Honors & Awards
- NCAA Today's Top Eight Award (1995)
- CoSIDA Academic All-American-of-the-Year for Football (1994)
- Three-Time CoSIDA Academic All-American (1992, 1993, 1994)
- Vincent DePaul Draddy Scholarship ($25,000, 1994)
- NCAA Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship ($20,000, 1994)
- Woody Hayes National Scholar-Athlete (1994)
- Big Eight Conference Co-Male Athlete of the Year (1994-95)
- Nebraska Male Student-Athlete of the Year (1994-95)
- Anson-Mount Scholar-Athlete (1994)
- Honda Scholar-Athlete Award ($5,000 to School, 1994)
- NACDA/Disney Scholar-Athlete ($5,000, 1994)
- Two-Time CFA/Hitachi Scholar-Athlete ($1,000 to High School)
- Three-Time CoSIDA Academic All-District VII (1992, 1993, 1994)
- Four-Time Phillips 66 Academic All-Big Eight (1991, 1992, 1993, 1994)
- University of Nebraska Male Student Leader of the Year (1993)
- Second-Team All-Big Eight (AP, Coaches, 1994)
- Team Captain (1994)
Arguably the most decorated student-athlete in the illustrious academic tradition of the Nebraska football program, Rob Zatechka (pronounced ZAD-ess-kuh) won every major national academic award as a senior while leading the Cornhuskers to a perfect national championship season as a co-captain on the field in 1994. The four-year letterman and two-year starter at offensive tackle became the first player in Hall of Fame Coach Tom Osborne's career to graduate with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average as a biological sciences major.
A second-team All-Big Eight selection on the field as a senior, playing alongside Outland Trophy winner Zach Wiegert and first-team All-Americans Brendan Stai and Aaron Graham (1995), Zatechka helped lead a dominant rushing attack that led the nation with 340 yards per game on the ground, while ranking fifth nationally with 477.8 yards per game in total offense. He started every game at left tackle as a senior, including Nebraska's win over Miami in the Orange Bowl in 1994.
Off the field, the 6-5, 315-pounder earned more than $50,000 in postgraduate scholarship money, including the Vincent DePaul Draddy Scholarship ($25,000) presented to the nation's top football student-athlete by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, and the NCAA Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship ($20,000) awarded to the nation's top football senior scholar. He was also an NCAA Today's Top Eight Award winner, while being named the CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year for football.
A three-time CoSIDA Academic All-America, Zatechka won first-team academic All-America awards in both 1993 and 1994. He was named the Woody Hayes Scholar-Athlete and was a NACDA/Disney Scholar-Athlete, which earned him another $5,000 toward his postgraduate academic pursuits.
A four-time Phillips 66 Academic All-Big Eight selection, Zatechka shared the Big Eight Male Athlete-of-the-Year award and became the first Nebraska student-athlete in history to win the University of Nebraska's Male Student Leader-of-the-Year honor in 1993. He earned his bachelor's degree from Nebraska in May of 1994, playing his senior season with degree in hand.
After helping the Huskers to their first national championship since 1971, Zatechka was selected in the fourth-round of the NFL Draft by the New York Giants. He spent four seasons with the Giants from 1995 through 1998.
Zatechka started the first nine games of his junior season but sat out most of the Colorado game after spraining an ankle in the first quarter. He started and tried to play against Kansas, but the ankle sprain limited his ability. After seeing limited action against Iowa State, Zatechka returned to his starting role against Oklahoma and also started for Nebraska in the Orange Bowl.
Zatechka helped lead the Huskers to a final No. 3 ranking in rushing offense (287.9 ypg) and a No. 5 national ranking in scoring offense (38.3 ppg), as NU amassed 425 total yards per game.
Off the field, Zatechka captured first-team CoSIDA Academic All-America honors, after claiming All-District VII and academic All-Big Eight honors. Zatechka joined teammates Trev Alberts and Terry Connealy as first-team CoSIDA Academic All-Americans, while Ken Mehlin added second-team honors for the Huskers in 1993.
Zatechka earned his second letter by playing both offensive tackle positions behind Zach Wiegert on the right and Lance Lundberg on the left. Zatechka helped lead a potent Husker offense to its third NCAA rushing title in four years and eighth in 13 seasons with 328.2 yards per game. NU also ranked second nationally in scoring with 38.8 points per game and 11th in total offense with 438.2 yards per contest. Zatechka earned second-team CoSIDA Academic All-America honors after claiming first-team CoSIDA Academic All-District VII accolades. He was also a first-team academic All-Big Eight selection.
Redshirt Freshman (1991)
Zatechka played in all but the Washington game as a redshirt freshman and started at left tackle in the Huskers' 18-9 win at Arizona State on Sept. 28, becoming the first Husker freshman offensive lineman to ever start a game for Coach Tom Osborne at Nebraska.
Against Oklahoma on Nov. 29, Zatechka threw possibly the biggest block of Nebraska's season, clearing the way for another freshman - I-back Calvin Jones - to gain four yards on 4th-and-1 at the Oklahoma 19 in the closing minutes. On the next play, Jones scored the winning touchdown in NU's 19-14 victory. One of the Huskers' top scholars, Zatechka earned Phillips 66 Academic All-Big Eight honors.
His ability on the field helped the Huskers claim their seventh NCAA rushing title in 12 years by rolling to 353.2 yards per game on the ground, while also averaging 153.3 passing yards per game - NU's best total since Vince Ferragamo was at quarterback. Nebraska led the Big Eight and ranked third nationally in both total offense (506.5 yards per game) and scoring offense (41.3 yards per game).
A scholarship recruit, Zatechka redshirted in his first season at Nebraska in 1990.
Before Nebraska (Lincoln East HS)
A three-year starter at offensive tackle and a spot player on defense for Coach Lee Zentic, Zatechka was all-class, all-state as a senior and received the Touchdown Club of Atlanta's Nebraska Lineman-of-the-Year award. He was also a prep All-American by several recruiting services. He lettered three times in track and field and was also an academic all-state pick, earning straight A's throughout high school.
The son of Dr. Douglas and Jane Zatechka, Rob was born on Dec. 1, 1971, in Lansing, Mich. He has two brothers, Steve and Jon. Jon was also a starting offensive lineman for the Huskers and played professionally following his NU career. Rob's father Doug was the assistant vice chancellor for student affairs and director of housing at Nebraska. In addition to his long list of academic honors at Nebraska, Rob was active in the community, participating in Best of America, National Student Day and National American Education programs, logging more than 100 speaking engagements to area youth since the start of his collegiate career. Rob was also the class valedictorian at Lincoln East High School, never receiving less than an A in any class.
Zatechka's Career Statistics
Games Played - 45 (including bowls)
Games Started - 24 (including bowls)
Career Pancake Best – 14 vs. Wyoming, 1994