Honors & Awards
- Drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars (1997 - 7th Round, Pick #221)
- Member of Two Nebraska National Championship Teams (1994, 1995)
- University of Nebraska Graduate (December, 1995)
- First-Team All-Big 12 (AP, 1996)
- Third-Team All-Big 12 (Coaches, 1996)
- NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship ($5,000, 1996)
- Second-Team CoSIDA Academic All-American (1996)
- NACDA Postgraduate Scholarship Finalist (1996)
- CFA Scholar-Athlete (1996)
- Burger King Scholar Athlete-of-the-Week (Sept. 12, 1996; $10,000 to UNL General Scholarship Fund)
- CoSIDA Academic All-District VII (1996)
- Orange Bowl Scholar-Athlete (1996)
- First-Team Academic All-Big 12 (1996)
- Big 12 Commissioner's Fall Semester Honor Roll (1996)
- Nebraska's Cletus Fischer Native Son Trophy (1996)
- Big 12 Defensive Player-of-the-Week (vs. Texas Tech, 1996)
A first-team All-Big 12 pick on and off the field, Hesse produced a stellar senior season as one of the league's best linebackers before being chosen by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the seventh round of the 1997 NFL Draft. Hesse spent the 1997 NFL season with both the Green Bay Packers and the Denver Broncos. That season both teams appeared in Super Bowl XXXII. Hesse was part of the Broncos roster at the time and earned a Super Bowl ring when the Broncos defeated the Packers 31-24. He spent the 1998 season with the St. Louis Rams, before ending his professional career with Scotland in NFL Europe in 1999.
A four-year letterman and a first-team All-Big 12 selection on the field as a senior, Jon Hesse earned second-team CoSIDA Academic All-America honors and was an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship as a senior linebacker for the Cornhuskers in 1996. An outstanding all-around athlete and a standout in the classroom, Hesse played his entire senior season with his psychology degree in hand.
As a senior Mike linebacker at Nebraska, Hesse stepped into a starting role for the first time and ranked second on the team with 85 total tackles, including 32 solo stops. He notched 11 tackles for loss, covering 53 yards in losses, including two sacks for 18 yards lost. His 11 TFL's ranked fourth on the squad. He added a fumble caused and recovered against Colorado State. A standout on special teams as well, Hesse blocked two kicks, including a PAT against Colorado State and a punt against Texas Tech. He added a pair of pass breakups and three quarterback hurries on the season.
Hesse opened the season with nine tackles in the season opener, before notching 10 tackles in a loss to Arizona State. He added a breakup and a TFL against the Sun Devils. He led the Huskers with a career-high 13 tackles, while adding blocked PAT and a sack against Colorado State. Hesse added five tackles and another sack against No. 16 Kansas State, before managing three tackles against Baylor in limited action.
He claimed Big 12 Defensive Player-of-the-Week accolades against Texas Tech, when he led the Huskers with 11 tackles, including four tackles for loss. He also blocked a Red Raider punt. He added seven tackles, including a TFL, against Kansas, before managing five stops against Oklahoma, four against Missouri and four against Iowa State. He came up big with 10 tackles, including a 13-yard TFL against No. 5 Colorado, before adding four stops with a TFL against Texas. He wrapped up his collegiate career with three total tackles in Nebraska's win over Virginia Tech in the 1996 Orange Bowl.
Hesse was also named the winner of Nebraska's Cletus Fischer Native Son Award, which is presented annually to the senior player selected by the Husker coaches who best exemplifies the following qualities: good work ethic; competitiveness; leadership; forthrightness; sense of humor; pride; loyalty and love of Nebraska.
In addition to earning second-team CoSIDA Academic All-America honors, Hesse was named a CFA Scholar-Athlete and was a finalist for the NACDA Postgraduate Scholarship. He was also named the Burger King Scholar-Athlete of the Week on Sept. 12, which sent $10,000 to the University of Nebraska's General Scholarship Fund.
Even though he was a junior in football eligibility, Hesse played in the Fiesta Bowl with a psychology degree in hand. An excellent student, Hesse posted a nearly 3.5 GPA before his graduation. On the field, he played both outside linebacker and Mike linebacker behind Phil Ellis and Doug Colman. Hesse recorded 37 tackles, which ranked eighth on the team, while notching 20 solo stops. He also posted six tackles for seven yards lost with one forced fumble and one sack against Colorado for one yard lost. Hesse registered a season-high nine tackles (four solos) in Nebraska's season-opening victory against Oklahoma State. In the 1996 Fiesta Bowl win over Florida to give the Huskers their second straight nation title, Hesse had an assisted tackle and a four-yard on-side kickoff return.
Hesse served as a backup Mike linebacker to Phil Ellis and Doug Colman in 1994. Playing in all 12 games, Hesse made the travel squad, was a special teams member and had 11 tackles on the season, including five solo stops and a quarterback hurry. He had two tackles for two yards lost. Hesse notched a season-high three tackles against West Virginia in the Kickoff Classic, before adding a tackle for one-yard lost against Texas Tech and another tackle for one-yard lost against Pacific. Hesse also earned a spot on the Phillips 66 Academic Honor Roll with a 3.5 GPA for the year as a psychology major. In the 1995 Orange Bowl victory over Miami, which gave the Huskers their first national championship since 1971, Hesse recorded one solo tackle.
Playing a backup role to Mike Anderson, Hesse appeared in four games and registered one assisted tackle at linebacker.
A scholarship athlete, Hesse redshirted in his first year at Nebraska.
Lincoln Southeast High School
Regarded by some as the top prospect in Nebraska in 1991, Hesse played five positions for Lincoln Southeast High School in 1991, and helped Coach Chuck Mizerski's team rebound from an 0-2 start to win the Class A (largest) title. The 1992 Lincoln Journal Star Nebraska Player of the Year, Hesse was a two-time all-state pick on defense, as a defensive back in 1990, and as a linebacker in 1991. Hesse played both running back positions, wide receiver and wingback as a senior, while returning punts and handling place-kicking and punting duties. He played in the 1992 Nebraska Shrine Game. Hesse was named the state's top defensive player by the Lincoln Journal Star and was an academic all-state pick with a 3.978 grade-point average. He was also a standout on Southeast's basketball team.
The son of Kay Hesse, Jon was born on June 6, 1973. He graduated with a psychology degree in December of 1995, boasting a 3.472 grade-point average. An active member of Nebraska's community outreach programs, Hesse was a keynote speaker at Irving Middle School in 1994. He also assisted with American Education Week activities and was a speaker with the Ventures in Partnership Program in 1995.
Hesse's Career Statistics
Blocked Kicks: 1 PAT vs. Colorado; 1 punt vs. Texas Tech, 1996
Punt Return: 1-18 vs. Texas Tech, 1996
Fumble Return: 1-2 vs. Colorado State, 1996
Bowl Game Stats
1996 Fiesta Bowl vs. Florida: Tackles, 0 UT, 1 AT, 1 TT; Kickoff Return, 1-4
1996 Orange Bowl vs. Virginia Tech: Tackles, 1 UT, 2 AT, 3 TT
Total Tackles: 13 vs. Colorado State, 1996
Solo Tackles: 5 vs. Kansas, Colorado, 1996
Tackles for Loss: 4 vs. Colorado State, 1996