Lombardi Winner Grant Wistrom is now a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
Photo by Rick Anderson

Wistrom Becomes 14th Husker Inductee into College Football Hall of Fame

By NU Athletic Communications
New York City - Nebraska's Grant Wistrom was among 18 players and coaches who were inducted into the 2009 College Football Hall of Fame class here Tuesday night  by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.

Wistrom became the 14th Nebraska player in the College Football Hall of Fame, along with six former Cornhusker coaches. He is the first Nebraska player to join the Hall since 1983 Heisman winner Mike Rozier was inducted in 2006.

Wistrom said last spring that he was humbled by the honor of being selected and owes much of his success to his coaches and former teammates.

"I don't even know where to begin to thank the coaches and players who have helped me receive this special award," Wistrom said. "Obviously, this is not only an honor for me, but is indicative of the guys I played with and the coaches who helped me develop to my full potential.

"Our teams posted the best four-year record in the history of college football, and I know there are other deserving candidates from those teams. I would like to specifically thank Coach Osborne, Charlie McBride and Tony Samuel for helping me develop as a player on the field and as a man off the field."

Wistrom was the anchor of the Husker defense during one of the most successful eras in college football. During his career from 1994 to 1997, Nebraska compiled a 49-2 record and won three national championships. Wistrom was a first-team All-American in 1996 and 1997, and in 1997 he became the fourth Nebraska player to capture the Lombardi Award.

The Webb City, Mo., native holds the school record for tackles for loss with 58.5 for 260 yards, and he ranks second in Nebraska history with 26.5 sacks. Wistrom had his No. 98 jersey retired during the 1998 season. Off the field, Wistrom was a two-time first-team CoSIDA Academic All-American and was a recipient of the NCAA Top Eight Award in 1997. He was the Big 12 Male Athlete of the Year for 1997-98.

Wistrom's induction continues an impressive week in the Huskers' rich history of defensive linemen. On Monday, current Husker defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was named a Heisman Trophy finalist and took home the Bronko Nagurski Award as college football's top defensive player. The Nagurski Award was the first major defensive award won by a Husker since Wistrom's Lombardi Trophy in 1997.

Wistrom and Suh rank first and second on the Nebraska career tackles for loss list, with Suh needing three tackles for loss in the Holiday Bowl to overtake Wistrom.

The sixth overall selection in the 1998 National Football League Draft by the St. Louis Rams, Wistrom spent six seasons with the Rams from 1998 to 2003. While there, the Rams won a Super Bowl title in 1999 and an NFC title in 2001. He played for Seattle from 2004 to 2006, helping the Seahawks to the Super Bowl following the 2005 season. He retired after the 2006 season.

What Others Said About Wistrom's Selection:

You knew when you watched Grant in high school that he was special. He has worked so hard to be the best over the years he has played. This is one of the highest honors you can receive as a college football player, being voted in not only by your peers, but your coaches, athletes and members of the media. Without a doubt, Grant is very deserving of this honor because of his lifelong, dedicated effort to be the best. I couldn't be happier for him. Charlie McBride, Nebraska Defensive Coordinator and Defensive Line Coach, 1977-99

When you play a team sport like football, the biggest concern you have is whether or not the guy next to you is going to get the job done and have his motor running full speed all the time. When I put my hand in the dirt and looked to my right or left and saw Grant, I knew I had nothing to worry about. He was the type of guy that you dream about playing next to. He doesn't understand the word half-speed. When you look up the word "Blackshirt" in the dictionary, chances are you'll see a picture of Grant Wistrom next to it. I can count on one hand in my years of playing football the guys you knew you would have your back no matter the situation, not only on the field, but off it, and Grant was at the top of the list. I have been through a lot, and Grant never turned his back on me. He has always been there to support me, and he will be a brother to me forever. Jason Peter, Wistrom's NU teammate, 1994-97


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