Ruud Joins Family in Nebraska Football Hall of Fame

Posted 2 months ago

By Robert Lovell

UNLThree former all-conference offensive linemen headlined by All-American and 12-year NFL veteran Russ Hochstein join Nebraska’s all-time leading tackler Barrett Ruud in a group of four Huskers being inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 2014.

Hochstein, a two-time first-team All-Big 12 choice as an offensive guard for the Huskers in 1999 and 2000, joins 1971 All-Big Eight offensive tackle Carl Johnson and 1982 All-Big Eight offensive guard Mike Mandelko in this year’s Hall of Fame class.

Hochstein, an All-American for the Big Red in 2000, went on to an impressive 12-year career in the NFL that included a pair of Super Bowl titles with the New England Patriots (2002-08). The Hartington, Neb., native spent three seasons with the Denver Broncos (2009-11) and one with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012.

Hochstein began his NFL career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2001, the same team that launched Ruud’s eight-year career in the league. Ruud, who is now on staff with Coach Bo Pelini’s program, spent his first six NFL seasons with the Buccaneers from 2005 through 2010. He spent 2011 with Tennessee before closing his career in Houston in 2012. In addition to owning a Nebraska record 432 total tackles, the Lincoln native is part of the most extensive family tradition in Husker football, dating back to his great-grandfather Clarence Swanson in 1921. Barrett will join his great-grandfather and his father, Tom, in the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame.

Johnson, who helped Coach Bob Devaney’s Big Red claim national titles in 1970 and 1971, was an All-Big Eight offensive tackle in 1971 before spending the 1972 and 1973 seasons with the New Orleans Saints.

Mandelko was a three-year letterman for Coach Tom Osborne’s Huskers from 1980 to 1982. The Lexington, Neb., native was an All-Big Eight choice as an offensive guard in 1982, helping the Huskers lead the nation with 394.3 rushing yards and 518.6 yards of total offense as a senior.

Nebraska-Kearney All-America quarterback Justin Coleman adds a state college flavor to the 2014 induction class. Coleman, a native of McCook, Neb., was the runner-up for the 2000 Harlon Hill Trophy and finished sixth nationally for NCAA Division II’s equivalent of the Heisman Trophy in 1999.

The Nebraska Football Hall of Fame also will honor legendary Husker Coach and Athletic Director Tom Osborne with its President’s Award in 2014. The Hall also will recognize Kim and Jill Wolfe of Columbus with its Clarence E. Swanson Meritorious Service Award. Dan and Lisa Koch of Elkhorn will be honored with the Lyell Bremser Special Merit Award.

More information on the special merit award winners will be provided at a later date.

The Nebraska Football Hall of Fame is sponsored by the Nebraska Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame. The College Football Hall of Fame opened in South Bend, Ind., in 1995, and is scheduled to open its new headquarters in Atlanta this year.

In order to make the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame ballot, players must have been either an All-American or first-team all-conference selection during their careers. They become eligible for the ballot after a 10-year waiting period from the end of their collegiate careers. Major national award winners earn automatic induction. Active NFL players are not on the ballot. Hochstein and Ruud earned induction in their first appearances on the ballot.

This year’s Nebraska Football Hall of Fame class will celebrate with an induction dinner on the University of Nebraska campus on Friday, Sept. 5. The class will be introduced prior to Nebraska’s football game with McNeese State at Memorial  Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 6.

Nebraska Football Hall of Fame Inductees (2014) 
Carl Johnson, OT, Phoenix, Ariz. (1970-71)
An offensive tackle for Hall of Fame Coach Bob Devaney’s 1970 and 1971 Huskers, Carl Johnson earned first-team All-Big Eight honors in 1971. The 6-4, 245-pounder from Phoenix, Ariz., earned all-conference honors in his only year as a starter for the 1971 Big Red, after serving as an outstanding reserve lineman as a junior transfer for the 1970 national champs. Johnson, who spent two seasons at Nebraska after transferring from Phoenix Junior College, helped the Huskers rank third nationally in scoring offense (37.2 ppg) and 11th in total offense (421.3 ypg) as a junior. As a senior for the unbeaten Huskers, Johnson helped NU rank third nationally in scoring (39.1 ppg) while ranking eighth in total offense (437.7 ypg).

The graduate of South Mountain High School played in the All-America Bowl following his senior season before being chosen in the fifth round of the 1972 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. He spent two NFL seasons with the Saints before closing his professional career with Portland in the WFL in 1974.

Mike Mandelko, OG, Lexington, Neb. (1980-82)
An All-Big Eight offensive guard for Coach Tom Osborne’s Huskers in 1982, Mike Mandelko helped Nebraska to an NCAA rushing title as a senior. With Mandelko as a senior leader on the line, the Huskers rolled up 394.3 yards per game on the ground, while also leading the nation with 518.6 yards per game in total offense. The 6-2, 255-pound native of Lexington, Neb., paved the way for quarterback Turner Gill, I-backs Roger Craig and Mike Rozier and wingback Irving Fryar at the skill positions, as the Huskers averaged a nation-leading 41.1 points per game. Mandelko was NU’s left guard, opposite right guard Dean Steinkuhler, while playing next to Outland Trophy-winning center Dave Rimington. A second-team All-Big Eight choice in his first year as a starter for the Huskers as a junior in 1981, Mandelko helped NU rank No. 2 nationally with 330.5 rushing yards per game, while leading the Big Eight with 437.5 yards per contest in total offense.

Russ Hochstein, OG, Hartington, Neb. (1997-2000)
A three-year starter for Coach Frank Solich at Nebraska, Russ Hochstein was a first-team All-American by The Sporting News in 2000 and a two-time first-team All-Big 12 selection in 1999 and 2000. The 6-4, 290-pound offensive guard from Hartington, Neb., helped the Huskers claim the 2000 NCAA rushing title by averaging nearly 350 yards per game on the ground.

A team co-captain in 2000, Hochstein was also chosen as the winner of the Cletus Fischer Native Son Award before being selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the fifth round of the 2001 NFL Draft (151st overall pick).

Hochstein went on to one of the longest and most successful NFL careers of any Husker in history. The Cedar Catholic High School graduate spent 12 seasons with the Buccaneers, Patriots, Broncos and Chiefs. He won back-to-back Super Bowls  with the Patriots in 2003 and 2004. In his 12-year career he played in 149 NFL games with 37 starts.

As a Husker, Hochstein started the final 29 games of his career, including every game of the 1999 and 2000 seasons. In Nebraska’s memorable 27-24 overtime win over Notre Dame, Hochstein was credited with a school-record tying 23 pancakes (knock-down blocks).

Barrett Ruud, LB, Lincoln, Neb. (2001-04)
Nebraska’s career leader with 432 total tackles, middle linebacker Barrett Ruud joins the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame after a successful eight-year career in the NFL. Ruud, who was a second-round pick in the 2005 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (36th overall pick), spent six seasons as one of Tampa’s top tacklers before spending the 2011 season with the Tennessee Titans and 2012 with the New Orleans Saints and Houston Texans. Ruud recorded 658 tackles in the NFL, including six sacks while adding seven career interceptions and six fumbles forced.

He produced four consecutive 100-tackle seasons from 2007 through 2010, when he started 63 games for the Buccaneers. He played in 113 career games with 78 starts.

Before heading to the NFL, the 6-2, 240-pounder was a third-team AP All-America linebacker for the Big Red in 2004, after claiming first-team All-Big 12 honors. A team captain and Nebraska’s Defensive MVP in 2004, he participated in the Senior Bowl in 2005.

A four-year letterman (2001-04) and a three-year starter, Ruud appeared in 50 games with 37 starts in his Husker career. His 432 total tackles included a school-record 218 unassisted stops. He notched 50 tackles for loss, including eight sacks. He also had 29 quarterback hurries and 12 pass breakups. In 2003, playing in his only season under then-Husker Defensive Coordinator Bo Pelini, Ruud scored touchdowns on a 27-yard interception return against Texas A&M and a 15-yard fumble return against Oklahoma State. He also produced a then-school-record 149 tackles as a junior for the Big Red in 2003.

A Lincoln Southeast High School graduate, Ruud helped lead the Knights to a 48-2 record and 1997, 1998 and 2000 Class A state championships. He joins his great-grandfather Clarence Swanson (1919-22, inducted 1974) and his father Tom Ruud (1972-74, inducted 1997) in the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame.

Hall of Famer from the State College Ranks
Justin Coleman (Nebraska-Kearney, 1997-2000)
The most prolific passing quarterback in the history of Nebraska-Kearney football, Justin Coleman joins the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 2014. Coleman, a four-year star for the Lopers from 1997 through 2000, was the runner-up for the 2000 Harlon Hill Trophy after closing his career with a school and then-NCAA Division II-record 11,213 passing yards. He completed a school-record 706 passes in a school-record 1,193 attempts for a 59.2 completion percentage. As a senior, he was one of 23 finalists for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. A four-time All-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference selection, Coleman had his No. 5 jersey retired by UNK in 2003. He was just the second Loper football player in history to receive that honor.

As a freshman in 1997, Coleman threw for a then-school record 2,804 yards. He broke his own record as a junior with 3,167 yards in 1999. He added 2,645 passing yards as a senior and 2,597 as a sophomore to own four of the top eight passing seasons in UNK history.

His prolific yardage totals included a school single-game record 483 yards against Wayne State on Sept. 4, 1999, when he also set the school record with six touchdown passes. He added six more TD strikes against Fort Lewis exactly one month later. He added five other 400-yard passing games in his career to own six of the top-11 single-game marks in the UNK record book.

Coleman, who finished sixth in voting for the Harlon Hill Trophy as a junior in 1999, added a school-record 99 career touchdown passes while throwing for a school-record 273.49 yards per game in his outstanding career.

President’s Award
Tom Osborne (Nebraska)
College Football Hall of Fame Head Coach Tom Osborne will be honored as just the third President’s Award recipient in the history of the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame, joining Dan Kelley and Clifford Hardin.

Osborne, who was inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1998, led Nebraska to three national championships (1994, 1995, 1997), 13 conference championships and 25 consecutive bowl games, including 17 major bowls in his 25 seasons as the Husker head coach. His teams won nine or more games every season and captured 11 national rushing titles.

The hand-picked successor of Hall of Fame Coach and Athletic Director Bob Devaney, Osborne was the offensive mastermind behind NU’s back-to-back national championship teams under Devaney in 1970 and 1971.

Osborne capped his coaching career with a 60-3 mark over his final season. He finished with a 255-49-3 career record from 1973 to 1997. His student-athletes won six Outlands, three Lombardis, one Heisman, one Butkus and one Johnny Unitas Award. They also captured 55 first-team All-America awards and 67 CoSIDA Academic All-America honors.

After serving the state of Nebraska in the U.S. Congress from 2000 to 2006, Osborne became the University of Nebraska’s 13th Athletic Director on Oct. 16, 2007. He led the Husker athletic department until his retirement on Jan. 2, 2013.

Osborne and his wife, Nancy, have three adult children, Mike, Ann and Suzanne, and four grandchildren. The Osborne family continues to pour time and support into the TeamMates mentoring program, which they founded in 1991. The program provides encouragement to school-aged youth to help them graduate from high school and pursue post-secondary education.

The President’s Award is one of the most prestigious awards given by the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame. It is presented by the Executive Committee to deserving individuals for outstanding leadership and service to the University of Nebraska, the Nebraska Athletic Department and the Husker Football Program.

Clarence E. Swanson Meritorious Service Award
Kim and Jill Wolfe (Columbus)
Inaugurated by the Nebraska Chapter in 1972, the Clarence E. Swanson Meritorious Service Award is given annually to honor a person or family “for outstanding contributions to the University of Nebraska and the Husker Athletic Department through personal service, personal support of athletic department programs and dedication to the Husker football program and intercollegiate athletics.”

Lyell Bremser Special Merit Award
Dan and Lisa Koch (Elkhorn)
Inaugurated by the Nebraska Chapter in 1974, the Lyell Bremser Special Merit Award was created to honor a person “with a background of interest in and support of intercollegiate football, who has made a sizeable contribution to society through public service and/or self-sacrifice.”