Zach Wiegert's opportunity to play football became more available as he got older.
There was a time, though, when Wiegert imagined his future on the basketball court.
"I enjoyed football," he said, "but basketball was always just so much more available to play and practice."
He shot 61 percent from the field as a senior at Fremont Bergan, where he also threw the shot and discus in track. When Nebraska came calling with a football scholarship, Wiegert realized the sport was his best option.
He was right.
The 6-foot-5, 300-pound offensive tackle was a model of consistency. The three-time all-conference pick flattened plenty of defensive players, with an incredible one sack allowed in 46 career games.
As a senior, Wiegert captained the 1994 team that won Nebraska's first national title in 23 years. He was a consensus All-American and the Outland Trophy winner as the nation's best interior lineman — on a Husker team that averaged more than 340 yards per game rushing.
"Nobody thought we could win with that offense," Wiegert said. "They said it was too old and that the game had passed Nebraska by."
Wiegert showed early that he fit in at NU. As a sophomore, he started along the offensive line with senior Will Shields, a future pro football hall of famer.
Shields was an inspiration: "I knew if he could do it, so could I," Wiegert said.
After Wiegert left, the Huskers won two more titles over the next three years. He was voted to the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 1995 and later received more votes than any other offensive player on Nebraska's all-century team.
St. Louis chose him in the second round of the 1995 NFL draft. Wiegert played four seasons each with the Rams, Jacksonville and Houston.
His best moment as an athlete, though, was in college: It was Wiegert's last game at NU — a 24-17, fourth-quarter comeback win over Miami in the Orange Bowl to complete a 13-0 season and give Tom Osborne his first national title as a head coach.
"I played in the (1999) AFC championship game (for Jacksonville, which lost to Tennessee). But until you win the whole thing, it’s just not the same feeling," Wiegert said.
Wiegert is the co-founder and CEO of Tetrad Property Group, an Omaha-based commercial real estate development company.
Played for: Fremont Bergan High, Nebraska Cornhuskers, St. Louis Rams, Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans
Best athlete from Nebraska played with or against: Wiegert remembers Cory Schlesinger as a star wrestler and football player at Columbus High. Wiegert helped pave a path for the fullback to score the decisive two touchdowns in the 1995 Orange Bowl. Schlesinger, like Wiegert, is entering his 11th NFL season.
Best moment as an athlete: No question here, it was Wiegert's last game at NU — a 24-17 fourth-quarter comeback win over Miami in the Orange Bowl to complete a 13-0 season and give Tom Osborne his first national title as a head coach. "I played in the (1999) AFC championship game. But until you win the whole thing, it's just not the same feeling."
Early sign of greatness: As a sophomore at NU in 1992, he started alongside Will Shields, an All-American who was drafted into the NFL. "I knew if he could do it, so could I."
Wiegert was No. 55 in the inaugural Nebraska 100 list in 2005. See more about the 2005 list »