Back before the NFL draft, Heisman Trophy and 95-yard touchdown scamper at Missouri, Eric Crouch was the Babe Ruth of midget football.
As a 10-year-old, Crouch confidently walked into the huddle on a fall afternoon and guaranteed his teammates that he would score a touchdown on the next play. Seventy-five yards and six points later, Crouch’s legend was born.
From there, he starred at Millard North, where he started his second varsity game — a 38-3 win over Omaha Westside — with a broken rib sustained earlier in the season returning kicks. He did not tell the Mustangs' coaching staff.
"That was just me," Crouch said. "I didn’t like to show anybody that I was hurt."
Crouch averaged 228.8 yards of total offense per game in 1995 as a junior and put up 3,237 rushing yards and 1,328 passing yards during his final two seasons at Millard North.
At the state track meet in 1997, he ran a 10.4 in the 100 meters.
He went on to Nebraska, where he caught one of the most famous passes in school history — a 63-yarder from Mike Stuntz against Oklahoma — and left holding 19 school records and the program’s third Heisman Trophy. The year he won the Heisman (2001), he also won the Davey O’Brien Award, presented annually to the best collegiate quarterback.
Crouch finished his NU career as one of three quarterbacks in Division 1-A history to rush for 3,000 yards and pass for 4,000. He’s the Huskers’ career total offense leader (7,915 yards) and career total offense touchdown leader (88) and holds NU records for rushing yards by a quarterback (3,434) and career rushing touchdowns by a quarterback (59).
Professionally, Crouch was drafted by the NFL’s St. Louis Rams and later signed with the Kansas City Chiefs. After that, he played for the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts.
Today, Crouch is a vendor of playground and recreation equipment at Crouch Recreation in Omaha. He also has worked as a television analyst for college football games.
He is a member of these Halls of Fame — Nebraska Football, Omaha Sports, Nebraska High School Sports and Millard Public Schools.
Played for: Millard North High, Nebraska Cornhuskers and Hamburg Sea Devils
Best athlete from Nebraska played with or against: John Gibson from Papillion-La Vista
Best moment as an athlete: Being drafted in the NFL and winning the Heisman Trophy
Early sign of greatness: When he was 10 years old, he scored on a 75-yard touchdown run in a junior league game.
At Nebraska: 3,434 rushing yards, 59 touchdowns, 4,481 passing yards, 29 touchdowns
» 2001: On Dec. 8, Eric Crouch won the Heisman Trophy, the third Husker to win the award.
Crouch was No. 42 in the inaugural Nebraska 100 list in 2005. See more about the 2005 list »