From 1978 to 1980, Derrie Nelson helped the Huskers terrorize opposing offenses.
The defensive end from Fairmont, Neb., left NU with 145 total tackles, including 30 for loss, and recovered seven fumbles in his career. He won first-team All-American honors in 1980 after being a unanimous selection to the All-Big Eight team and being named the Big Eight defensive player of the year. The former walk-on played under scholarship his final three seasons at Nebraska.
A fourth-round draft pick (No. 108 overall) by the Cowboys in 1981, Nelson — moved to linebacker — couldn’t find the field in Dallas or later in Cleveland. He then signed a free agent contract with San Diego and, after sitting out a year with an injury, went on to play four seasons with the Chargers (1983-1986) and was twice named San Diego’s special teams player of the year.
In 1983, Nelson returned a blocked punt 21 yards for a touchdown to help the Chargers earn a 24-23 upset of the Cowboys.
These are the players who built Nebraska football.
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