Husker Look Back: Fitting the Mold

Big Red Report's Shane Gilster takes a look back at the recruitment of Cory Schlesinger.

When you think of the great fullbacks in Nebraska football lore, the name Cory Schlesinger should automatically come to mind. A native Nebraskan, Schlesinger epitomized the heart, tenacity and unselfishness that a Husker fullback needed to display in order for the offense to be successful.

Although his hometown is Duncan, Cory Schlesinger attended nearby Columbus High School and became a standout athlete. Not only was he a two-time Class A 189-pound wrestling champion, he was a two-time all-state linebacker for head coach Dick Luebbe and the Discoverers.

"Toughness and balance set him apart," Luebbe said when Schlesinger was being recruited. "With his athletic ability, speed and size, Cory has a chance to fit in at more than one position."

The other position that Schlesinger excelled at was fullback, a position he would play at Nebraska. At 6-foot-2 and weighing around 200 pounds, he used his 4.6 speed to rush for 1,514 yards and 23 touchdowns, eclipsing the 100-yard mark nine times during the season.

For his accomplishments, Schlesinger was named an honorary captain of the all-state football team along with fellow Husker recruit Calvin Jones.

"I liked both," Schlesinger said when asked which position he liked more. "You get a chance to make good contact at either position. Linebackers and fullbacks hit each other all the time, so it didn't make a difference."

He would have made a great linebacker in college as he lead the Discoverers in tackles as a junior and senior, totaling 117 in his final season in 1989.

During his recruitment in football, Schlesinger was contacted by Nebraska, Wyoming, Northern Illinois, Illinois State and some of the smaller in-state schools. But most schools shied away because NU had a bead on him early to become their next great fullback.

"Tom Osborne called me and offered me a scholarship as a fullback," Schlesinger said.

So after that happened, it was a done deal as Schlesinger fulfilled every Nebraska's kid dream to play for the Big Red.

He didn't win a lot of honors or accolades (Honorable Mention All-Big Eight and Academic All-Big Eight in 1994), rushing for 456 yards (7.2 avg.) with four touchdowns as a senior, but he did score two of the biggest touchdowns in Husker history against Miami in the 1995 Orange Bowl, helping NU complete a come-from-behind win to capture Osborne's first national championship.

Schlesinger, who had a successful 12-year NFL career in Detroit, will forever be remembered as the quintessential Husker fullback.


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Shane Gilster is the Editor of Big Red Report Magazine. His stories focus mainly on catching up with former Huskers and examining Nebraska athletic history.
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