Honors & Awards
- Free-Agent Signee with the Arizona Cardinals (1998)
- Member of Three Nebraska National Championship Teams (1994, 1995, 1997)
- Second-Team GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-American (1997)
- Two-Time GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-District VII (1996, 1997)
- Burger King College Football Scholarship Athlete-of-the-Week ($10,000 to School, 1997)
- Two-Time First-Team Academic All-Big 12 (1996, 1997)
- Third-Team All-Big 12 (Coaches, 1997)
- Two-Time Nebraska Lifter-of-the-Year Finalist (1996, 1997)
- Phillips 66 Big Eight End-of-the-Year Academic Honor Roll (1995)
A four-year letterman and two-year starter who followed in his brother Rob's footsteps on the Husker offensive line, Jon Zatechka was a standout on the field and in the classroom during his Nebraska career. He assisted Nebraska to three national championships, as part of one of the most dominant offensive lines in college football history. During his five seasons in Lincoln, Zatechka helped lead Hall of Fame Coach Tom Osborne's team to 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 would spend the next four years (1998-2001) with Berlin in NFL Europe before hanging up his cleats.
Zatechka 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 and scoring offense with 47.1 points per contest. 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. Zatechka started the 1998 Orange Bowl against Tennessee and was a key contributor on the offensive line as he helped Nebraska to its third national championship in four years. 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.
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 "pancakes" against Baylor and Colorado, including a career-best 15 against Baylor. He totaled 90 on the year (7.5 per game). Zatechka aided Nebraska to a No. 4 rank in rushing (291.9 yards per game) and in scoring offense (42.7 points per game). He started at right guard against Virginia Tech in the 1996 Orange Bowl. He earned Academic All-District VII, and first-team academic All-Big 12 honors.
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 leading the country in scoring offense at 52.4 points per contest. Zatechka also saw playing time in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl against Florida, where he recorded a solo tackle. Off the field, Zatechka claimed a spot on the Phillips 66 Big Eight Academic Honor Roll.
As a redshirted scholarship freshman, Zatechka played in four games in 1994. Although he did not see action in the 1995 FedEx Orange Bowl against Miami, he helped lead Nebraska to a national championship, playing for the Husker Pipeline along with his brother, and senior co-captain, Rob. NU also claimed the NCAA rushing crown by averaging 340.0 yards per game on the ground.
A scholarship recruit, Zatechka redshirted his first year as a Husker.
Lincoln East High School
Zatechka started on the offensive line for Lincoln East as a junior and senior and for part of his sophomore year. Playing for Coach Lee Zentic, Zatechka also started at left defensive tackle in 1992, where he recorded 68 tackles (31 solo). Zatechka was named first-team All-Nebraska by the Omaha World-Herald and Super-State by the Lincoln Journal Star in 1992. He earned all-city honors as a junior and played in the 1993 Nebraska Shrine Game. He also threw the shot put at the state meet and earned three track and field letters. Like his two older brothers, Steve and Rob, Jon was No. 1 in his class with a perfect 4.0 grade point average.
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/Started -- 41/25 (includes bowl games)
1996 "Pancakes" -- 90 (7.5 average)
1997 "Pancakes" -- 115 (9.6 average)
"Pancake" Best -- 15 vs. Baylor, 1996