Is Taylor Martinez an all-time great?
Taylor Martinez (Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports)
Taylor Martinez (Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports)
Publisher
Posted Jan 18, 2014


Taylor Martinez might be leaving Nebraska with more than 20 school records, but where does he rank with the all-time greats at his position? BRR examines the top Huskers quarterbacks of all-time.

LINCOLN, Neb. - He never won a BCS National Championship. He never won a Big Ten Conference Title. He actually never even won a bowl game. Despite all of this, Nebraska departing senior quarterback Taylor Martinez has to be considered one of the best ever to wear the N on his jersey.

Martinez leaves Nebraska arguably the greatest statistical quarterback to ever play in Lincoln. He holds the Nebraska record for career total offense, career passing yards, career completions, career touchdown passes, and is in the top ten in rushing yards regardless the position. All of this happened with him missing 70 percent of his senior season.

Martinez might have critics, but it’s hard to argue numbers.

Nebraska has seen its fair share of talent at the quarterback position in the last 60 years. The position has featured a Heisman Trophy winner, All-Americans, Davey O’Brien and Walter Camp award winners, and numerous all-conference talents.

At many BCS schools, Martinez would easily be the best quarterback to come through the program. It’s not the case at Nebraska.

Two years ago Big Red Report released our top ten players at each position in Nebraska football history. We compiled the list multiple ways, including talking to many former Huskers. We have decided it’s time to update our list. Where does Martinez rank on the list?


#1 Tommie Frazier


Tommie Frazier
(Getty Images)

(1992-95)
6-foot-2 / 205 pounds
Bradenton, FL

The first four-year starter at quarterback in NU history, Frazier helped transform the Nebraska football program into a national powerhouse in the 1990s. Displaying a physical and mental toughness, Frazier led the Huskers to three-straight National Championship game appearances, winning two in 1994 and ‘95. Frazier was a Consensus First-Team All-American as a senior and finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting.



#2 Turner Gill


Turner Gill
(NU Media Relations)

(1981-1983)
6-foot / 190 pounds
Fort Worth, TX

Gill was the model Nebraska quarterback future Husker signal callers looked to become. Possessing a perfect combination of running and throwing ability, Gill guided the Huskers to a 28-2 mark, including a perfect 20-0 record in the Big Eight conference. Even more importantly to Big Red fans, Gill was undefeated against Oklahoma. Both his 1982 and 83 squads finished 12-1, but some considered were the best teams in those two years. Gill finished fourth in the 1983 Heisman Trophy voting.



#3 Eric Crouch


Eric Crouch
(Brian Bahr-Getty Images)

(1998-2001)
6-foot-1 / 200 pounds
Omaha, NE

Crouch is Nebraska’s only quarterback to ever win the Heisman Trophy. The option wizard ended his NU career holding 32 school records and was only one of three quarterbacks in NCAA history to rush for 3,000 yards and pass for 4,000 in a career. Considered the fastest QB in school history, Crouch was probably the best running threat ever to wear a Husker jersey. In addition of winning the Heisman Trophy in 2001, he also added the Davey O'Brien, Walter Camp, and Big 12 Conference Offensive Player-of-the-Year award.



#4 Jerry Tagge


Jerry Tagge
(NU Media Relations)

(1969-1971)
6-foot-2 / 215 pounds
Green Bay, WI

Tagge rivals Frazier as the only other Husker quarterback to have won two National Championships. That accomplishment alone elevates him into the top 5. But he also won his share of individual honors, being named First-Team All-American and All-Big Eight in 1971. Tagge is ranked fourth on the Nebraska career passing chart with 4,704 yards, and is still in the top 10 of the all-time season passers in NU history.



#5 Steve Taylor


Steve Taylor
(NU Media Relations)

(1985-1988)
6-foot / 205 pounds
Fresno, CA

Taylor was the second coming of Turner Gill. He had the same physical qualities as Gill with his ability to run and throw effectively. A great athlete, Taylor was 31-6 as a starter from 1986 through the 1988 seasons. In his junior year, he was a First-Team All-American, guiding the Huskers to a No. 1 ranking before losing to Oklahoma and with it a chance to go to the Orange Bowl and play for the National Championship. While he did not earn All-American honors his senior year, he did improve in every statistical category.



#6 Taylor Martinez


Taylor Martinez
(Stewart Photography)

(2010-2013)
6-foot-1/ 210 pounds
Corona, CA

An injury riddled senior season left many people wondering what kind of assault Martinez would have done with a healthy year. His list of accomplishments is a long one, holding more than 20 school records. He was also in a position to become only the second NCAA quarterback to throw for 9,000 yards and run for 3,000 before his injury. Martinez was named First-Team All-Big Ten his junior year and was on numerous national award watch lists entering 2013. Martinez’s biggest downfall was his lack of team hardware, but he also didn’t play have as much talent around him as some of the guys higher on the list.



#7 Scott Frost


Scott Frost
(Getty Images)

(1996-1997)
6-foot-3 / 220 pounds
Wood River, NE

A transfer from Stanford, Frost never made First-Team All-Conference or the All-American teams, but he guided Nebraska to its fifth National Championship in school history in 1997. One of the more physical and durable quarterbacks, Frost was the first one in NU history to rush and pass for more than 1,000 yards in a season. In 1997, he was a finalist for the Jonny Unitas award and a semi-finalist for the Davey O'Brien, capturing Second-Teal All-Big 12 honors by the Associated Press.



#8 Dave Humm


Dave Humm
(NU Media Relations)

(1972-1974)
6-foot-2 / 186 pounds
Las Vegas, NV

Humm had the tough task of taking over for Jerry Tagge as the Nebraska starting quarterback and trying to lead the Huskers to an unprecedented third-straight national title in 1972. Even though he didn’t win a National Championship, Humm helped Johnny Rodgers win the Heisman Trophy and set one national record, four Big Eight records and 12 Nebraska records. One of the best passers in NU history, Humm was a First-Team All-American and All-Big Eight performer as a senior. Over his three years as a starter, Humm went 27-7-2.



#9 Dennis Claridge


Dennis Claridge
(Nebraska/Collegiate Images/Getty Images)

(1961-1963)
6-foot-3 / 210 pounds
Robbinsdale, MN

Claridge was a physical, athletic-type of quarterback who helped new coach Bob Devaney lay the foundation of Nebraska football. A First-Team All-Big Eight selection in 1962 and ’63, Claridge guided NU to their first-ever bowl game victory in ’62 and followed that up with another one the next year. In his final season, Claridge helped the Huskers to its first-ever Big Eight title and Orange Bowl win along with the highest ranking in school history, finishing 5th (AP) and 6th (UPI) nationally.



#10 Vince Ferragamo


Vince Ferragamo
(NU Media Relations)

(1975-1976)
6-foot-3 / 208 pounds
Carson, CA

Like Frost, Ferragamo transferred from a PAC-10 school, starting at Nebraska in his only two years of eligibility. Known for more of a passer like his predecessor was (Dave Humm) than a runner, Ferragamo threw for a season record 22 touchdown passes in 1976, which held-up until 2006. In his final season, Ferragamo was a First-Team All-American and the Huskers were tabbed as the preseason No. 1 team. Like Taylor, he was one win away from playing for a National Championship as a junior, but Oklahoma derailed that chance at the end of the season.


Josh Harvey has covered college football and recruiting for Scout.com since 2008. He is now the Publisher of Big Red Report, covering Nebraska athletics.
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