With five national titles, the Nebraska Cornhuskers are one of college football’s all-time greatest programs. They also have one of the most loyal fan bases and have sold out every game at Memorial Stadium since 1962.
As I recently did with Georgia, Michigan, and Notre Dame, if one were to take the best players and coaches from all of Nebraska's teams (based on their level of success in college and/or the NFL) to put together an all-time lineup, the Huskers would be a force on both offense and defense.
Let’s take a look, but as we do, note that I am going on an individual's peak success and how he would fare today, i.e., no 180-pound linemen. With that in mind, let’s dive in.
If this coaching staff looks familiar, it is because it was Nebraska's actual staff from 1969-72. Why mess with a good thing?
Head Coach: Bob Devaney (1962-72)
Devaney took the reins of a Nebraska program that had only three winning seasons since 1940 and led the Cornhuskers to a bowl game his first season. He then won eight conference titles and two national championships setting the program on a path of 42 straight winning seasons.
Offensive Coordinator: Tom Osborne (1962-97)
Osborne joined Devaney’s staff as an assistant in 1962 and was promoted to offensive coordinator in '69. In that role, he installed an I-option offense that powered the Huskers to back-to-back national titles in 1970 and '71. After Devaney retired the next season, Osborne took over and using the same attack, won at least nine games every season for the next 25 years, along with 13 conference titles and three national championships.
Defensive Coordinator: Monte Kiffin (1969-76)
Kiffin is considered to be one of the best defensive coordinators in football history. His 1971 and '72 Blackshirt squads gave up roughly eight points and less than 220 yards a game. Kiffin later pioneered the “Tampa 2” defense in the NFL.
Since most of the Cornhuskers’ success came with the I-option formation, that is what we will go with in picking its all-time best offense.
QB: Tommie Frazier (1992-95)
Frazier lost two games as a freshman and only one in his last three years. He won two national titles and would have won a third if not for a last-second loss to eventual national champion Florida State in the 1994 Orange Bowl. Along the way, he accumulated 5,476 total yards of offense and scored 79 touchdowns on the ground and through the air.
FB: Cory Schlesinger (1991-94)
A beast at fullback, Schlesinger was a great blocker and averaged 7.2 yards per carry in 1994. He also made the Pro Bowl three times during his 12-year career with the Detroit Lions.
IB: Mike Rozier (1981-83)
After transferring to Nebraska as sophomore from Coffeyville (Kan.) Junior College, Rozier rushed for 5,120 yards in three seasons. In 1983, he ran for 2,295 yards and averaged 7.9 yards a carry on his way to winning the Heisman Trophy. Rozier also made the Pro Bowl twice with the Houston Oilers.
Additional RB: Roger Craig (1979-82)
Craig played both I-back and fullback while in Lincoln and was the only player to be selected for the Pro Bowl as both a fullback and a halfback.
WB: Johnny Rodgers (1970-72)
“The Jet” accumulated an NCAA-record 5,586 all-purpose yards, won two national titles, and took home the 1972 Heisman Trophy. He also is the greatest punt returner in Nebraska program history.
SE: Irving Fryar (1981-83)
Fryar averaged 17.9 yards a reception and 13.8 yards per carry in 1983 and was a consensus All-American. He also made five Pro Bowls, catching 851 passes for 12,785 yards and scoring 84 touchdowns during his 17-year NFL career.
TE: Junior Miller (1976-79)
Primarily a blocker, Selvia Miller Jr. also caught 61 passes and scored 13 touchdowns for the Huskers. He was utilized more as a receiver in the NFL and made two Pro Bowls with the Atlanta Falcons.
T: Bob Brown (1960-63)
Brown was a consensus All-American at guard at Nebraska but was moved to tackle in the NFL where he went on to have a Hall of Fame career.
G: Will Shields (1989-92)
After winning the Outland Trophy in 1992, Shields was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs. There, he never missed a game in 14 seasons and made 12 Pro Bowls on his way to the Hall of Fame.
C: Dave Rimington (1979-82)
You know the Dave Rimington Trophy that is given to the college football’s best center? It’s named after the only two-time Outland Trophy winner. Rimington also played for seven seasons in the NFL.
G: Dean Steinkuhler (1980-83)
In 1983, Steinkuhler won the Outland Trophy as he anchored an offense that averaged more than 50 points a game. He also enjoyed an eight-season career with the Houston Oilers.
T: Zach Weigert (1991-94)
Weigert only gave up one sack during his four-seasons in Lincoln. In 1994, he won the Outland Trophy as Nebraska won its first national championship in 23 years. Like his other fellow linemen on this all-time team, Weigert played for 12 seasons in the NFL.
DE: Grant Wistrom (1994-97)
Wistrom is the Huskers' all-time leader in tackles for a loss with 58.5 and is second with 26.5 sacks. He earned consensus All-American honors twice and won three national championships before going on to record 53 sacks over nine seasons in the NFL.
DT: Ndamukong Suh (2005-09)
Over his four-year career, Suh recorded 49.5 tackles for a loss, 24 sacks, 15 passes defended, four interceptions, three forced fumbles, and two touchdowns. Never mind the traditional awards for linemen, he finished fourth in the Heisman voting in 2009. He has since made the Pro Bowl five times and won a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
DT: Rich Glover (1970-72)
Glover won two national championships and in 1972, became the first Husker to receive both the Outland and Lombardi Trophies.
DE: Neil Smith (1984-87)
After earning All-American honors at defensive tackle, Smith was drafted with the second pick in the 1998 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs and moved to defensive end. In that position, he recorded 104.5 sacks and forced 30 fumbles.
LB: Broderick Thomas (1985-88)
Thomas was a two-time All-American playing both outside linebacker and defensive end. In the NFL he primarily played linebacker and led the league in forced fumbles in 1991.
LB: Lavonte David (2010-11)
After transferring to Nebraska, David recorded 285 tackles, the most for any two-year player in Husker history. In his 10 seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he has won a Super Bowl and either made the Pro Bowl or been named All-Pro four times.
LB: Barret Ruud (2001-04)
Ruud is the Huskers' all-time leader in tackles with 432. He also recorded 481 tackles during his eight-year NFL career.
LB: Trev Alberts (1990-93)
To put Alberts’ play at linebacker into perspective, let’s start with Charlie Ward. In 1993, the Florida State quarterback was only sacked five times during the entire regular season. When the Seminoles faced Nebraska in the Orange Bowl, Alberts sacked him three times. He was also a consensus All-American and winner of the Butkus Award.
DB: Mike Brown (1996-99)
Brown was an All-American safety and is ranked as one of the 100 greatest Chicago Bears of all time.
DB: Prince Amukamara (2007-10)
In 2010, Amukamara allowed only 18 completed passes in his direction and was a unanimous All-American. During his NFL career, he deflected 80 passes and won a Super Bowl with the New York Giants.
DB: Ralph Brown (1996-99)
Brown’s 253 interception return yards are a Husker record, as are his 50 pass deflections. He went on to play 10 seasons in the NFL.
DB: Mike Minter (1992-96)
Having played both safety and linebacker at Nebraska, Minter played defensive back full-time during his 10-year NFL career, recording 11 sacks, 17 interceptions, and 11 forced fumbles.
K: Alex Henery (2007-10)
Henery’s field goal percentage in his four seasons at Nebraska was an NCAA-record 89.5 and he is the all-time leading scorer in Husker history with 397 points. His field goal percentage in the NFL was 82.4 percent.
P: Sam Koch (2004-05)
In 2005, Koch set a Nebraska record by averaging 46.5 yards a punt. He also averaged 45.3 yards a punt and won a Super Bowl during his 16 seasons with the Baltimore Ravens.
RS: Tyrone Hughes (1989-92)
Let’s be clear. Johnny Rodgers is the best return specialist on the team and Irving Fryar ain’t too shabby. However, if we need to fill the position, let’s go with Hughes, who averaged 12.3 yards per punt return and 23.4 on kickoffs. He also ran three kickoffs and two punts back for touchdowns in his six seasons in the NFL.
— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports' Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.