Few college football programs boast the history that Nebraska does. And the Cornhuskers have had no shortage of star quarterbacks.
From Scott Frost to Tommie Frazier, Husker signal-callers have made their mark in Lincoln, winning national titles, posting eye-popping numbers and, in most cases, being as dangerous with their legs as they were with their arms.
Here’s one man’s crack at ranking the top seven Nebraska quarterbacks, taking the players’ complete bodies of work into account.
— Rankings by Matt Fortuna, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and spent six seasons covering college football for ESPN.com. Fortuna’s work has been honored by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) seven times. Follow him on Twitter @Matt_Fortuna and like his Facebook page.
7. Dave Humm, 1972-74
Passing stats: 5,236 yards, 55.1 percent completion rate, 42 TDs, 40 INTs
Rushing stats: 14 yards, 12 TDs
Succeeding Jerry Tagge, Humm went 27-7-2 as a starter, earning first-team All-America honors as a senior. Humm is the only QB on this list who wasn’t a true dual threat, though that did not stop him from finishing his college career with 12 school records.
(Photo courtesy of Nebraska Greats Foundation)
6. Steve Taylor, 1985-88
Passing stats: 2,815 yards, 45.5 percent completion rate, 30 TDs, 24 INTs
Rushing stats: 2,125 yards, 32 TDs
Like so many other great Huskers QBs, Taylor got it done with both his arm and his legs. He earned first-team All-America honors as a junior in 1987 and had an even better season statistically as a senior. He went 31-6 as a starter.
(Photo courtesy of www.lincolnfirstrealty.com)
5. Scott Frost, 1996-97
Passing stats: 2,677 yards, 53.5 percent completion rate, 18 TDs, 7 INTs
Rushing stats: 1,534 yards, 28 TDs
Frost became the first quarterback in Nebraska history to rush and pass for 1,000 yards apiece, in 1997. That same season he led the Huskers to a 13-0 national championship season, the school’s third title in four years. Somehow, the Stanford transfer never earned All-America honors.
4. Jerry Tagge, 1969-71
Passing stats: 5,069 yards, 59.2 percent completion rate, 32 TDs, 20 INTs
Rushing stats: 672 rushing yards, 13 TDs
Tagge won Nebraska’s first two national titles, in 1970 and ‘71, putting him in rare company with Tommie Frazier. Tagge earned multiple All-America honors in ’71 before becoming a first-round pick of his hometown Green Bay Packers.
3. Eric Crouch, 1998-2001
Passing stats: 4,481 yards, 51.5 percent completion rate, 29 TDs, 25 INTs
Rushing stats: 3,434 yards, 59 TDs
The 2001 Heisman Trophy winner — the Huskers’ only QB to win the award — is one of the best option quarterbacks in the game’s history. Though he went on to be drafted as a wide receiver, in 2001 Crouch became Nebraska’s first quarterback in a decade to earn captain honors, and he closed his career with 32 school records.
2. Turner Gill, 1980-83
Passing stats: 3,317 yards, 54 percent completion rate, 34 TDs, 11 INTs
Rushing stats: 1,593 rushing yards, 18 TDs
Gill went 28-2 as Nebraska’s starter, earning second-team All-America honors as a senior, when he finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting (teammate Mike Rozier won the award). Those Huskers were national runners-up after missing a two-point conversion against Miami.
1. Tommie Frazier, 1992-95
Passing stats: 3,521 yards, 49.5 percent completion rate, 43 TDs, 11 INTs
Rushing stats: 1,955 rushing yards, 36 TDs
Simply put, Frazier is one of the greatest college football players of all-time. He went 33-3 as a starter and led the Huskers to consecutive national titles in 1994 and ‘95. In that ’95 season, Frazier was a consensus All-American, finishing second in the Heisman Trophy voting and cementing the Huskers’ legacy as one of college football’s greatest teams ever.