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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Greatest Huskers By Number

This is the beginning of a weekly, tedious segment on the best by number Nebraska football has produced. By all means, feel free to contact any of us with ideas. It’s going to 99 five times every seven days. This is only the first five. If those numbers doesn’t confuse you, maybe this will.

#1: Dale Klein.
We cannot drop Lawrence Phillips here as he was such a colossal disaster and was last seen in this picture here on the streets of Grand Island. Phillips could have been the best running back ever to play college football if he wanted to. His contribution to Nebraska only gave us a tarnished image and whether he was here or not, we still would have the same amount of championships. In 1985, Klein was 38/38 on extra points and 13/20 on field goals. However, on one glorious day in October vs. Missouri, Klein converted 7 field goals in a 28-21 win. That, by the way, is still an NCAA Division 1 record for field goals made and points (22) scored by kicking.

#2: Von Sheppard. Sheppard, who reportedly had over 100 scholarship offers out of high school, finished his injury plagued career with 344 yards and 4 touchdowns rushing and 354 yards and 3 touchdowns receiving. As a sophomore, he led the Big 8 in yards/reception. Von was probably most known for his long jumping skills that almost qualified him for the 1988 Olympics. When that failed he played football in Europe and rushed for 3200 yards in two seasons and scored 5 touchdowns in the 1989 championship game. Mickey Joseph failed to make the cut here.

#3: Eric Warfield. It’s hard to imagine that he was a 7th round draft pick. Keyou Craver, the other #3 that is debatable, was a 2nd round draft pick and an All-American at Nebraska. However, Warfield played on several championship teams, blocked 3 kicks, and had 5 interceptions. If not for T.O., we could have witnessed that he was the best basketball player on campus at his time (ask Tyronne Lue).

#4: DeAngelo Evans. Words cannot describe how he fell from the best recruit we might have ever landed to such a disappointment. In high school in Kansas, the 5’9 back had comparisions to Barry Sanders and rightfully so as he broke virtually all of his records. His freshman year in 1996, where he was third string behind Ahman Green and Damon Benning, he put up 776 yards and 14 touchdowns. Osteitis pubis, probably the most damaging injury a football player can get that almost always requires surgery (and a minimum of one year rehab), more or less ruined him at the beginning of his sophomore year. Mel Kiper still had love even if it was 3 years after his Nebraska experience.

#5: Dejuan Groce. Looking back, this might be one of the most under appreciated players that I can remember. In 2002, he averaged 17 yards/punt return and had 4 Touchdowns. He currently is tied for the NCAA record of having 2 punt returns for TDs in the same game vs. Troy State. Against Texas in 2002, in a game where we were a heavy underdog at home, Groce had 15 tackles (12 solo) and set up what could have been the go ahead touchdown with a 44 yard punt return. Also, in the 2002 Rose Bowl against Miami, he was our ONLY highlight of the day when he returned a punt 71 yards for a TD (against Kirk Herbstreit’s best team of all time).

#5 Honorable Mention: Jessica Gysin. Although she has to share the #5 spot with Groce, she does play volleyball at USC, she does beach volleyball in her free time, and she claims to be an outside hitter. We like all three of those.

All signs point to yes.