#42 Glenn Presnell


Upon Glenn Presnell's death at age 99 in September 2004, the Portsmouth (Ohio) Spartan Historical Society was touting him for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The former Nebraska player and coach remains one of the NFL's most underrated stars.

He shared single-wing backfield duties with Hall of Famer Dutch Clark as the Detroit Lions won the 1935 NFL title. The Historical Society quoted Presnell as saying he was coach Potsy Clark’s go-to guy:

"We'd get the lead and Potsy would always turn to me and say, 'Get in there, Glenn, and hold 'em.' "

As a player, Presnell always got the job done.

One of his most memorable moments as a Husker came in 1925 when NU traveled to Illinois and knocked off the Red Grange-led Illini 14-0 in the season opener.

Presnell was a three-year letter winner at halfback for Nebraska, earning All-Missouri Valley Conference honors in 1926 and 1927. As a senior in 1927, he led the nation in total yards.

The two-time All-Pro, who was 5-foot-10 and 190 pounds in his playing days, played halfback, quarterback, safety and kicker in the NFL. Presnell led the league in scoring in 1933 for the Portsmouth Spartans — the forerunners of the Lions.

In 1934, his 54-yard field goal beat Green Bay 3-0. The kick stood as a league record for 19 years. He also was involved in the start of a Lions tradition, playing in the team's first Thanksgiving game on Nov. 29, 1934.

An assistant coach at Kansas and Nebraska, Presnell was the Huskers' head coach during a 3-7 season in 1942.

Presnell served in the Navy in World War II, then spent 28 years in various roles with Eastern Kentucky University, serving as football coach, men's golf coach and athletic director before retiring in 1974. Presnell was inducted into the Eastern Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame in 2014.

He was inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 1973.

Quick facts about Presnell

Played for: DeWitt High, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Portsmouth (Ohio) Spartans and Detroit Lions

Best athlete from Nebraska played with or against: Probably Ed Weir, the Husker tackle who helped lead a 14-0 road win over Red Grange and Illinois in the 1925 season opener

Best moment as an athlete: Starting for the Lions as they defeated the New York Giants 26-7 for the 1935 NFL championship

Nebraska 100: 2005 edition

Presnell was No. 34 in the inaugural Nebraska 100 list in 2005. See more about the 2005 list »