Even after Scott Frost helped Tom Osborne win his third and final national championship in 1997, Nebraska's hall of fame coach couldn't help thinking of Frost as the quarterback who got away.
Frost, you might recall, began his college career at Stanford, and Osborne wondered years later what could've been had Frost joined the Huskers right out of Wood River High School.
"He just fit our system so well," Osborne said. "He had a very good first year and a great second year for us. Had we had him for his full career, I think he would have been able to play at a really superb level for two or even three years."
But Frost — a Parade All-American in football and a state champion shot-putter in track at Wood River — chose to play for Bill Walsh at Stanford rather than wait in line to play quarterback at Nebraska, which already had Tommie Frazier and Brook Berringer. Frost played two years for Stanford before transferring to NU.
He wasn't an immediate hit with Husker fans, absorbing criticism after a 19-0 loss to Arizona State ended a 26-game winning streak. Even early in his senior year, some fans clamored for backup Frankie London.
But Frost started to win them over by leading the Huskers past second-ranked Washington in Seattle. That sent them on the way to a 13-0 season that ended in a 42-17 dismantling of Peyton Manning’s Tennessee Volunteers in the Orange Bowl.
Frost's finest moment in fans' eyes may have come after the game, when on national television he made an impassioned plea for coaches to vote Nebraska No. 1. They did.
Frost became the first NU quarterback to accumulate more than 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 passing yards in the same season. He's the only native Nebraskan ever to quarterback the Huskers to a national title.
"Like everybody who grew up in Nebraska, I bled Husker Red when I was growing up," Frost said. "(That championship) is special to me."
Frost played safety and special teams for several teams over a seven-year NFL career before getting into coaching.
He earned induction into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 2015. By then, he’d become offensive coordinator at powerful Oregon — and so popular among Husker fans that many wanted him to become Nebraska’s head coach.
Played for: Wood River High, Stanford Cardinal, Nebraska Cornhuskers, New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Best athlete from Nebraska played with or against: Ahman Green, the Omaha Central running back who played with Frost at NU and went on to star with the Green Bay Packers. "His physical ability and raw talent are so impressive," Frost said of Green.
Best moment as an athlete: Winning a share of the 1997 national championship at Nebraska. "There were a lot of highs and a lot of lows," Frost said, "but that had to be the high point."
At Nebraska: 1,533 rushing yards, 28 touchdowns, 2,677 passing yards, 18 TDs
Frost was No. 65 in the inaugural Nebraska 100 list in 2005. See more about the 2005 list »