The Top Husker LBs of All-Time

Big Red Report Magazine
Posted Jul 10, 2012


Who made our top Husker linebackers of all-time list? Come inside for the answers.


#1 Trev Alberts


Trev Alberts
(Getty Images)


Outside Linebacker
(1990-1993)
6-4 / 240
Cedar Falls, Iowa

Nebraska’s only Butkus Award Winner, Alberts had one of the finest seasons in Husker history, tying the school record of 15 sacks as a senior. He was named first-team All-American, the Football News National Defensive Player-of-the-Year, the Big Eight Defensive Player-of-the-Year and the Big Eight Male Athlete of the year. Alberts who played outside linebacker but lined up more as a defensive end, also holds the NU record for sacks in a career with 29.5. He was a fifth overall pick in the 1994 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts.



#2 Broderick Thomas


Broderick Thomas
(Getty Images)


Outside Linebacker
(1985-1988)
6-3 / 235
Houston, Texas

The outspoken Thomas never shied away from reporters. But he was able to back up his talk on the field becoming a two-time All-American and a finalist for the Butkus and Lombardi Awards. Also the Big 8 Defensive Player-of-the-Year as a senior, Thomas either led or tied for the team lead in seven defensive categories. His sack potential was stymied somewhat due to the fact NU had him drop back in pass coverage. If he was allowed to pin his ears back and go after the quarterback no telling what kind of sack numbers and tackles for losses he could have had. Thomas was the sixth overall selection of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1989.



#3 Lavonte David


Lavonte David
(USPRESSWIRE)


Linebacker
(2010-2011)
6-1 / 225
Miami, FL

It’s too bad Nebraska only had him for two years. As a junior college transfer from Fort Scott in Kansas, David burst on the scene in his first year, breaking Ruud’s season tackle record of 149 with 152 of his own. He was named first-team All-Big 12 and Defensive Newcomer-of-the-Year. Then as a senior, David became an All-American and won the Butkus-Fitzgerald Big Ten Linebacker of the Year. He had six games in which he had 10 or more tackles and made game-changing plays that helped the Huskers beat Ohio State and Penn State. David was selected in the second-round by the Buccaneers in the 2012 NFL Draft.



#4 Terrell Farley


Terrell Farley
(Getty Images)


Will Linebacker
(1995-1996)
6-1 / 205
Columbus, GA

To come in your first year from junior college and immediately impact a team that just won the national championship the year before means that you are a special player. Farley led the team in 1995 in tackles (62), interceptions (three) and blocked kicks (two), and was second in sacks (five), setting the tone for a hard-hitting, playmaking style of Black Shirt defense that ran over every opponent in its path en route for a second straight national championship. Farley was a second-team All-American, first-team All-Big Eight and Defensive Newcomer-of-the-Year. If he didn’t get suspended in his second season, NU quite possibly would have won their third national championship in a row. That’s how much of an impact he had.



#5 Barrett Ruud


Barrett Rudd
(Getty Images)


Linebacker
(2001-2004)
6-2 / 240
Lincoln, NE

Ruud started 37 out of 50 games and recorded a school-record 432 total tackles in his career. He also set the season-record with 149 total tackles, and was agile enough to excel in pass coverage. Even though Ruud wasn’t a first-team All-American or a finalist for a Butkus, he still made the All-Big 12 team and was the Nebraska Defensive MVP as a senior. Bottom line, Ruud was consistent and productive, two qualities a linebacker must have. He was a second-round pick of the Buccaneers in the 2005 NFL Draft.



#6 Jerry Murtaugh


Jerry Murtaugh
(NU Media Relations)


Linebacker
(1968-1970)
6-3 / 212
Omaha, NE

Murtaugh was the career tackle leader (367) until Ruud knocked him off. A typical tough, hard-nosed linebacker, Murtaugh was an All-Big 8 selection as a junior in 1969 and the 1970 Big 8 Player-of-the-Year and a first-team All-American. He set the bar for a defense that led the conference in both rushing (145 yards per) and scoring (16.1 points per) defense. Behind Murtaugh’s defense, the Huskers won it first-ever National Championship and thus spring-boarded Nebraska into the upper echelon of college football.



#7 Tom Novak


Tom Novak
(NU Media Relations)


Linebacker
(1946-1949)
5-10 / 206
Omaha, NE

Novak was a two-way for the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the late 1940s. He is still NU football’s only four-time all-conference selection, earning All-Big Six and All-Big Seven honors as a fullback and center. But it was at linebacker where he really put the hurt on opponents. His toughness against Notre Dame in 1947, earned him a spot on their all-opponent team and he still has the Nebraska linebacker record for most interceptions in a career with 11and season with five. Novak was the first Husker to have his jersey number (#60) retired and has a Nebraska football team award “Tom Novak Award” named after him.



#8 Ed Stewart


Ed Stewart
(NU Media Relations)


Will Linebacker
(1991-1994)
6-1 / 215
Chicago, IL

Maybe one of the more underappreciated linebackers on this list, Stewart was recruited as a safety by NU. But as Nebraska wanted speedier, athletic linebackers in their defense, Stewart grew into that role. He was a three-year starter at Will linebacker, leading the team as a senior with 96 tackles and 18 quarterback hurries. For his efforts, he was a first-team All-American, first-team All-Big 8 and the Big 8 Defensive Player-of-the-Year. His 1994 defense was ranked in the top 10 nationally in all four defensive categories which helped Nebraska win the national championship.



#9 Marc Munford


Marc Munford
(NU Media Relations)


Linebacker
(1983-87)
6-2 / 230
Littleton, CO

Munford was a classic linebacker who was aggressive, strong and smart. Once he got his hands on you, you weren’t going to break that tackle. He was a three-time All-Big Eight selection as a three-year starter for the Huskers. He led the team in tackles in each of those years (1984-86) and is still listed in the top 10 all-time among the NU career tackle leaders. Munford holds the linebacker record for most pass interceptions in a game with two and ranks third on the career unassisted tackle list with 153. He was a fourth-round draft pick by the Denver Broncos in the 1987 NFL Draft.



#10 Demorrio Williams


Demorrio Williams
(NU Media Relations)


Will Linebacker
(2002-2003)
6-1 / 215
Beckville, TX

Another one of Nebraska’s junior college transfers who made a big impact for the Huskers. Williams led the team with 92 tackles in his first year but it was in his second and final season where he really shined. In one game he had a school-record three sacks, forcing two fumbles. Teaming with Ruud, Williams finished second on the team in tackles with 128 but tallied two Husker season records with 11 sacks and four fumble recoveries. A first-team All-Big 12 pick, Williams should have gained national recognition in his final year. He was a fourth-round pick by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2004 NFL Draft.


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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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