Tom Osbourne is to Bo Pelini as Darrell Royal is to Mack Brown.
So, I'm catching up on my reading, and I come across this article in the New York Times. It's about Pelini getting back to the "old" Nebraska, the team that won 3 (two outright, one shared) national championships: 1994, 1995, and 1997 (hmmm...I wonder who spoiled 1996?). Osbourne is working with Pelini to bring the "heart" back into Nebraska football, and apparently the heart of Nebraska football is carried by the walk-ons.
"I’ve heard Coach Osborne talk about some of the players who came around here from different areas across the nation and who were huge talents," Pelini said. "When you surround them with kids who grew up living or dying whether Nebraska won or lost, those talented guys become much more committed to the program. The more towns that are represented, the more ownership people have in our program."
Heads nodded enthusiastically when Pelini announced that the Huskers signed 30 walk-ons, mostly from Nebraska, and that these kids who grew up "bleeding red" would once more be a prominent part of the program
30 Walk-Ons?? Sheeeesh...that's a lot of free mac & cheese in the athlete's cafeteria.
Anyway, it got me to thinking: I wonder how many native-Nebraskan All-Americans played for Jesus Osbourne during the national championship years (four years, 1993 through 1997). Answer: 1.
Here you go (and don't worry, I'll list the Texas players at the end):
- Trev Alberts, 1993 (Cedar Falls, IA)
- Brenden Stai, 1994 (Phoenix, AZ)
- Ed Stewart, 1994 (Chicago, IL)
- Zach Wiegert, 1994 (Fremont, NE)
- Tommie Frazier, 1995 (Bradenton, FL)
- Aaron Graham, 1995 (Denton, TX)
- Jared Tomich, 1995-96 (St. John, IN)
- Aaron Taylor, 1996-97 (Wichita Falls, TX)
- Grant Wistrom, 1996-97 (Joplin, MO)
- Jason Peter, 1997 (Locust, NJ)
Now, let me list the Longhorn All-Americans that were (to the best of my knowledge) Mack Brown recruits in his first four-years as head coach (he got the job in 1997, first class in 1998 would be juniors/seniors in 2001 - so I'm listing players from 2001 to 2005). Number of non-native Texans? Answer: 0. It's a great list (complete with clicky goodness):
- Quentin Jammer, 2001 (Angleton, TX)
- Cory Redding, 2001-02 (Houston, TX)
- Nathan Vasher, 2001, 2003 (Wichita Falls, TX)
- Rod Babers, 2002 (Houston, TX)
- Derrick Dockery, 2002 (Dallas County, TX)
- Derrick Johnson, 2003-04 (Waco, TX)
- Roy Williams, 2003 (Odessa, TX)
- Tillman Holloway, 2003 (Houston, TX)
- Cedric Benson, 2004 (Midland, TX)
- Aaron Harris, 2005 (Mesquite, TX)
- Michael Huff, 2005 (Irving, TX)
- Jonathan Scott, 2005 (Dallas, TX)
- Rodrique Wright, 2005 (Houston, TX)
- Will Allen, 2005 (Houston, TX)
- Justin Blalock, 2005 (Dallas, TX)
- ...and, the king: Vince Young, 2005 (Houston, TX)
So...what's the point? The point is that I'm glad we don't live in Nebraska where the only talent in the state is only good enough to walk-on, and not be offered a scholarship.
Hook 'em, y'all!