clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Two Jordans: Nebraska NEEDS Burroughs-Larson Statue at Devaney

Call it “The House the Jordans Built” — Two of the best athletes Nebraska has ever had — in ANY SPORT! NU needs to make this happen

Jordan Burroughs holding the American flag after winning the 2012 Olympic gold medal.
Photo by YURI CORTEZ/AFP via Getty Images

Earlier this summer, I talked to both Mark Manning and Jordan Burroughs about the idea of erecting a statue of Burroughs at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.

After all, he’s the American GOAT at wrestling. How many other sports teams can make that claim that the greatest to ever do it in the history of this country competed there collegiately?

“I would love it. Honestly, it would be indescribable,” said Burroughs. “Look, if it happens I would be humbled and honored. I think it would be cool.”

Jordan Burroughs celebrating after winning his sixth World/Olympic title in 2021.
Photo by BERIT ROALD/NTB/AFP via Getty Images

While many greats have walked that campus in Lincoln, none have been as great at their craft as Burroughs has been for over a decade. Well, I guess there could be some debate on that.

In a program currently sharing the same building as the wrestling program, Nebraska had one of the best to ever do it on the volleyball court in Jordan Larson — although her career played out at the Coliseum. Not only did she win on the college stage with the Huskers, she also won on the world stage in the Olympics — just like Burroughs.

Volleyball - Olympics: Day 15
Jordan Larson, seen here in the Bronze Medal Match at the 2016 Olympics.
Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images

“I think that about everybody in Nebraska knows who both those names are. Both of them have been leaders in USA volleyball and USA wrestling,” said Nebraska Head Wrestling Coach Mark Manning. “I think people need more reminders of that type of stuff. Let’s not lose sight of these people who were superstars – not just at Nebraska but after Nebraska at the Olympic level.”

I suppose it’s just fate that they share not only individual greatness, but also a name.

In my opinion, a tribute to Larson and Burroughs needs to be made. Call it “The House the Jordans Built” or “The Two Jordans” if you must.

“John Cook and I have talked about him and Jordan Larson out by the Devaney,” Manning said. “The two Jordans – Jordan Burroughs and Jordan Larson. It’s very fitting because our two sports compete in there and we train there.”

As a Husker, Burroughs was by far Nebraska’s most decorated wrestler ever. A three-time All-American, Burroughs is also Nebraska’s only two-time NCAA Champion and the program’s only winner of the Hodge Trophy, which goes to the most dominant college wrestler each season. He finished his career with a 128-20 record.

NCAA Photos Archive
Jordan Burroughs at Nebraska

Burroughs then stepped his game up even more on the international level as he’s gone on to win an American-record seven Olympic and World gold medals. He won his Olympic gold in 2012 while collecting World Championships in 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2021 and 2022. He also has three World bronze medals from 2014, 2018 and 2019.

Despite falling short last month of making his 12th Olympic/World Team, Burroughs will always be an all-time great and the American wrestling GOAT. If anyone’s deserving of a statue at his alma mater, it’s him.

Similarly, Larson took the Husker volleyball team to new heights in the mid to late 2000s. Larson led the Huskers as a freshman to an appearance in the NCAA finals before punching through for a national title as a sophomore in 2006.

As a two-time first-team All-American, Larson was also the Big 12 player of the year and defensive player of the year as a senior, the only time one player has won both of those awards in the same season.

Much like Burroughs, Larson just kept getting better after college. On the world stage, Larson led Team USA to three Olympic medals and a World Championship in 2014. After earning Olympic silver in 2012 and bronze in 2016, Larson secured the medal trifecta when Team USA won gold in 2020.

“I would love to be by Jordan Larson too – it would be an honor,” Burroughs said. “Our careers were kind-of parallel to one another, and we had a lot of success at the exact same time. She’s someone that I have great admiration for.”

For Burroughs, the significance of a statue at his beloved NU isn’t lost on him.

“The most unique memorial that I would have to my career is I got the high school gymnasium where I went to high school named after me – it’s called the Jordan Burroughs Gym,” he said. “A statue is different. It’s something you typically get for an untimely death or because you were such an incredible legend. Michael Jordan has a statue and Shaq has a statue. These are guys that transcended the sport and are extremely well-known to everyone. I don’t know if I necessarily have that at Nebraska. I always did my best to fight for that, but I think it would be special. I did a lot of winning at the Devaney Center and at that university and did a lot of training in that wrestling room and that facility.”

With all that said...Hey, Nebraska Athletic Department, make this happen ASAP.