That said, I come to you today with the Final Five in the week-long awaited Top Ten Most Wanted (And Missed). Again, the following members of the Top Ten are in no particular order:
6. Scott Frost – Probably the most absolutely physical option quarterback I have ever seen and I've studied some game tape, believe you me. Scott's ability to run the T.O. offense to perfection helped him have a stellar two-year career at Nebraska, but it was his on-field antics in 1997 that led NU to its third title in four years. Scott's ability to react and bull ahead for extra yardage or hold onto the pigskin until that last second and pitch it out to Ahman was unmatched by any previous ‘Husker signal caller and has yet to be mastered by any since. His heartfelt speech after the end of the 1998 Orange Bowl spoke volumes about his desire to see HIS captain, his coach go out a winner. Scott wasn't about the title for personal gain or glory, but for his leader. For that, he deserves a salute.
7. Ahman Green - If you've ever wanted to see a more finely put together running back in your life, you may as well stop looking. Much like Terrell was a "The Next Player", Ahman is certainly one as well. His ability to sprint, juke, jive and power was a trait unequalled by few, but that wasn't what makes him one of my missed. Much like with Tommie Frazier, it was the way he did it, the fun he had. It's funny, as I look at his cousin Tierre, a member of the current Nebraska roster, I see another Green, another #30 and that same mischievous smirk that says "Try and stop me, suckah!". The Green Genes provided fluidity, grace, poise and ability, but most of all, they provided entertainment for the bearer and the thousands of recipients. To this day, Ahman wows fans in Green Bay. I'd be willing to bet that given the chance, Tierre will do the same thing that his cousin did a few years ago.
8. DeJuan Groce – Now, I confess, I was not around for Johnny "The Jet" and his mad returning skillz, but I may have seen his second coming in that regard with DeJuan Groce. Every time DeJuan went back to receive a punt, there was the threat. Coaches knew it. I knew it and you knew it. He could score. As an opposing coach, you had best hope you had 11 mustangs out on the field with #5 or you were about to get scorched. I even recall a few coaches grabbing their punter's facemask and out and out BERATING them for kicking in his direction. DeJuan often went Neo on his opponents as time seemed to slow down and even stop as he zipped through, over and around slower opposition on the way to pay dirt. Oh yeah, he was a pretty good d-back, too.
9. Jason Peter –The Peter Brothers were another legacy that came through the University of Nebraska and as much as I appreciate what Christian did for the program, it was Jason that I miss. Why? Because, simply put, he was the perfect compliment to Grant Wistrom. He was the milk in your corn flakes. He was the cabbage in your Runza. He was the Chimney Rock in your Pepsi Bottle Race…okay, maybe not so much. Jason had fire, he had passion, much like his older brother and damn, if he wasn't one of the finest defensive lineman around for it. Some tackles penetrate an offensive line, but Jason would puncture it and slowly bleed it out. He would let the life and energy flow from them and then sprint past on the way to QB stew. Also, I've rarely seen a man so eager, so willing, to throw up dem bones.
10. Brook Berringer – I write this one with a heavy heart. Shortly after Brook's passing, I walked into the Red Zone at Oakview Mall during the off-season. I didn't have a lot of money with me or even to my name, but I looked around at all of the jerseys and photos, autographs and memorabilia. I did, however, see something that caught my eye. Nebraska Sports America put out a magazine tribute to Brook. I still have it on my wall, displayed prominently: Special Golf Preview Section, Saying Goodbye to the Big Eight and Brook Berringer 1973-1996. Brook was the kind of kid you always would brag about being a Cornhusker. Good looks, beautiful wife, talented, heck, NFL-talented and a tribute to the community as well. Brook always had time for everyone. When kids wanted an autograph, Brook was there with a smile and a fresh sharpie. He was the quintessential Nebraska Cornhusker. Brook? I miss you. We all do.
So, there you have it, the Final Five in the Top Ten Most Wanted (And Missed). Now, while I didn't have room for everyone I'd wanted to mention, I can say this: Being on a Top Ten list doesn't mean a whole lot. Sure, it's nice, it makes a nice conversation piece, but when it comes down to it? It's not much. What does matter is the moments shared, the memories gathered and the time spent reflecting. Being a Cornhusker isn't about being put on some random list. Being a Cornhusker is about pride, commitment, determination and hard work. And hey, as long as you can say that much to yourself? You'll be #1 regardless of the list.
Questions, commentary and other topical banter can be sent to Blankman71@cox.net
===Brandon a.k.a. Blankman #71===