The Top Husker OLs of All-Time
Will Shields (NU Media Relations)
Will Shields (NU Media Relations)
Big Red Report Magazine
Posted May 7, 2012


Big Red Report looks at the top players by position in Nebraska football history. This week we list the top Husker offensive lineman of all-time.


#1 Dave Rimington


Dave Rimington
(NU Media Relations)

Center
(1979-1982)
6-foot / 290 pounds
Omaha, NE

The only player to win the Outland Trophy two years in a row (1981 and 1982). Rimington, a two-time All-American and three-time All-Big Eight selection, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and his No. 50 jersey is retired at Nebraska. He helped lead the Huskers to back-to-back Big Eight titles and helped pave the way for a rushing attack that led the nation in 1982. Besides the Outland, Rimington also won the Lombardi Award as a senior. He was a first-round draft choice of the Cincinnati Bengals in 1983.



#2 Dean Steinkuhler


Dean Steinkuhler
(NU Media Relations)

Guard
(1981-1983)
6-foot-3 / 270 pounds
Burr, NE

Steinkuhler won the Lombardi and Outland Trophy Awards as a senior in 1983. Also a first-team All-American, Steinkuhler anchored an offensive line that which opened holes for Heisman Trophy winner Mike Rozier. At the time, the offense averaged 401.7 yards-per game, and led the nation in scoring, averaging 52.0 points per contest. A member of Sports Illustrated's 85-player All-Century Team, Steinkuhler is one of the highest-drafted Husker offensive linemen ever, when he was selected No. 2 overall to the Houston Oilers.



#3 Will Shields


Will Shields
(NU Media Relations)

Guard
(1989-1992)
6-foot-1 / 305 pounds
Lawton, OK

Shields was the fifth Husker to win the Outland Trophy when he was named the winner of the award as a senior in 1992. He was a main component for an offense that lead the nation in rushing in 1989, 1991 and 1992. Shields became NU’s first scholarship player from the state of Oklahoma, and was only one of six Husker linemen to earn all-conference honors for three straight seasons. He was only the second Husker offensive lineman to play as a true freshman and his No. 75 is retired. A third-round selection by the Kansas City Chiefs, Shields played fourteen seasons, going to the Pro Bowl 12 of those.



#4 Aaron Taylor


Aaron Taylor
(NU Media Relations)

Center/Guard
(1994-1997)
6-foot-1 / 305 pounds
Wichita Falls, TX

Taylor is the only Husker to be named an All-American at two different positions (center in 1996 and guard in 1997). Taylor was part of three national title teams, including the team that led the nation in total offense, rushing and scoring offense in 1997. That year Taylor won the Outland Trophy and was a semifinalist for the Lombardi Award. A member of Sports Illustrated's 85-player All-Century Team, Taylor’s No. 67 is retired at Nebraska. He was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the seventh round of the 1998 NFL Draft.



#5 Zach Wiegert


Zach Wiegert
(NU Media Relations)

Tackle
(1991-1994)
6-foot-5 / 300 pounds
Fremont, NE

Wiegert was part of an offensive line labeled the “Pipeline” that was considered one of the best in Nebraska and college football history. He was a three-year starter at right tackle, earning All-Big Eight honors each year. As a senior in 1994, Wiegert was a consensus All-American and Outland Trophy winner. He finished ninth in the Heisman Trophy balloting and gained one first-place vote for the Heisman for his role in helping NU capture the 1994 national championship. Another Husker lineman to have his number (72) retired, Wiegert was a second-round draft pick by the St. Louis Rams.



#6 Jake Young


Jake Young
(NU Media Relations)

Center
(1986-1989)
6-foot-4 / 270 pounds
Midland, TX

The first true freshman to play on the offensive line at NU. Young started his career at guard before moving to center. A two-time All-American and All-Big Eight, Young was a three year starter at Nebraska and paved the way for rushing titles in his junior and senior years. He became the third Husker center in the Tom Osborne era to be a two-time All-American, joining Rimington, our No. 1 selection. Also one of the best student/athletes in NU history, Young was a GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-American and received Today’s Top Six Award, the organization’s top award for student-athletes.



#7 Bob Brown


Bob Brown
(NU Media Relations)

Guard
(1961-1963)
6-foot-5 / 260 pounds
Cleveland, OH

Bob “Boomer” Brown was an All-American in 1963 who was part of Bob Devaney’s second team which won NU’s first ever Big Eight championship. Brown was the first African-American to earn All-America honors at Nebraska, and the first All-American to play for Devaney and the Huskers. His No. 64 jersey is retired at Nebraska and is in the College Football Hall of Fame. Brown was the No. 2 overall pick by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1964 NFL Draft and went on to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.



#8 Dominic Raiola


Dominic Raiola
(Getty Images)

Center
(1998-2000)
6-foot-2 / 300 pounds
Honolulu, HI

The winner of the first-ever Rimington Award in 2000 (given to the best center in college football), Raiola, a first-team All-American, was the finalist for the Lombardi and Outland Trophies. Raiola who also was a two-time All-Big 12 selection, totaled 145 pancakes (knock-down blocks) breaking his school record of 140 in 1999. He could have garnered more awards in his career at NU and been ranked higher on this list, but elected to bypass his senior year and enter the NFL where he was selected in the second round by the Detroit Lions.



#9 Ed Weir


Ed Weir
(NU Media Relations)

Tackle
(1922-1925)
6-foot / 190 pounds
Superior, NE

Weir, Nebraska’s first two-time All-American and inductee into College Football Hall of Fame, is synonymous with Nebraska football and track and field. His name was dedicated to the Huskers' outdoor track and field stadium in 1974. Legendary Notre Dame head coach Knute Rockne said Weir was the best tackle he had ever seen. That was partly due to the fact Weir and the Huskers defeated Rockne and the legendary “Four Horsemen”.



#10 Toniu Fonoti


Toniu Fonoti
(NU Media Relations)

Guard
(1999-2001)
6-foot-4 / 340 pounds
Hauula, HI

Fonoti became only the third Husker to play on the offensive line as a true freshman, joining Young and Shields on this list. A mountain of a man, Fonoti set the single season and all-time record for pancake blocks at NU. An All-American and All-Big 12 pick as a junior, he was a finalist for the Outland Trophy and semifinalist for the Lombardi Award. Like Raiola, Fonoti could have established himself even more so in Husker lore but left for the NFL a year early and was a second-round pick by the San Diego Chargers.

- Josh Harvey -

Shane Gilster is the Editor of Big Red Report Magazine. His stories focus mainly on catching up with former Huskers and examining Nebraska athletic history.
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