#84 Danny Noonan


The scholarship offer from Nebraska came late in November 1982.

Danny Noonan was finishing a senior season that would earn him All-Nebraska honors as he helped Lincoln Northeast reach the state championship game.

Still, why would the Huskers waste time on an undersized middle guard?

"I don't know," Noonan said. "They must have thought I had a little football sense. I'm glad they saw it."

Coach Tom Osborne later admitted to Noonan that he was just about the last player to survive the cut on Nebraska's recruiting board that season. Not only was Nebraska his only offer, but Noonan didn't even get the chance to visit another Division I campus.

Osborne and Noonan are glad he ended up with the Huskers.

Noonan played all five games for the Nebraska freshman team in 1983 before suiting up with the varsity squad for the rest of the season, a rare feat at the time for a true freshman.

Noonan put on weight during his time with the Huskers, reaching 280 pounds as a senior, and from 1984 to 1986, he helped anchor NU's defensive line. During his junior season, he posted 47 tackles, second best among defensive linemen.

His senior year was a breakout season as he earned first-team All-America honors and was named the Big Eight athlete of the year. His 12 sacks that season are tied for third in school history, and his 24 career sacks are tied for fourth.

"I was always undersized and my forte was being quick and trying to have that first explosive step," Noonan said on "The Bottom Line" in 2015.

After going to the Dallas Cowboys as the 12th overall pick in the 1987 draft, Noonan played six seasons in the NFL. His best with the Cowboys came in 1988, when he posted 7 1/2 sacks and returned an interception for a touchdown while starting all 16 games.

Noonan played for Green Bay in 1992 before retiring in 1993 shortly after signing with the Broncos.

While his high school career didn't garner much attention from college coaches at the time, Noonan was inducted into the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.

Quick facts about Noonan

Played for: Lincoln Northeast High, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers

Best athlete from Nebraska played with or against: Dave Rimington. Noonan did not face the former Omaha South star until the NFL.

Best moment as an athlete: Making all-city as a junior in high school. "It's the first time where I knew I really could make it in football," he said.

At Nebraska: 126 total tackles, 24 sacks

NFL: 15 sacks

Nebraska 100: 2005 edition

Noonan was No. 80 in the inaugural Nebraska 100 list in 2005. See more about the 2005 list »