Honors & Awards
- CoSIDA Academic All-American (1963)
- First-Team All-Big Eight (1962, 1963)
- First-Team Academic All-Big Eight (1963)
- Nebraska Football Hall of Fame Inductee (1976)
- Three Seasons in the NFL (Green Bay, 1964-65; Atlanta, 1966)
- Tom Novak Trophy (1963)
- Nebraska Team Captain (1963)
One of the top all-around players in the early days of Coach Bob Devaney's Cornhuskers, quarterback Dennis Claridge led Nebraska to its first-ever bowl game victories in the 1962 and 1963 seasons.
A two-time first-team All-Big Eight quarterback for the Huskers, Claridge served as NU's team captain as a senior in 1963, when he went on to win Nebraska's Novak Trophy, which "exemplifies courage and determination despite all odds in the manner of Nebraska All-American center Tom Novak."
In addition to his duties as NU's quarterback, the 6-3, 210-pounder from Robbinsdale, Minn., was also one of the nation's best punters in 1961, 1962 and 1963. He earned three letters for the Huskers in those same seasons.
Also a standout in the classroom, Claridge earned CoSIDA Academic All-America honors in 1963, and was a first-team academic All-Big Eight selection that same season.
Following his distinguished career at Nebraska, Claridge spent three seasons in the NFL, including the 1964 and 1965 seasons with the Green Bay Packers and the 1966 season with the Atlanta Falcons. He was the No. 3 draft choice of the Green Bay Packers in the 1963 NFL Draft following his junior season.
In 1976, Claridge was inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame.
As a senior in 1963, Claridge led the Huskers to their first-ever Big Eight title with a perfect 7-0 conference mark, including a 29-20 win over No. 6 Oklahoma. He also guided the Huskers to a 13-7 win over No. 5 Auburn to give Nebraska its first-ever Orange Bowl victory. The Huskers finished the 1963 season with a 10-1 record and a final No. 5 national ranking by the Associated Press.
Claridge completed 31-of-66 passes for 440 yards and one touchdown as a senior, while throwing three interceptions. He finished the season as NU's total-offense leader with 619 yards, including 179 rushing yards on 69 attempts with six touchdowns. In the Orange Bowl, he helped the Huskers bolt to a 13-0 halftime lead against the Tigers with his 68-yard touchdown run just 1:13 into the game. At the time, it was the longest touchdown run in Orange Bowl history. He finished the day with 108 yards rushing, while going 4-for-9 through the air for 30 yards.
On special teams, Claridge punted 32 times for 1,062 yards for a 33.2-yard per punt average.
Claridge guided a more high-powered offensive attack in his junior season in 1962. He led the Huskers to a 9-2 overall record and a 36-34 Gotham Bowl victory over Miami for Nebraska's first-ever bowl victory. In Hall of Fame Coach Bob Devaney's first season at Nebraska, Claridge led the Huskers with 1,199 total-offense yards, including 829 yards passing and 370 yards rushing on 104 attempts with 10 touchdowns and a pair of two-point conversion runs. He completed 56-of-128 passes with four touchdowns and eight interceptions on the year. He added four scoring strikes on two-point conversion attempts.
In the Gotham Bowl win over Miami, Claridge complete 9-of-14 passes for 146 yards, including a six-yard scoring strike to Mike Eger to tie the game at 20 with 42 seconds left in the first half. He added a two-point conversion run following a Bill "Thunder" Thornton touchdown with eight seconds left in the third quarter to give NU a 28-27 lead. Claridge added a final scoring drive that included a two-point conversion run by Thornton early in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.
For the season, he scored 64 points which was a school record at the time.
On special teams during the season, Claridge punted 27 times for 995 yards for a 36.9-yard per punt average.
In his first season as Nebraska's quarterback, Claridge completed 38-of-104 passes for 464 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions. He also carried 63 times for 75 yards with one touchdown.
As a punter, Claridge ranked 15th nationally in punting average at 39.2-yards per punt. He booted 50 punts for 1,958 yards on the season.
The Huskers finished with a 3-6-1 record in Coach Bill Jennings' final season in Lincoln.