30/1980 BEST PLAYERS: No. 12

By at May 17, 2010 | 9:33 AM | Print

Welcome to Husker Locker’s “30 Best Players since 1980” portion of the Summer 30 series. Check throughout May to see our updated rankings; the previous rankings will be housed at the bottom of this blog post.

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Remember, too, to weigh in on the Best Individual Performances and Best Games since 1980. Also stay tuned for our ranking of every team, 1980-2009, at the end of the series!

No. 12 Safety Mike Brown (1996-1999)

Former defensive coordinator Charlie McBride once called Brown the best defensive player he ever coached; if those words weren’t endorsement enough, Brown’s on-field play and numbers – 287 career tackles, 17 tackles for loss, 14 pass breakups and nine interceptions – do the talking for him.

An All-American in 1999, Brown was a textbook tackler who also knew how to pack a wallop on an unsuspecting ball carrier. He started his final three seasons at NU, and his 1999 season was jaw-dropping for a safety: 96 tackles, six fumbles caused, five interceptions, five pass breakups, eight tackles for loss and two sacks. His finest game, however, was a 19-tackle performance in a 20-16 home loss to Texas.

Brown has played 10 seasons in the NFL – missing most of three because of devastating knee or Achilles’ injuries – make the pro bowl once and All-Pro another time. The testament to his greatness is this: In the last 13 years, college or pro, whenever he’s suited up – he’s started. That’s a warrior.

Check Out the Entire List!

Honorable Mention, No. 30, No. 29, No. 28, No. 27, No. 26, No. 25, No. 24, No. 23, No. 22, No. 21, No. 20, No. 19, No. 18, No. 17, No. 16, No. 15, No. 14, No. 13

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