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Official Husker Locker Blog

2010 May 24

30/1980 BEST PLAYERS: No. 7

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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.

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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. 7 Quarterback Turner Gill (1981-1983)

The biggest compliment you could give just about any athlete is that he made it look effortless. Gill did that and then some. Always quick, but rarely in a hurry, Gill was the first true option quarterback of Tom Osborne’s tenure - Osborne beat out Oklahoma’s Barry Switzer for Gill’s services - and the straw that stirred an incredible offensive drink. He wasn’t the most amazing of the Triplets - his name is still to come on the list - but Gill was the template for confident, steely leadership.

Taking over the starting role midway through his sophomore season at NU, Gill finished his career with 3,317 yards passing and 1,593 yards rushing. He accounted for 52 touchdowns, and served as engineer of the 1983 “Scoring Explosion” squad that ranks among the best offenses in college football history.

Best of all, he never lost to Oklahoma.

Elusive and possessing an excellent touch on the football, Gill stands as Osborne’s best pass/run threat at quarterback. Only 2.57 percent of his passes were ever intercepted. And yet two games - a controversial 1982 loss to Penn State and the 1984 Orange Bowl - prevented Gill from ever winning a national title as a player. Neither loss was Gill’s fault; the Penn State game, in fact, was one of his more memorable performances, with 239 yards passing.

He made up for it as quarterbacks coach of Tommie Frazier and Scott Frost winning in 1994, 1995 and 1997. He recently became head coach of Kansas after returning Buffalo to some measure of respectability.


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. 10No. 9, No. 8

Tags: 30 best players since 1980, turner gill

Comments (1)

Profile image for huskerfanbb
huskerfanbb

Eric Crouch is apparently yet to come since our last Heisman winner was not an honorable mention and has not yet appeared in the countdown.

Eric Crouch over Turner Gill? Really?

It MIGHT be argued that Crouch did "more with less" since he didn't have guys like Rozier, Fryar, and Craig around him. However, it could also be argued that Solich trusted him more, so he got more carries than he might have had he had a Rozier or Fryar--thus giving his some stat opportunities Gill didn't have. You have to admit, the Solich offense was pretty QB run heavy by 2001.

True, Gill didn't win a national title--but played for as many as Crouch did, and I don't think anyone is putting the 2001 team in the same league as the 82 and 83 teams.

Gill didn't win the Heisman--but neither did Frazier, and I'll eat my hat if Frazier doesn't end up higher on the list than Crouch.

I liked Crouch as a player, and he was great--but if you were picking a former Nebraska QB to build a team around and Frazier wasn't available, would you pick Gill or Crouch? I can't believe the answer would be the latter.

– May 24, 2010 at 5:21 pm

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