Mount Rushmore Nebraska: Safety
Over the past few weeks, HuskerOnline.com has introduced a new feature called "Mount Rushmore Nebraska."
Similar to the legendary Mount Rushmore monument in South Dakota, HOL will recognize the "four faces" for each position in Husker program history. These are the four players Nebraska would choose to put on a monument for each position.
As you can imagine, narrowing it down to four players at each position is not an easy task. We also wanted to make sure that all eras in the program's history were included in this, so you will see players from as early as the 1920's included in our Mount Rushmore lists.
Today we continue the series with HOL's Mount Rushmore for the safety position.
Bret Clark - 1982-1984
Clark was a first-team All-American as a senior after he led the Huskers in interceptions (five), pass breakups (eight) and fumble recoveries (three). When he graduated, he held the school record for unassisted tackles by a defensive back with 101.
Clark played one season for the Tampa Bay Bandits of the USFL before moving on to the NFL, where he started three seasons for the Atlanta Falcons. He intercepted nine passes in that span, but a serious knee injury ended his playing career in 1988.
Mike Minter - 1993-1996
Minter's career statistics are hurt historically by an ACL injury that ended his sophomore season and slowed him for some of his junior campaign, though he still had 53 tackles and two interceptions to help NU win the national title in 1995. Fully healthy his senior year, Minter showed what he was capable of, picking off five passes, defending six others and recording 51 tackles en route to earning first-team All-Big 12 honors.
The Carolina Panthers picked Minter in the second round of the 1997 draft. He became a starter six games into his rookie season and stayed there (barring injury) until his retirement in 2006, setting team records for starts (141) and consecutive starts (94). Minter finished his career with 790 tackles, 15 forced fumbles, 15 interceptions and four defensive touchdowns. He's now the head coach at Campbell University.
Mike Brown - 1996-1999
Likely the best tackling safety in school history, Brown led the Huskers in tackles in each of his last three seasons and finished his career with 287, which at the time was the second most in program history. A hard hitter, Brown forced six fumbles in his senior season, when he was named a first-team All-American. He started the final 38 games of his career, not missing a single contest in his final three seasons.
The Chicago Bears selected Brown in the second round of the 2000 draft, and he played in every game in his first four years. But he was then ravaged by a series of injuries, missing a combined 43 games over the next four seasons. Brown finished his career in 2009 with 616 tackles and 20 interceptions.
Josh Bullocks - 2002-2004
Bullocks had one of the best seasons for an NU defensive back in 2003, hauling in a nation-leading and school record 10 interceptions to help him earn first-team All-American honors. Though he only had two picks in 2004, Bullocks displayed a more physical side to his game, ranking third on the team with 63 tackles. Bullocks left Nebraska after his junior year with 13 career interceptions, just one shy of the school record.
A second-round pick of the New Orleans Saints, He played 90 games in six seasons, starting 53, finishing with 235 tackles and six interceptions.
Just missed the cut
Larry Wachholtz - 1964-1966: Likely the most versatile player on this list, Wachholtz kicked extra points and field goals and returned punts in addition to playing safety. But it was his defensive play that earned him first-team All-American honors in 1966, when he intercepted seven passes and broke up eight others.
Wonder Monds - 1973-1975: Monds was a first-team All-American in 1975 and finished his NU career with 80 tackles, four pass breakups and two interceptions. A fourth-round pick, he played one season in the NFL and three in the CFL, where he helped the Ottawa Rough Riders win the 1976 Grey Cup.
Dave Butterfield - 1974-1976: Butterfield teamed with Monds to form a devastating duo in 1975 before truly coming into his own in 1976. Butterfield led the Huskers with four interceptions and six pass breakups and took home first-team All-American honors.
Larry Asante - 2007-2009: Nicknamed "The Assassin", Asante was best known for his hard-hitting style. A starter for all but three of his 39 career games in Lincoln, Asante finished his career with 224 tackles, the third-most by a defensive back in Nebraska history. He was drafted in 2010 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the fifth round.