Honors & Awards
- Drafted by the Arizona Cardinals (1996 - 4th Round, Pick #112)
- Member of Two Nebraska National Championship Teams (1994, 1995)
- Team Captain (1995)
- NCAA Today Top Eight Award (1996)
- First-Team All-American (AP, Football News, 1995)
- Two-Time First-Team All-Big Eight (AP, Football News, 1995)
- First-Team GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-American (1995)
- Second-Team GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-American (1994)
- Two-Time GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-District VII (1994, 1995)
- Three-Time Phillips 66 Academic All-Big Eight (1993, 1994, 1995)
- CFA/Hitachi Good Works Team (1995)
- CFA/Hitachi Scholar-Athlete Team (1995)
- Burger King Scholar-Athlete (1995)
- Honda/ESPN Scholar-Athlete (vs. Oklahoma State, 1995)
- Guy Chamberlin Award Winner (1995)
Aaron Graham served as Nebraska's starting center and No. 1 snapper from 1992 through 1995. He was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the fourth round of the NFL Draft in the spring of 1996. Graham played four season (1996-1999) for the Cardinals and one season each for the Oakland Raiders (2001) and Tennessee Titans (2002). Throughout his NFL career, Graham played in 92 games with 40 starts.
Graham was a first-team All-American, on and off the field in 1995, earning first-team All-America honors from the Associated Press and Football News and first team GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-America honors in the classroom. He was also a CFA Hitachi Scholar-Athlete and a member of the CFA Good Works Team. But his biggest honor was being named (on Dec. 24) an NCAA Today's Top Eight Award Winner - the highest honor bestowed on student-athletes. Graham earned first-team All-Big Eight honors from the AP for the second consecutive year, as he and the offensive line paved the way for Nebraska's 12th NCAA rushing title by averaging 399.8 yards per game. The O-Line didn't allow a single sack and just 173 yards in tackles for losses over 11 games. Graham didn't give up a single sack in his career.
Graham also assisted the team to a No. 1 final ranking, a school and Big Eight record 52.4 points per game and a No. 2 NCAA ranking in total offense at 556.3 yards per game. Graham was a four-year veteran on a young line that lost four starters from the national champion team. The 1994 team also won the rushing title, but averaged 60 fewer yards per game (340.0). As the TD Club of Washington said, they couldn’t pick just one Husker to be their lineman of the year, so they named the entire Husker O-Line to earn the honor. As the one who initiated each offensive play and made offensive line checks, Graham was nearly flawless all season. The O-Line was flagged for just six penalties, and Graham had only one called on him. In his career, Graham had just one bad snap from center in the shotgun and never had a bad toss as NU’s deep snapper. Offensive line coach Milt Tenopir said, “Aaron is probably the best center I’ve had around here in 22 years and the best college center I’ve seen playing today. He snaps the ball for punts in 0.7 seconds, which is extremely fast, and he never had a bad snap.”
The center had 99 “pancakes” (knock-down blocks) in 1995, including 16 against Washington State and 15 against Oklahoma. Frazier credited Graham for much of his individual success. “Aaron meant a lot to my success. Having the same center for three years, you pretty much knew what he was going to do and what he thought. I knew what he was going to call, and he made my job easier.”
Graham worked with three different quarterbacks in 1994, but only had one bad exchange. His efforts earned him first-team All-Big Eight honors from the league coaches and honorable-mention All-Big Eight from the AP. According to kicking coach Dan Young, Graham may be the best snapper the Huskers have ever had. While the average snapper gets the ball to the holder in 0.72 seconds on punts, Graham consistently had times between 0.6 and 0.7, and between 0.4 and 0.5 seconds on PATs.
Graham had 79 “pancakes”, an average of 6.6 per game. Graham and company led Nebraska to its 11th NCAA rushing title, averaging 340.0 yards rushing per game, 36 yards better then second place Air Force. The Huskers, behind an offensive line that averaged 6-4 ½ and 295 pounds with four returning senior starters, rushed for over 300 yards in eight of 13 games in 1994. NU ranked sixth in points scored (36.3 ppg), and fifth in total offense (447.8 ypg). Meanwhile, the O-line allowed just six sacks (five by the first string) and was called for holding only four times. Graham started at center in the 1995 Orange Bowl, as NU defeated Miami 24-17 for the national title. An excellent student with a 3.328 grade-point average, Graham earned second-team GTE/CoSIDA All-America honors and his second Phillips 66 Academic All-Big Eight award.
After earning a letter as a redshirt freshman in 1992, Graham was thrown into a starting role at center when Brenden Stai broke his leg and Ken Mehlin moved from center to right guard. Graham played in all 11 games in 1993, starting the last four (plus the 1994 Orange Bowl against Florida State) while also serving as NU’s deep snapper. Graham helped the Huskers rank third nationally in rushing and fifth in scoring with 287.9 yards and 38.3 points per game. He had a team season-best 15 “pancakes” in his first start of the year against nationally ranked Colorado. He had 53 pancakes on the year (4.8 per game) including 40 in the last four regular-season games (10 against Oklahoma). Graham earned his first Phillips 66 Academic All-Big Eight award. Graham was the starting center in the 1994 Orange Bowl against Florida State, as Nebraska fell 18-16 to the Seminoles, a game which determined the national champion.
Graham played in every game in 1992, including the Federal Express Orange Bowl against Florida State. He served as a backup center to Jim Scott and Terris Chorney but was NU’s No. 1 deep snapper. Graham helped lead a potent Husker offense to its third NCAA rushing title in four years, the eighth overall under Osborne, with 328.2 yards per game. The Huskers also ranked second in scoring at 38.8 points per game and 11th in total offense with 438.2 yards per game.
A scholarship athlete, Graham redshirted his first year as a Husker.
Before Nebraska (Denton High School)
An all-district, all-area and honorable-mention all-state center for Coach Jim Batman at Denton High School, Graham was an All-America selection by the Chicago Tribune. He also played tackle on Denton’s goal-line defense. The three-time letterman earned second-team all-district honors as a junior in 1989 and was selected to play in the Texas Coaches All-Star Game which featured 68 of the top seniors in the Lone Star state. The captain of both the football and track teams, Graham competed in the shot put and discus and qualified for the regional meet as a junior and senior. He was an honor student with a 3.8 grade-point average.
The son of David and Stephanie Graham, Aaron was born May 22, 1973, in Las Vegas, N.M. Aaron has a sister Kim. In 1993, Graham was a spokesperson for the VIP Speakers Bureau. He participated in Venture for Partnership Program, DARE volunteer and was a 4-H Youth Leadership speaker. Aaron also served as an ambassador for the athletic department.
Graham's Career Statistics
Games Played -- 49
Games Started -- 30
1993 “Pancakes” (Knock-down blocks) -- 53 (4.8 per game)
1993 “Pancake” Best -- 15 vs. Colorado
1994 “Pancakes” --79 (6.6 per game)
1994 “Pancake” Best -- 12 vs. Colorado
1995 “Pancakes” -- 99 (8.25 per game)
1995 “Pancake” Best -- 16 vs. Washington State
Career Pancakes -- 231
Career Pancake Best -- 16 vs. Washington