Honors & Awards
- Third-Team All-Big 12 (Coaches, 1997)
- Second-Team CoSIDA Academic All-American (1997)
- Two-Time CoSIDA Academic All-District VII (1996, 1997)
- Two-Time First-Team Academic All-Big 12 (1996, 1997)
- Burger King College Football Scholarship Athlete of the Week (1997, $10,000 to School)
- Two-Time Nebraska Lifter-of-the-Year Finalist (1996, 1997)
- Signed NFL Free Agent Contract with Arizona Cardinals
- Four Years with Berlin in NFL Europe (1998-2001)
Jon Zatechka (pronounced ZAD-ess-kuh) was a standout on the field and in the classroom during his Nebraska career. The 6-2, 290-pound right guard out of Lincoln East High School helped Nebraska to three national championships during his Husker career, as part of one of the most dominant offensive lines in college football history.
A four-year letterman and two-year starter who followed in his brother Rob's footsteps on the Husker offensive line, Jon averaged nearly 10 pancakes (knock-down blocks) per game as a senior. He helped the Huskers win their third NCAA rushing title in four years by averaging 392.6 yards per game on the ground. Nebraska also led the nation in total offense at 513.7 yards per game, while leading the nation in scoring offense with 47.1 points per contest.
A second-team CoSIDA Academic All-American and a two-time first-team academic All-Big 12 selection, Zatechka earned third-team All-Big 12 honors from the league coaches on the field as a senior. His senior season was highlighted by scoring a touchdown against Texas Tech after an Ahman Green fumble into the end zone, marking the first time that a Husker offensive lineman had scored a touchdown since Dean Steinkuhler scored on a 19-yard run in the 1984 Orange Bowl.
During his five seasons in Lincoln, Zatechka was part of the most successful stretch in Husker history, as Hall of Fame Coach Tom Osborne's team amassed a 60-3 record that included four conference titles from 1993 to 1997.
Following his senior season, Zatechka signed an NFL free agent contract with the Arizona Cardinals. He spent four years with Berlin in NFL Europe from 1998 to 2001.
Zatechka was one of two first-year starters on the Husker offensive line as a junior. He started every game, but saw limited action against Texas Tech when he suffered a sprained ankle in the first quarter. Zatechka posted double-figure pancake numbers against Baylor and Colorado, including a career-best 15 pancakes versus BU.
Nebraska finished the season ranked No. 4 nationally with 291.9 rushing yards per game, while also ranking fourth in the country in scoring offense at 42.7 points per contest. Zatechka also started against Virginia Tech in the 1996 Orange Bowl.
In the classroom, Zatechka earned first-team CoSIDA Academic All-District VII honors and was a first-team academic All-Big 12 selection.
Zatechka played in all 12 games as a sophomore in 1995, backing up Steve Ott at right guard. Zatechka and company helped the Huskers to their 12th NCAA rushing title by rolling to 399.8 yards per game on the ground. The Huskers captured their second straight national title after also leading the country in scoring offense at 52.4 points per contest.
Off the field, Zatechka claimed a spot on the Phillips 66 Big Eight Academic Honor Roll.
Redshirt Freshman (1994)
Zatechka appeared in four games as a redshirt freshman to contribute to Nebraska's national championship run. Jon's brother, Rob, was a senior co-captain on NU's 1994 national championship squad. NU also claimed the NCAA rushing crown by averaging 340 yards per game on the ground.
A scholarship recruit, Zatechka redshirted in his first season at Nebraska in 1993.
Before Nebraska (Lincoln East HS)
A three-year starter on the offensive line for Coach Lee Zentic at Lincoln East, Zatechka also started at left defensive tackle for the Spartans in 1992, recording 68 tackles including 31 solos. Zatechka earned first-team All-Nebraska honors from the Omaha World-Herald and Super-State accolades from the Lincoln Journal Star as a senior. He earned all-city honors as a junior and played in the Nebraska Shrine Game at Memorial Stadium before joining the Huskers in 1993.
Zatechka also competed in the shot put at the state track and field meet and earned three varsity letters in track and field. Like his two older brothers, Steve and Rob, Jon was the Lincoln East valedictorian and posted a perfect 4.0 GPA during his high school career.
The son of Dr. Douglas and Jane Zatechka, Jon was born on June 10, 1975. He has two brothers, Steve and Rob. Rob was a three-time CoSIDA Academic All-American at Nebraska and the CoSIDA Academic All-American-of-the-Year for football in 1994. Jon was a second-team CoSIDA Academic All-American at Nebraska after posting better than a 3.5 GPA as a fisheries and wildlife major. Jon's father Doug was the assistant vice chancellor for student affairs and director of housing at Nebraska. In addition to his academic honors at Nebraska, Jon was active in the community, serving as a volunteer speaker at Brownell Elementary School, and for the SCIP and DARE alcohol and drug prevention and Just Say No to Drugs programs. He also participated in Red Ribbon Week and American Education Week. He was a member of the UNL Mortar Board and the Golden Key National Honor Society.
Zatechka's Career Statistics
Games Played - 41 (including bowls)
Games Started - 25 (including bowls)
Career Pancake Best – 15 vs. Baylor, 1996