Well over 1,000 players wore the scarlet and cream of Nebraska football during the initial decade of the 2000s.
Some carried the football while others saw fit to rip it from the hands of a quarterback or ball-carrier.
This era of Nebraska football saw some ups, a spiral and perhaps the rebirth of a college football titan.
Who are the 25 best players to hold the title of a Cornhusker during this past decade?
Jackson made his way into the spotlight during the 2006 season.
He finished the year with 989 yards (5.3 YPC) and eight TDs, just 11 yards short of giving Nebraska another 1,000-yard rusher at the time.
He would skip his senior season of eligibility and entered the NFL draft.
When the Cornhuskers wanted a field goal, they went to Alex Henery.
If they wanted a touchback after scoring points, they called in Adi Kunalic.
Kunalic’s specialty was belting pigskin and he did it well.
Adi nailed 125 touchbacks during his career including a career-high 39 in 2010.
His touchback total in 2010 was ranked No. 3 overall in the FBS.
With a net average of 46.9 yards per kickoff, Nebraska ranked first in the Big 12 thanks to Kunalic’s big boots.
Known affectionately as “Swifty” in many circles, Nate Swift was one of the few positives to come out of the Callahan era of Nebraska football.
He would finish his career with 2,476 yards and 22 TDs ranking second to former Cornhusker great Johnny Rodgers by three yards.
While second overall on Nebraska’s list in career receiving yards (2,476) and season receptions (63), Swift does hold the record for career receptions with 166.
Kelsay exceeded both on the football field and in the classroom.
He racked up 135 tackles, 33 TFL, 13 SCK, 9 PBU and 2 FF despite battling a nagging hamstring injury.
Kelsay went on to be named to the Big 12 Commissioner's Spring and Fall Honor Roll four times.
The current Buffalo Bill is also a four-time First-Team Academic All-Big 12 roster member.
“The Assassin” lived up to his nickname and took plenty of pleasure in doing so.
Asante garnered first-team All Big 12 honors as he finished a career that included 224 TKL, 3 FF and 3 INT.
His play helped the 2009 Nebraska defense improve by an average of 125 yards per game from the previous year.
One of the most reliable offensive lineman of the past decade for the Cornhuskers, Russ Hochstein started the final 29 games of his career at Nebraska.
He was part of a 2000 Cornhusker offensive line that gave up only 10 sacks through 11 contests.
Hochstein was selected both First-Team All-Big 12 and as a First-Team All-American in 2000.
Continuing Nebraska’s tradition of excellent walk-on punters and kickers, Sam Koch started every game of his final two seasons.
During his senior campaign, Koch was named First-Team All-Big 12 and was a Ray Guy semifinalist (awarded annually to the nation’s best punter).
Koch would wrap up his career with an average of 44.0 yards per kick with an 87-yard long versus Pittsburgh and downed 57 punts inside the 20-yard line.
As he trotted off into the sunset as current head coach Bo Pelini’s first starting quarterback, Ganz left holding 23 Nebraska football records.
Ganz threw for 3,568 and 25 TDs in 2008 before capping his season off with a 26-21 victory over Clemson in the 2009 Gator Bowl.
He also captured the game’s Most Valuable Player honors.
Ganz's career pass efficiency was ranked No. 4 in 2008 trailing only Heisman finalists Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy.
Another Cornhusker making a comfortable living in the NFL, Josh Brown filled large shoes left over by Kris Brown (no relation) in superb form.
Brown went 43-for-62 on field goals with a long of 51 yards contributing 315 points to the Huskers’ offensive drives over his career.
At one point, Brown hit 117 consecutive PAT and was named 2002 First-Team All-Big 12 as a senior.
Don’t let the hair and the wry smile fool you.
Stewart Bradley is a linebacker that knows how to bring the wood and he perfected his craft as a member of the Nebraska Blackshirt defense.
He finished his career with 175 TKL, 25 TFL, 4 SCK, and 1 INT primarily at the strong side linebacker position.
Ranked No. 8 on Nebraska’s all-time rushing list, Correll Buckhalter would likely be higher if he hadn’t split carries with teammate Dan Alexander.
Regardless, Buckhalter would tally 750 yards in 106 carries in 2000 (7.1 YPC).
He would find himself eclipsing the 100-yard mark in games where Alexander would accomplish the same feat.
Buckhalter recorded eight multiple rushing touchdown games finishing his Cornhusker career with 2,522 yards and 27 TDs.
A Butler County community college transfer, Taylor started every game during his Cornhusker career.
He would finish his two-year stint at Nebraska with 5,850 yards and 45 TDs through the air.
Needless to say, he shattered several Cornhusker records including the marks for single-season passing yards (2,486), completions (233) and attempts (399).
A product of the Bo Pelini defensive machine, Hagg benefitted from Nebraska’s shift into the “Peso” defense where he would play the role of a hybrid linebacker/safety.
He finished his Cornhusker career with 130 TKL, 15 TFL, 3 FF, 2 FR, 15 PBU, 7 QBH and 6 INT.
Hagg also scored on a school-record 95-yard punt return versus Texas.
Named to First-Team All Big 12 and All-American lists in 2000, Polk was arguably one of the most balanced linebackers that the Cornhuskers have seen since Ed Stewart in the mid-1990s.
A Butkus Award semifinalist and named to the Bronko Nagurski watch list, Polk notched 227 TKL, 32, TFL, 10 SCK, 5 FF, 1 FR and 2 INT.
Kyle Vanden Bosch had a fine scholastic record being named a First-Team Academic All-American, but he took his on-the-field work just as seriously as his grades.
Vanden Bosch received a heaping helping of recognition during his senior year in 2000 including First-Team All-Big 12, Player of the Week honors, was named Lifter-of-the-Year in 1999 and 2000 before being voted co-captain as senior by his teammates.
He would become a staple of Nebraska’s special teams unit blocking three kicks in 1999.
Vanden Bosch finished his career with 142 TKL, 34 TFL, 13 SCK, 6 FF, 3 FR, 46 QBH and 2 INT.
Before there was Lavonte David, there was Demorrio Williams.
The original linebacker terror in Bo Pelini’s scheme early last decade, Williams was named First-Team All-Big 12, was on the Lombardi and Butkus award watch lists along with being a team captain.
Williams’ unassisted tackles outnumbered those with an additional paw on his target 121-99.
He also accumulated 27 TFL, 12 SCK, 4 FF and 5 FR.
The 2000 (and first-ever) Dave Rimington Award Winner, Raiola was an anchor for vicious Nebraska offensive lines for three years.
A two-time academic All-Big 12 selection, he would be named a finalist for both the Lombardi Award and Outland Trophy.
A first-round draft pick by the Oakland Raiders, Washington contributed heavily to Nebraska’s defensive backfield.
Playing in every game as a Cornhusker, Washington would start all but two.
He finished his career with 145 TFL, 7 TFL, 3 FF, 2 FR, 38 PBU and 11 INT cementing his place as one of Nebraska’s finest cornerbacks in history.
Speaking of solidifying himself amongst the greats, Roy Helu, Jr. just finished a stellar campaign that ranks him with Nebraska’s current top-five rushers of all time.
Helu, Jr. rushed for 3,404 yards (5.9 YPC) and 28 TDs in his career including a virtual track meet versus Missouri in 2010.
He would set a single-game school record for rushing and all-purpose yards (307 and 321, respectively).
Helu, Jr. was also the first Cornhusker running back to rush for 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons since Calvin Jones in 1992-1993.
The Ruud family has been kind to the Cornhuskers' rich history.
One of Nebraska's most dominant linebackers, Ruud is credited with an astonishing 432 tackles in his career including a former single-season record of 149 before Lavonte David accumulated 152 last season.
A First-Team All-Big 12 honoree in 2004, he was also named to the Butkus Award watch list and was named Nebraska’s defensive MVP.
A 2001 First-Team All-American and Thorpe Award semifinalist, Craver helped set the tone for the next decade of Nebraska cornerbacks.
He would start every game from his sophomore year on.
Craver accounted for 192 TKL, 10 TFL, 2.5 SCK, 41 PBU and 7 INT during his career.
Nebraska fans were spoiled by Alex Henery.
Other teams’ fans questioned whether or not their kickers could place the ball through a set of uprights, some biting their nails at the thought.
If Henery missed, Cornhusker fans demanded that his temperature be taken.
The Nebraska all-time scoring leader (397 points) has his name scribbled down next to several Cornhusker kicking records.
Included is a 57-yard long versus Colorado as a sophomore that firmly put the spotlight on him for the remainder of his career.
Easily the best lockdown cornerback of the 2000s, opposing teams simply refused to throw at Prince Amukamara and with good reason.
The 2010 First-Team All-American and First-Team All-Big 12 roster member had not only offensive coordinators watching him, but several award committees such as the Jim Thorpe Award, Chuck Bednarik Award and Lott Trophy.
It’s been debated that if Amukamara would’ve had more opportunity for interceptions, he’d likely have carried home more hardware for Nebraska’s trophy cases.
He finished his career with 181 TKL, 6 TFL, 4 SCK, 3 FF, 1 FR and 5 INT.
The 2001 Heisman Trophy winner has to be given consideration as one of Nebraska’s best of all-time let alone the last decade.
Eric Crouch brought a quickness and acceleration not seen in a Cornhusker uniform in easily ten years.
His career output was nothing short of amazing as Crouch totaled 7,915 yards and 88 TDs both passing and rushing.
Crouch etched his name in the record books several times and his honors for his 2001 senior season don’t end with the Heisman Trophy.
Suffice it to say that the Cornhuskers should be so lucky to see another Eric Crouch in terms of sheer athleticism and ability.
Shock and awe.
While the No. 1 pick doesn’t seem to need justification, some would disagree.
The first defensive player to be named 2009 Associated Press College Player of the Year, Suh ripped through double-teams like rice paper on his way to a season that made every coach and analyst in the country stand up and take notice.
He finished his Cornhusker career with 215 TKL, 57 TFL, 24 SCK, 3 FF, 1 FR, 6 BK, 4 INT and 38 QBH.
If that stat line isn’t enough to impress, perhaps the wheelbarrow that Suh needed as he walked the award circuit would be.
Short of winning the Heisman and handing out participant trophies, Suh swiftly became the most decorated defensive players in college football history and easily the most in Nebraska history.
He was named a unanimous First-Team All-American (1 of 12).
Besides, how bad can a guy who donates $2.6 million to his alma mater before being drafted be?
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