by lyle e davis
John Bordogna, Pat Fischer, Dennis Claridge, Jerry Tagge, David Humm, Vince Ferragamo, Turner Gill, Tommy Frazier, Brook Berringer, Scott Frost, Eric Crouch, Sam Keller, Zac Taylor, Joe Ganz . . . what do these names have in common?
They were all star quarterbacks for the
Fame was theirs . . . and, perhaps, a bit of fortune. But fame is fleeting, so are fortunes.
What has happened to these stars of yesteryear?
John Bordogna was the outstanding quarterback for the Huskers from 1952 through 1953. While still playing at
Bordogna was drafted by the Green Bay Packers but was with them for less than a year due to an injury. He had a contract for a whopping $9200 per year. They didn’t have taxi squads then so Bordogna was released, due to his slow healing injury. He returned to
He says in his senior year he played 558 minutes out of a possible 600 minutes.
In 1953 he was named to the All Big 7 team. He weighs 187 lbs today, just two lbs. over his playing weight of 185. . . .
Last year he predicted Bo Pelini would bring team back to stardom because of his teaching ability and his team of coaches.
While nothing in his time at
But Pat Fischer’s entire life turned out to be about defying expectations. In the 1961 NFL draft, he was selected in the 17th round by the St. Louis Cardinals. Fischer was so small, he spent his first practices in shorts and a t-shirt while the team struggled to find equipment. Properly outfitted, Fischer quickly established a reputation for surprising quickness, impeccable instincts at the cornerback position, and administering punishing hits. From 1961–1967, he perfected his craft. He out-thought, out-reacted and out-positioned his nearly always larger and faster opponents, snaring 29 interceptions, and averaging 24.5 yards. as a kick-off returner.
He finished his 17-year career with 56 interceptions, and ranks seventh all-time in Redskins career interceptions with 27 and fourth all-time with 412 career interception return yards. At the time of his retirement, Fischer had played in 213 NFL games, then a record for a cornerback. He was well known for his strong tackling skills despite his diminutive size. Some of Fischer's most memorable defensive match-ups occurred against Philadelphia Eagles receiver Harold Carmichael who stood eleven inches taller than Fischer.
After retiring from the Redskins, Fischer worked as a stockbroker and owned a successful real estate business.
Dennis Claridge: Born August 18, 1941 in Phoenix, Arizona, played from 1961 to 1963 for the Bob Devaney’s Cornhuskers. In 1976 he was inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame. 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
Claridge went on to play as a quarterback for the Green Bay Packers where he was a member of the 1965 NFL Champions playing behind future Hall of Famer, Bart Starr; later, he played for the Atlanta Falcons.
Claridge is now a senior marketing analyst.
Jerry Tagge: Quarterback from 1969 to 1971. As of 2007 Tagge still holds the
He capped a tremendous career with a brilliant senior campaign. Tagge smashed all
Tagge's performance earned the notice of Dan Devine, head coach of the Green Bay Packers. On his recommendation, the Packers selected Tagge in the first round of the 1972 NFL Draft (11th overall). Devine was replaced as head coach by Bart Starr following the 1974 season, who released Tagge.
David Humm: Born April 2, 1952 in Las Vegas, Nevada, he played as a three year starter for the Huskers from 1972 to 74 under head coaches Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne. Humm, a left-hander, was selected by the Raiders in the fifth round of the 1975 NFL Draft, the 128th overall pick. He was primarily a reserve during his professional career. He was in the NFL from 1975-84 with the Raiders, Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Colts and the Los Angeles Raiders.
In 1988, Humm was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at age 36 and lost the use of his legs in 1997. Despite this setback, he has continued as a color commentator for the Oakland Raiders, broadcasting from a studio set up in his home.
Vince Anthony Ferragamo, born April 24, 1954 in Torrance, California, he began his college career as a University of California Golden Bear, but transferred to Nebraska. He was a two-time letterman at Nebraska in 1975 and 1976, the final year of which he earned All-America and All-Conference Honors in the Big 8. He also led the Huskers to a victory against Texas Tech in the Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl.
He played for the Los Angeles Rams (1977-1980 and 1982-1984), Buffalo Bills (1985) and Green Bay Packers (1985-1986). After leading the 9-7 Rams to road victories over the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 1979 NFL Playoffs, Ferragamo started for the Rams in Super Bowl XIV, in which the Rams led after three quarters of play before being overwhelmed by the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-19.
Ferragamo enjoyed his best statistical season in 1980 in which he threw for 30 touchdowns, tied for second most in the NFL. The Rams again made the playoffs, but were defeated by
, 34-13 in an NFC Wild Card Playoff Dallas
He left for Canadian professional football for very big money for that time, $400,000. He did not, however, do well.
On December 26, 1982, Ferragamo threw for 509 yards in a game against the Chicago Bears, at the time the second highest passing mark in league history behind former Ram Norm Van Brocklin. Subsequent to his return, Ferragamo led the Rams back to the NFL playoffs during the 1983 season behind the running of rookie Eric Dickerson. After beating the favored Cowboys in the wild card matchup 24-17, Ferragamo and the Rams were drubbed by the defending Super Bowl champion and Super Bowl-bound Washington Redskins by the score of 51-7.
Ferragamo currently owns a real estate business in southern California-and a private label company, Ferragamo-Migneco Vineyards, featuring fine quality domestic and imported wines. He is also the chairman of the Vince Ferragamo Foundation (www.vffoundation.org) a charitable organization that focuses on raising donations for children's organizations such as the Special Olympics and the Ronald McDonald House.
Turner Gill grew up in
Gill arrived on campus in 1980 and saw limited action in mop-up duty as a freshman, which at the time was still relatively unusual, as freshmen had only been recently allowed under NCAA rules to participate at the varsity level.
During his senior season, Turner would call the signals for one of the most prolific offenses in college football history, averaging 52 points and nearly 400 rushing yards per game. Gill finished fourth in the voting for the 1983 Heisman Trophy which was won by teammate Mike Rozier. The Huskers came within a whisker of a national championship, falling just one point short following a failed two-point conversion attempt in the 1984 Orange Bowl.
Overall, Gill finished with a 28-2 record in his three years as a starter, winning three consecutive outright Big Eight championships with a perfect 20-0 mark in conference play. Despite this, he was unable to lead the Huskers to a national title, falling agonizingly short in each of his three seasons.
Gill bypassed the NFL and instead signed a lucrative contract with the Canadian Football League's Montreal Concordes. In two seasons with the Concordes, Gill had 727 pass attempts with 411 completions for 4,928 yards and 23 touchdowns to 24 interceptions. He also had 826 rushing yards on 173 carries and seven touchdowns. However, during the last game of the 1985 season, he suffered another bad concussion and was advised by doctors to retire from pro football. He was only 23 years old.
Turner Gill is head coach for the Buffalo Bulls and is doing great. He came very close to being named head coach for the Huskers, being nosed out by some guy named Pelini. He is one of seven current African-American head coaches in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision.
Tommy Frazier played for
Frazier led his team to back-to-back consensus national championships in 1994 and 1995, and he remains the only quarterback to have done so since the 1950s. The 1995 Nebraska team is considered to have been one of the most dominant in the history of American college football.[ In a 2006 ESPN.com poll, the results of which aired on SportsCenter, the 1995 Nebraska team was voted the best college team of all time.
In 1999 Frazier was selected by Sports Illustrated as a back-up quarterback in their "NCAA Football All-Century Team." The starting quarterback was Sammy Baugh and the other back-ups were John Lujack, Roger Staubach and Doug Flutie. Frazier was one of six Nebraska Cornhuskers on this 85 man roster; the others being Johnny Rodgers, Rich Glover, Dave Rimington, Dean Steinkuhler and Aaron Taylor.
In 2004, CollegeFootballNews.com named Frazier the #33 player on their list of the Top 100 Greatest College Football Players of All-Time.
Brook Berringer: In 1994, Berringer's junior season, he started seven games as a junior after Tommie Frazier, the heralded first-string quarterback, developed blood clots in his right leg.In his senior season, Berringer returned to his backup role, completing 26 of 51 passes for 252 yards in the 9 games he played. In a controversial and perfect
The Cornhuskers completed the regular season undefeated and won the Big 8 Conference Championship. Once again, the Huskers were pitted against a
Frazier won back the starting spot in the Orange Bowl after a Christmas Eve scrimmage. But Berringer came off the bench in the second quarter, throwing a 19-yard touchdown pass at the end of a 40-yard scoring drive after
Berringer was expected to be selected in the 1996 NFL Draft, but he died in a plane crash just two days before the draft. Berringer, an amateur pilot, was in control of a 1946 Piper Cub over Raymond, Nebraska, when the aircraft went down in an alfalfa field.
Scott Andrew Frost Born January 4, 1975, Frost pla;yed for the Huskers from 1995-1997. He led the
He was drafted in the third round (67th pick) by the New York Jets and played six years in the National Football League as a defensive back with the New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers..
On January 26, 2009, Frost was hired as the wide receivers coach for the University of Oregon. On September 3, 2009, after
Eric Crouch had a brilliant college career at
He was drafted into the NFL but they wanted him to play a position other than QB. Crouch's opportunity to play quarterback at the professional level finally came when he signed with the Toronto Argonauts on February 15, 2006 as a quarterback. On July 22, 2006, Crouch made his regular season CFL debut against the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Regina, Saskatchewan. Coming in at the start of the second half following an injury to the starting quarterback, Crouch sealed the win for
In 2007, Crouch was expected to battle for the starting quarterback position, but eventually faltered due to injury. He began season on the nine-week disabled list. After coming off the nine-week disabled list, Crouch was released by the
Samuel Michael Keller, born September 28, 1984 in Danville, California, played for
Zac Taylor, born May 10, 1983 was the starting quarterback for the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers from 2005 to 2006. He was recruited late in the 2004-2005 off-season by the Huskers, being a described "lucky break" due to the Huskers lack of quarterbacks at the time. He led
In his 2006 opener against Louisiana Tech,
He signed with the National Football League's Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent in 2007.
Joe Ganz: In 2008, Ganz set single-season school records for passing and total yards in his only year as a full-time starter for Nebraska, yet none of the NFL teams selected him in April’s two-day draft.
A week later, Ganz did work out for the Washington Redskins in conjunction with a team mini-camp. But the Redskins elected not to keep Ganz, choosing to hang on to four other quarterbacks, including former
“They said they really liked me,” Ganz said of the
He’s also been told that he’s on several NFL teams’ short lists, an injury away from a getting a phone call. Ganz is still actively pursuing a professional playing career. He has had tryouts with a number of teams, most recently the Buffalo Bills in his second post-draft tryout with an NFL team. “For me, just the opportunity to try to make a team, that’s all I can really ask for,” Ganz said “It’s something that I’d love to do.”
And for some reason, if his football playing career does happen to fizzle away quicker than he’d like, Ganz wouldn’t hesitate to try becoming a coach. That’s not a bad second option, he said.
“I’m just keeping my head up, just working hard and hopefully, something will happen,” Ganz said. “If not, I think I have a pretty good backup plan to go into coaching.”
“It’s not do or die for me as much as it might be for some other guys, but I would love to get an opportunity to play.”