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Official Husker Locker Blog

2010 May 26

30/1980 BEST PLAYERS: No. 4


By HuskerLocker

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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.

Like or dislike our pick? Comment on it below.

Not a member, but would like to comment? Join Husker Locker today - it's free!.

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. 4 Defensive End Grant Wistrom (1994-1997)

One of the great, consummate winners and leaders in Husker history, Wistrom’s impact was immediate from the time he stepped on campus. Though he didn’t start as a freshman, he was an intergral part of NU’s first national title in more than 20 years with 36 tackles and 4.5 sacks. He didn’t miss a start in 1995, 1996 or 1997, and lost only two games in his career. He won the 1997 Lombardi Trophy despite teams game-planning to stop his relentless edge pass rush. He’s now in the College Football Hall of Fame, and his career numbers - 206 tackles, 58.5 tackles for loss, 26.5 sacks - are amazing for a guy who had to share those stats with one incredible defensive teammate after another.

Wistrom’s best attribute? His motor. He simply never stopped. He could crash and collapse a pocket, sometimes on the same play. He was also a two-time Academic All-American. There just isn’t a lot Wistrom didn’t do in his time on campus. He maximized every ounce of his talent, and found a little in reserve. He has three Sears Trophies to show for it.

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, No. 12, No. 11, No. 10, No. 9, No. 8, No. 7, No. 6, No. 5

Tags: 30 best players since 1980, grant wistrom

Comments (14)

Profile image for mnhusker1962


You ask a fair question. Rozier was a little bit the same argument as I used for excluding Frazier. I was a college senior the same year as the real Triplets, and I think any of 30 guys on the roster in '83 could have got 1000 yards behind that line without too much trouble. Now make no mistake, Rozier's back and forth run against UCLA might still be my favorite play by a running back in this time window. He was the epitome of the Mike Corgan I-back. Always gave out more punishment than he took. I think the offense would have been basically unchanged with Smith at tailback that year, but the loss of Fryar or Gill would have been way more noticeable. Rozier is still the man, and among the toughtest we ever had, but falls victim to being the best among a wealth of riches.

My exclusion of Suh is a little harder to defend. While his Texas performance will be an all time top effort, I think a little bit of everyone's fascination with him is his being the first true standout the team could get excited about since, who? Crouch? I am not criticizing Suh at all. Hell if my daughter wants to marry him, she has my blessing (Like my say would matter, right?) It just seems like he took some games off. Now I can't analyze every scheme, but I recall he was pretty non-existant in the Tech game this year? Just didn't see the long time excellence with him Now when he was great, he was unprecedented in his ability to change the game. Just wish I saw more of it. At least that's my rationale for that as well.

Again, just opinion on my part, but did like the question.

– May 27, 2010 at 8:49 pm

Profile image for bigred1


just curious, but why the exclusion of Suh and Rozier on your top ten. do you really feel that LP tops those guys? From what I've seen of Rozier...he was the best RB we've had...at any time. I do like the pick of rimmington being #2. In my opinion, he's one of the best college football players at any position, on any team, ever!

– May 27, 2010 at 10:06 am

Profile image for mnhusker1962

Having been at games for the last 30 years, I can say with complete certainty that they have already missed #1. And no way is Tommy #1. Remember when he went down? Brook Berringer took over and we didn't miss a beat. TO even says in his book the best offensive performance the team ever had under him was the Colorado game in '94 which we won 24-7 with Brook running the O. He was incredible. The only reason Tommy got the starting job his senior year is Brook had 1 interception in the last scrimmage. We were completely diversified with Brook at QB, and Tommy was always suspect throwing the ball (not that we needed to). I am not saying Tommy wasn't a GREAT player, but not #1.

For me it will always be Turner Gill. NO ONE commanded the offense like he did. He set the tone for the offense for the next 20 years. The fact that he ended up #4 in the Heisman as an 'option QB' and the winner (Rozier) in the running as well says it all to me. (But Tommy definitely should have won it over Eddie friggin George). Not looking to start a fight here, but just see it different than most. (By the way, the '83 team was the best team ever in my opinion)

1 Turner Gill
2 Dave Rimington
3 Grant Wistrom
4 Roger Craig
5 Irving Fryar
6 Grant Wistrom
7 Mike Minter
8 Dean Steinkuhler
9 Lawrence Phillips
10 Kevin Seibel (not joking. His kickoffs were the best ever. Kicked SKY HIGH and dropped it in between the Goal Line and the 5, allowing our teams to clobber the opponents on the kickoff

– May 26, 2010 at 9:28 pm

Profile image for huskerfanbb

Um, myhuskerchamps--better check the dates of when the guys you list played. This list is for those who played from 1980 on, and the Jet doesn't fit the bill.

You hadn't noticed that Bob Brown, Rich Glover, Tom Novak, Jerry Tagge, or any other players that played before 1980 were not seen on the list until now, either?

– May 26, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Profile image for bigredsouthpaw28

That's who I think will be in the last 3 spots. Like MaizeHusker said, Tommie Frazier was the best player on the greatest football team ever assembled. Big Suh is just a beast, probably the best player on the defensive side of the ball since Wistrom. And Rozier, he was pretty good. But, he had #6 Rimington, #8 Steinkuhler, #22 Rathman, and honorable mention Traynowicz opening up holes that you could drive a semi through.

– May 26, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Profile image for bigredsouthpaw28

Husker Locker’s “30 Best Players since 1980”
4 Grant Wistrom 94-97
5 Eric Crouch 98-01
6 Dave Rimington 80-82
7 Turner Gill 81-83
8 Dean Steinkuhler 80-83
9 Irving Fryar 80-83
10 Trev Alberts 90-93
11 Ahman Green 95-97
12 Mike Brown 96-99
13 Jason Peter 94-97
14 Will Shields 89-92
15 Dominic Raiola 98-00
16 Broderick Thomas 85-88
17 Lawrence Phillips 93-95
18 Zach Wiegert 91-94
19 Ralph Brown 96-99
20 Aaron Taylor 94-97
21 Neil Smith 84-87
22 Tom Rathman 82-85
23 Scott Frost 96-97
24 Toniu Fonoti 99-01
25 Barrett Ruud 01-04
26 Danny Noonan 83-86
27 Barron Miles 92-94
28 Calvin Jones 91-93
29 Jake Young 86-89
30 Alex Henery 07-present
HMention Ken Clark 86-89
Terrell Farley 95-96
Joel Makovicka 95-98
Marc Munford 83-86
Jarvis Redwine 79-80
Ed Stewart 91-94
Steve Taylor 85-88
Jared Tomich 93-96
Mark Traynowicz 80-84
Demorrio Williams 02-03

– May 26, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Profile image for bigred1

myhuskerchamps, the jet can't be on the list because he's pre-1980. i keep thinking the same thing, then i remember the time frame this is for

– May 26, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Profile image for dotbo

Dejuan Groce was left off the Honorable Mention list. That guy had some huge punt returns and INT runbacks that kept NU in games almost lost. I hereby nominate him for the HM list and the individual performances!

– May 26, 2010 at 1:53 pm

Profile image for bigred1

Wistrom would make my top 10 for greatest huskers of all time. The look in his eyes...even in interviews, was fearsome. Heard he was a good guy off the field too...just wouldn't ever want to get in his way in some kind of physical competition. I honestly think I'd rather have Suh after me...but neither would be good!

– May 26, 2010 at 1:33 pm

Profile image for myhuskerchamps

We must have a tie in the top 4. Guys that deserve a top five, but haven't been listed:
Big Suh, Tommie, Rozier & the Jet.

– May 26, 2010 at 1:30 pm

Profile image for MaizeHusker

Grant's 4 year contribution gives him consideration for #1. Each of the 3 left had periods of JuCo time or injury.
I think Ndamukong will get the nodd at #1 for being the best player on the field for the longest period of time. Both Tommie and Mike had better teams though. Personally I'd put Tommie #1. Without his 4th Q against Miami TO maybe doesn't get over the Florida school Florida bowlg game hump. And also without him the 1995 maybe doesn't get as much run with the experts as the greatest team of all time. Best player on the best team ever is probably worth something right?

– May 26, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Profile image for BrizzleTurntable

I wish I had more hands so I could give this post 4 thumbs up! Seriously, what Husker fan didn't just absolutely love this dude?

– May 26, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Profile image for HuskerLockerLocker Pass member

Yes. It will be compiled and forever archived for easy use and debate.

– May 26, 2010 at 11:55 am

Profile image for HuskerBoPower

Husker Locker - when you get to #1 on your list, can you also list #1-30 in a numerical list in one article for fun and for reference. You don't need to do a write-up, because you have already done that. But it would be nice to see the whole list without having to click on each of the list links above. Thanks!

– May 26, 2010 at 11:05 am

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