Football mm
NU Football BIO
Grant Wistrom
Player Profile:
Grant Wistrom 50357
Position: Rush End
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 255
Year: Senior
City/State: Webb City, Mo.
High School: Webb City

Honors & Awards

  • Drafted by the St. Louis Rams (1998 - 1st Round, Pick #6)
  • Member of Three Nebraska National Championship Teams (1994, 1995, 1997)
  • Lombardi Award Winner (1997)
  • Two-Time All-American (AP, Football Writers, AFCA, Coaches, Sporting News, Football News - 1996; AP, AFCA, Walter Camp, FWAA, Sporting News - 1997)
  • Two-Time Bronko Nagurski Player-of-the-Year Finalist (1996, 1997)
  • AAU James E. Sullivan Memorial Award Nominee (1997)
  • Two-Time Football News Defensive Player-of-the-Year Semifinalist (1996, 1997)
  • Two-Time Big 12 Defensive Player-of-the-Year (AP, Coaches - 1996, 1997)
  • Big 12 Male Athlete-of-the-Year (1997-1998)
  • Three-Time First-Team All-Conference (1995, 1996, 1997)
  • NCAA Today's Top Eight Award Winner (1997)
  • National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Winner (1997)
  • Two-Time GTE/CoSIDA First-Team Academic All-American (1996, 1997)
  • Guy Chamberlin Award (1997)
  • Team Co-Captain (1997)
  • Nebraska Lifter-of-the-Year Finalist (1997)
  • Inaugural Brook Berringer Citizenship Team Member (1997)
  • Touchdown Club of Columbus College Defensive Lineman-of-the-Year (1997)
  • Second-Team All-American (American Football Foundation, 1996)
  • ABC/Chevrolet Player-of-the-Game (vs. Colorado, 1996)
  • CFA Scholar-Athlete (1996)
  • Two-Time GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-District VII (1995, 1996)
  • First-Team Academic All-Big 12 (1996)
  • Big 12 Commissioner's Fall Semester Academic Honor Roll (1996)
  • Third-Team All-American (AP, 1995)
  • First-Team All-Big Eight (Coaches, 1995)
  • Second-Team All-Big Eight (AP, 1995)


One of the most feared defenders in school history, Grant Wistrom was the anchor of the Husker defense during one of the most successful eras in college football. During his career, the Huskers compiled a 49-2 record from 1994 to 1997, winning three national titles in that span (1994, 1995 and 1997), becoming only the second program in Division I history to win three national titles in a four-year period.

Grant Wistrom finished a standout four-year career by becoming Nebraska's fourth Lombardi Award winner as the nation's top lineman following the 1997 season. A two-time first-team All-American, he was twice voted the Big 12 Conference's Defensive Player-of-the-Year. A three-year starter, Wistrom was a finalist for the 1997 Bronko Nagurski Defensive Player-of-the-Year award. With 58.5 career tackles for loss, Wistrom is NU's all-time leader in that category, passing former NU All-Americans Trev Alberts (44.5) and Jim Skow (44). Wistrom finished his Husker career with 26.5 sacks, second in Nebraska history behind Alberts' 29.5. Wistrom finished 18th in career tackles with 206 and saw his No. 98 jersey retired in 1998.

Following his collegiate career, Wistrom was a first-round selection (No. 6 overall) by the St. Louis Rams in the 1998 NFL Draft. He played a reserve role as a rookie before earning a starting position. In 2000, Wistrom helped the Rams defeat the Tennessee Titans, 23-16, in Super Bowl XXXIV. He would help the Rams to Super Bowl XXXVI following the 2001 season, but would come up short of victory over the New England Patriots as the Patriots were able to edge the Rams 20-17. Wistrom would play six seasons in St. Louis (1998-2003), before joining the Seattle Seahawks in 2004, where he would retire following the 2006 season. Wistrom helped the Seahawks to Super Bowl XL against the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2005, but the team came up short 21-10. Wistrom finished his nine-year NFL career appearing in 132 games (starting 118), making three Super Bowl appearances, earning three NFC Championships (1999, 2001, 2005), recording 416 tackles, 53 sacks and five interceptions.

1997 (Senior)

As a senior captain, Wistrom finished with 51 tackles (28 solo), including 8.5 sacks and 17 tackles for loss, leading the Blackshirts in both categories en route to earning Big 12 Defensive Player-of-the-Year honors. A finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Defensive Player-of-the-Year, Wistrom helped the Huskers rank fifth nationally in total defense and second nationally against the run. In the 1998 Orange Bowl against Tennessee, he had two solo tackles and one tackle for four yards lost. Wistrom helped lead Nebraska to a perfect 13-0 record and a share of the national title with Michigan. Wistrom was a two-time first-team CoSIDA Academic All-American and became the 13th Husker to win the NCAA's highest honor, the NCAA Top Eight Award, in 1997. He also earned the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame Postgraduate Scholarship following his senior campaign and was the Big 12 Male Athlete of the Year for the 1997-98 season.

1996 (Junior)

Wistrom enjoyed the spoils of teaming with left rush end Jared Tomich in 1996 and finished third on the team in tackles with 75 (30 solo). He led the team in sacks (9.5-48 yards lost) and tackles for loss (20-74) and earned first-team All-America honors and was a finalist for national defensive player-of-the-year honors, winning the Big 12 honor. He also had 15 quarterback hurries -- four times causing the signal caller to throw interceptions. He recorded his first career interception against Michigan State, returning it nine yards for a touchdown. Against Arizona State, he had two sacks and recorded seven tackles. He was NU's nominee for Big 12 Defensive Player-of-the-Week, recording one sack and tying the school record when he blocked two kicks from the line of scrimmage against Colorado State (a field goal and an extra-point attempt). He was also NU's nominee against Baylor (five tackles in the shutout, and one tackle for loss, one sack) and against Kansas (team's leading tackler with nine stops, a four-yard sack and two tackles for loss). Wistrom led the team in tackles against his homestate Missouri with seven, including two for losses, in little more than two quarters, as the Huskers held their sixth opponent of the season to 80 yards rushing or less. Missouri totaled just 47 rushing yards and 170 in total offense. He had a career-best day against No. 5 Colorado, claiming Big 12 Defensive Player-of-the-Week honors as well as the ABC/Chevrolet Player-of-the-Game award by leading the Huskers with 15 tackles, three tackles for loss, including two sacks and four quarterback hurries, causing incomplete passes. He had four tackles against Texas, including a tackle for loss and an interception caused. The two-time all-conference honoree aided the Huskers to top 10 rankings in all four defensive categories. Wistrom had five tackles in the Orange Bowl victory over Virginia Tech, including one sack.

1995 (Sophomore)

Wistrom earned first-team All-Big Eight honors from the league coaches as the Huskers ranked second nationally against the rush, fourth in points allowed and 13th in total defense. Wistrom was a third-team All-American by the AP, as he finished the year sixth on the team with 44 tackles (21 solo). He led the team in tackles for loss with 15, pushing opponents back 55 yards. Four of those were sacks totaling 23 yards lost. Wistrom's 13 quarterback hurries were second only to Tomich's 24. He tied his season-best in tackles with six three times, against Kansas State (five solo), Kansas (one solo) and Oklahoma (four solo). He was Nebraska's nominee for Big Eight Defensive Player-of-the-Week against Washington State, when he had a career-high four tackles for 16 yards lost and against Kansas State, when he matched that mark with four tackles for 13 yards lost, including two sacks. He had a career-high four QB hurries against Colorado, and was the ABC Player-of-the-Game against Oklahoma with two more tackles for loss. In the Fiesta Bowl against Florida, Wistrom played a key role in aiding the Huskers to their second consecutive national championship. He and the Huskers' swarming defense put heavy pressure on quarterback Danny Wuerffel. The Florida junior, who set an NCAA record in 1995 for passing efficiency, was sacked seven times and hurried 11 times, throwing 14 incomplete passes. Wistrom was responsible for five tackles, one nine-yard sack and two quarterback hurries. Wistrom earned Phillips 66 Academic All-Big Eight honors and was a District VII academic honoree.

1994 (Freshman)

A true freshman, Wistrom had an outstanding year for Nebraska and was an impact player for the Husker Blackshirts, which ranked in the top 10 nationally in every defensive category. Wistrom played in every game and finished 13th on the team in tackles with 36 stops (14 solo) and had 6.5 tackles for 55 yards lost, including 4.5 sacks for 49 yards lost. He also had 11 quarterback hurries, alternating with starter Donta Jones at the right outside linebacker position. Wistrom was named the Big Eight Defensive Newcomer-of-the-year by the league coaches. He had a season-best six tackles against Kansas with an eight-yard sack and twice had five tackles in a game against Pacific and Missouri. He had two tackles for 24 yards lost against No. 16 Kansas State and one and a half sacks for 17 yards lost in the season opener against West Virginia plus another tackle for loss against the Mountaineers with two quarterback hurries. Wistrom and rover Octavious McFarlin were the only true scholarship freshmen playing for Nebraska in 1994. In the 1995 Orange Bowl against Miami, Wistrom saw extensive playing time at right outside linebacker and recorded three tackles.

Before Nebraska (Webb City High School)

A USA Today, Blue Chip and SuperPrep All-American, Wistrom was named to the Schutt Top 100 high school football All-America Team by Scholastic Coach. He was considered the top prep recruit out of Missouri in 1994, as he made 122 tackles with eight sacks, caused nine fumbles, made six recoveries and blocked one punt as a senior. As a tight end, he caught 30 passes for 527 yards and five touchdowns and ran the ball 11 times for 115 yards and three touchdowns in 1993. SuperPrep rated Wistrom as the 12th-best defensive lineman available in 1994 and as the defensive player-of-the-year in the Midlands region. Wistrom helped lead Webb City to two state championships his junior and senior seasons in the state's second-largest Class (4A) playing for Coach Kurt Thompson. An excellent student, Wistrom was president of the National Honor Society, a member of the High Step program, earned academic all-state, was a co-president of the FCA, was an ESPN Scholar-Athlete and an honors graduate. He also ran track and played center for his basketball team. Wistrom chose Nebraska over Michigan, Stanford, Miami and Oklahoma.


The son of Ron and Kathy Wistrom, Grant was born on July 3, 1976. His brother Tracey (tight end) was a member of the 1997 Husker recruiting class. Grant was a member of the 1997 Brook Berringer Citizenship team, as he was an active volunteer and speaker. Beginning as a freshman, Grant had visited hospitals, churches and schools. He assisted with Kids Club, the Pacific Pals program and youth camp, American Education Week, National Student-Athlete Day, Ventures in Partnership, the School is Cool Jam, the DARE Program and also volunteered at the Peoples City Mission. He interned at St. Elizabeth's Hospital Pharmacy Department in 1996.

Wistrom's Career Statistics

. . Tackles . . Fum. . . . QB Int.
 Year G/S UT AT TT TFL Sacks C-R BK PBU PI Hry. Csd.
 1994 12/0 14 22 36 6.5-55 4.5-49 0-0 0 0 0 11 0
 1995 11/11 21 23 44 15-55 4-23 0-0 0 0 0 13 1
 1996 12/12 30 45 75 20-74 9.5-48 1-0 2 0 1 15 4
 1997 12/12 28 23 51 17-76 8.5-58 3-1 0 3 0 25 0
Totals 47/35 93 113 2,065 58.5-260 26.5-178 4-1 *2 3 **1 64 5

*Blocked Kicks: Two (one field goal, one PAT) vs. Colorado St., 1996
**Interceptions: 1-9 yard TD vs. Michigan State, 1996

1995 Orange Bowl vs. Miami: Tackles 2 UT, 1 AT, 3 TT
1996 Fiesta Bowl vs. Florida: Tackles 3 UT, 2 AT, 5 TT; TFL 1-9; Sacks 1-9; QB Hurries 2
1996 Orange Bowl vs. Virginia Tech: Tackles 3 UT, 2 AT, 5 TT; TFL 1-4; Sacks 1-4; QB Hurries 3
1998 Orange Bowl vs. Tennessee: Tackles 2 UT, 0 AT, 2 TT; TFL 1-4

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