sanders are the two running backs. I guess I can’t argue there.
Tight end Ozzie Newsome from Alabama and wide receivers Randy Moss of Marshall and Anthony Carter from Michigan are other skilled position players named. Lee Roy Selmon from Oklahoma was a feared defensive lineman in the 70s, while Hugh Green from Pittsburgh and Reggie White from Tennessee complete the front line.
Charles Woodson, Deion Sanders and Ronnie Lott are other names you no doubt would recognize in the secondary.
All in all, it’s a great list, and Husker fans should feel a lot of pride in having four players named to the team. Rodgers actually was named to two positions, the punt returner and the all-purpose player. His biggest play was no doubt the 72-yard punt return down in Norman against the Sooners in 1971, but he certainly was a human highlight tape. He was a spectacular player, bursting onto the scene as a sophomore in 1970 after playing on the freshman team in ‘69.
Rimington was a dominant, quick center from 1979 to 1982. He snapped the ball so fast, that at times, it looked like Nebraska’s offensive line was in motion before the snap. He proved to be a rock up the middle for Tom Osborne.
Suh started off his career a little out of shape and was at times, just a big-bodied defensive lineman. But when things started clicking, other teams were in trouble. I still can’t believe he didn’t get called for a penalty when he intercepted a pass against Colorado in the fourth quarter, the game when Alex Henery nailed the 57-yard field goal. Suh ran the ball back 30 yards when the pass was tipped, threw the ball into the end zone fence, no doubt making a big dent. But the thing is, he didn’t get called for a penalty. The place went nuts.
Frazier is no doubt my favorite Husker quarterback of all-time. Everyone knows his story, fighting back from blood clots to help the Huskers to back-to-back national championships. He was quick, strong, fast and threw a nice ball, more accurate than many would probably remember. His remarkable 75-yard touchdown run through multiple Florida defenders during the 1996 Fiesta Bowl capped his career. Some still say it’s the greatest run in college football history.
Other Huskers named to the second team were Shields, Rich Glover and Henery. Aaron Taylor and Dominic Raiola made the honorable mention list.
Lots of great memories. Lots of great names.
Lots of pride for Husker football fans.
DAVE BRADLEY can be reached at advertising@hamilton.net.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet