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Home > Blogs > Official Husker Locker Blog > 30/1980 BEST PLAYERS: No. 21

Official Husker Locker Blog

2010 May 10

30/1980 BEST PLAYERS: No. 21


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. 21 Neil Smith (1984-1987)

A quick, versatile defensive tackle/end that was part of several stout defenses at NU featuring a number star players - Danny Noonan, Broderick Thomas, Marc Munford, Jim Skow and Chris Spachman among them - that probably reduced, to some extent, Smith’s career statistics, although they’re still impressive: 133 tackles, 26 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks. Like Ndamukong Suh, Smith was taken second in the 1988 NFL Draft to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Smith’s reign of terror in 1987 actually began in the Sugar Bowl to end the 1986 season - a 30-15 win over LSU - when he had five tackles in his hometown of New Orleans. During the 1987 season, Smith’s incredible first step overwhelmed many an offensive linemen. In a key game vs. Colorado at the end of the year, Smith was brilliant with 12 tackles, a sack, a recovered fumble and a blocked kick.

In the NFL, Smith became one of the most accomplished Huskers in history, with 104 career sacks, six Pro Bowls and two Super Bowl victories over 12 seasons.

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

Tags: 30 best players since 1980, neil smith

Comments (1)

Profile image for BrizzleTurntable

I love my fellow Louisiana natives in general, but Neil Smith was a beast. I'm glad Bo is opening up that pipeline again from his days at LSU, because there is plenty of talent down there to pick from.

– May 10, 2010 at 10:52 am

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