Bruce Thorson, USA Today Sports

The Top Husker WR/TEs of All-Time

A look at Nebraska's top wide receivers of all-time.

LINCOLN, Neb. - Former Nebraska players Irving Fryar and Johnny "The Jet" Rodgers are known as two of the greatest wide receivers in college football history. 

Fryar was the No. 1 pick in the 1984 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots.

Rodgers was the recipient of the 1972 Heisman Trophy, beating out Oklahoma running back and eventual NFL Pro Bowler Greg Pruitt. 

Many college football programs would consider themselves lucky to have players of this caliber as their programs' best at a position. 

But while Nebraska's history at the wide receiver spot features two of the greats, it's not as deep as one might think.

Fryar and Rodgers are the program's only first-team All-Americans at the position - 94 others have had the honor while wearing the "N" since 1914.

To be blunt, the history at the wide receiver position is top heavy. 

In 122 years, Nebraska has never had a 1,000-yard receiver officially in a single season – Fryar and Rodgers had too much other talent around them, especially at the running back position (Rodgers did have 1,013 yards in 1972 if his bowl game would have been counted). The Huskers are the only Big Ten team to not see one of their players reach the milestone. 

We give a look at the updated top ten, two two receivers in the last five years being added to the group. This story was first published in Big Red Report magazine in 2012. 

#1 Johnny Rodgers


Johnny Rodgers
(NU Media Relations)

Wingback
(1970-1972)
5-foot-9 / 175 pounds
Omaha, NE

Johnny "The Jet" Rodgers was one of the most dynamic (if not the most) players ever to play for the Huskers. NU's first Heisman Trophy winner, Rodgers could do it all. In his career, he returned seven punts, and one kickoff for touchdowns. As a runner, he averaged close to six yards per carry and scored eleven times. But as a receiver, Rodgers was a natural. He caught 143 passes for 2,479 yards and twenty-five touchdowns in his career, almost gaining 1,000 yards in his senior season. In the past we have had Fryar No. 1, but it was always looking at two as just a receiver. When looking at the all-around player, Rodgers' ability as a runner and on special teams gives him the nod. But it is close. 


#2 Irving Fryar


Irving Fryar
(NU Media Relations)

Wingback
(1980-1983)
6-foot / 195 pounds
Mt. Holly, N.J.

Irving "The Flyer" Fryar was a complete receiver. That was evidence from being the No. 1 overall selection in the 1984 NFL Draft. He was part of the "Triplets" that included Turner Gill and Mike Rozier, but got his hands on the ball enough to be named first-team All-American alongside fellow teammate Rozier in 1983. In his final season, Fryar had 1,267 all purpose yards (780 receiving) and scored ten touchdowns. His best game was against Minnesota where he rushed for 92 yards and a touchdown and had 138 yards receiving with two scores. He ranks No. 13 all-time in receiving yards, but he had only 67 receptions compared to the career leader (Kenny Bell) who had 181. Had he been in a pass-oriented offense his receiving stats could have been off the charts.


#3 Johnny Mitchell


Johnny Mitchell
(NU Media Relations)

Tight End
(1990-1991)
6-foot-3 / 250 pounds
Chicago, IL

Mitchell was probably the best receiving tight end Nebraska ever had. On top of that, he was the most athletically gifted player to ever play for the Big Red. He only played two seasons, as he entered the NFL Draft after his sophomore season, so one has to wonder what he could have accomplished had he stayed another two years at Nebraska. But in his short stint in college, Mitchell was a touchdown machine, scoring 12 times while catching only 42 career passes. He currently holds the tight end for most yards receiving in a game with 137. Just imagine if Tommie Frazier and the Husker offense had Mitchell in 1992 and 1993.


#4 Tony Jeter


Tony Jeter
(NU Media Relations)

End
(1963-1965)
6-foot-3 / 225 pounds
Weirton, WV

Jeter's stats won't wow you…he only caught 38 balls and scored one touchdown…but he played both offense and defense, starting in 33 consecutive games. A first-team All-Big Eight selection in 1964 and 1965 along with All-American honors in '65, Jeter was NU's first African-American athlete to be an academic All-American. Jeter would rival any receiver on this list in terms of ability; he just didn't play in an offense that threw the ball a ton.


#5 Kenny Bell

WR
(2011-2014)
6-foot-1 / 200 pounds
Boulder, CO

Nebraska's all-time leader in career receptions and career receiving yards, Bell was named first-team All-Big Ten by the coaches his senior year. An emotional team captain during the end of the Pelini era, Bell caught at least one pass in 51 of his 52 games. A lower rated prospect coming out of high school, Bell best season was actually his sophomore year, when he had 863 yards and eight touchdowns. Bell ranks third all-time in touchdown receptions with 21. 

Jeff Hanisch. USA Today Sports

#6 Jordan Westerkamp

WR
(2013-2016)
6-foot-0 / 200 pounds
Chicago, IL

Westerkamp leaves Nebraska high on the receiving charts. He is second in school history in career receptions and needed just six yards to move into second all-time in career receiving yards. He finished his career with a 36 consecutive game catch streak - one shy of the record. The senior didn't have the season he would have hoped for. Westerkamp missed two games in the middle of the year and finishes 2016 with 526 yards and 38 receptions - a drop in production compared to his 2014 and 2015 campaigns. If he could have avoided the injury bug, Westerkamp would have likely been No. 1 in most of Nebraska's receiving records. 

Jesse Johnson, USA Today Sports

#7 Nate Swift

Wide Receiver
(2005-2008)
6-foot-2 / 200 pounds
Hutchinson, MN

Swift left Nebraska as one of the most efficient and dependable receivers ever. Swift is currently third in Nebraska history in receptions and fourth in yardage. Playing in a league known for its passing offenses and all-star receivers, Swift never received any serious consideration for All-Big 12 honors, but has gone down as one of the best in Nebraska history.


#8 Maurice Purify


Maurice Purify
(NU Media Relations)

Wide Receiver
(2006-2007)
6-foot-4 / 220 pounds
Eureka, CA

Purify was not your typical Husker receiver. Nebraska wasn't used to getting one of the nation's most recruited wideouts. But this was the West Coast offense era with Bill Callahan at the helm. Purify got in the mix on offense immediately, averaging almost 19 yards per reception while catching 34 passes. He followed that up in 2007 with 57 receptions for 814 yards. His reception total of 57 is the fifth-most in NU history. Purify played in only 25 games, starting nine, but he still caught 16 touchdowns which is fifth all-time on the Husker career touchdown reception list.


#9 Jon Bostick


Jon Bostick
(NU Media Relations)

Split End
(1989-1991)
6-foot-2 / 185 pounds
Bellevue, WA

Bostick was a sure-handed receiver who made the most of his catches in Nebraska's run-oriented offense. As a sophomore, Bostick was the team's second-leading receiver despite playing in only eight games. His first career catch was a 60-yard touchdown, then followed that with two games were he caught two touchdowns in each. His 24.1 yards per catch average that season was just short of the NU record. Bostick was a first-team All-Big Eight pick in 1981 and teamed with Johnny Mitchell to give NU its first two 20-plus receivers since 1982.


#10 Matt Davison

Split End
(1997-2000)
6-foot-1 / 185 pounds
Tecumseh, NE

Davison is remembered most for his diving touchdown catch in the 1997 Missouri game, which saved Nebraska's national championship season. But he also should be appreciated for his consistency as a receiver. He averaged 408 receiving yards from his sophomore to senior years, leading the team in receptions all three years. He was a three time honorable All-Big 12 selection by the coaches. Davison currently ranks sixth on the all-time receptions list at UNL.



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