In early December (otherwise known as another lifetime ago) we announced a partnership with BTN. BTN had given us a list of 10 Nebraska players of legend, asking CornNation and its community to assist in selecting four of those players for Nebraska's Mount Rushmore.
BTN will reveal the four players on BTN live next Tuesday, December 16th at 5:00 PM central. In the meantime, some of the CN staff have made their choices and give you their reasons as well as another chance to pick your players for the BTN Mount Rushmore.
Frazier, to me, was the defining element that differentiated a really good team (the 1994 National Champions) against what is arguably the best college football team ever (the 1995 champs). Yes, Frazier played in 1994, but was limited due to his health. 1995 was his team, and he drove that team to unprecedented heights.
There was no other player quite as electric in college football as Rodgers, perhaps until Raghib Ismail twenty years later. To this day, the Jet's punt return against Oklahoma is one of college football's legendary plays, especially when accompanied by Lyell Bremser's "Holy Moley! Man, Woman and Child, did that put them in the aisles" call. That's the signature play from the original "Game of the Century"
The two-time winner of the Lombardi Award was good enough that his name now goes on two other awards: the Rimington Award for the best collegiate center and the Big Ten's Rimington-Pace Offensive Lineman of the Year award. When you set the standard for a position, you're on this list.
Not sure we've allowed ourselves enough time to comprehend what Suh accomplished, but the way he dominated college football in 2009 gets him on the list here. At times, it looked like he was playing against pee-wee teams, the way he overwhelmed offensive lines. Tossing Colt McCoy around like a rag doll in the Big XII Championship Game might be his signature moment, and his domination of Missouri in a downpour might have been his biggest game.
Frazier, Glover, Rimington, Suh.
Glover finished 3rd in the 1972 Heisman voting (Johnny Rodgers won it that year), which seems like a more amazing accomplishment every time we see another quarterback win the award. I also find it amazing that he played nose tackle at 6'1" and 235 lbs. I realize football was very different then, but most linebackers are bigger than that now.
Suh is the only one of these four that I watched in live play. He really looked like he was playing on a whole ‘nother level than anyone else on the field with him. I have never seen a defensive player take over a game like he did the 2009 Big 12 championship. That game alone almost puts him here.
Frazier was the best college quarterback to ever play the game. Period.
As Husker Mike said, Rimington has a trophy named after him. It doesn't get any better than that. He finished 5th is Heisman trophy voting. Can you imagine any current center being invited to New York? Me either.
Frazier- National Championships, an incredible won lost record, iconic moments and he was the prototype option quarterback for Nebraska.
Johnny Rodgers- The signature player from the Cornhuskers first dynasty, he won the Heisman and had the game turning play in the "Game of the Century", which started college football on the path to popularity it enjoys today.
Dave Rimington- A center who finished top 5 in the Heisman, won offensive player of the year AND has an award named after him? You wouldn't write a character that dominant in a movie. Nebraska needs to have an in-state offensive lineman on it's mount Rushmore, this is the greatest of them all.
Suh- You can't have an all offense Mount Rushmore and Suh is probably the most dominant defensive player the Huskers have ever had. A man amongst boys, super talented, but also driven by the kind of non-stop motor that epitomized the black shirts.
My one regret is that there weren't 5 faces on Mount Rushmore, because to have no i-back up there just seems wrong. Rozier gets the nod in that department.
Jon Johnston - Frazier, Rimington, Suh, ????
Tommie Frazier: Well, duh.
Dave Rimington: He was a center that won a conference offensive player of the year award and had a trophy named after him for his position. As a single player, you can't get any better than that, you really can't. He should probably be above Frazier as the single greatest football player in Nebraska history, but linemen still don't get all the chicks that quarterbacks do.
Ndamukong Suh: The greatest defensive player I've ever seen, and I've be around longer than most of you.
The Fourth Pick is hard:
Rodgers and Rozier - anyone would have good reason to pick either of those guys. Aaron Taylor, Will Shields... well, I already chose an offensive lineman. I think I'm gonna go with Grant Wistrom here, mostly because it was amazing watching Wistrom play the game. So much energy all of the time, and his record (49-2) says a lot about what he brought to his team.
This is off the top of my head, but I remember that when Nebraska finally lost, 19-0, to Arizona State (Debacle in the Desert) in 1996, it was the first loss that Wistrom had suffered since all the way through high school. That's a winner, right there, that guy.
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