|Sports||Football, Track & Field|
Todd Brown still stands as the best triple jumper in Nebraska high school history.
His drive to play football for the Huskers still stands as one of the best in state history, too.
"Track was something I did to get the football coaches' attention. ... The triple jump was a platform to prove to some people I could compete at the Division I level," Brown told the Kearney Hub. "I enjoyed it; it was a lot of fun. But I’d make the same choices over. I’d still rather play football than triple jump any day."
The 1978 Holdrege High School graduate turned down multiple scholarship offers from other schools, including a football and track package from Iowa State, to walk on with the Nebraska football team.
"My favorite sport was football. It was just a boys sport," he told the Hub. "It's high energy. It’s a little bit scary.
"If you’re not paying attention, you can just get knocked out. There’s something about that scariness and that masculine thing with contact. That’s what attracted me to it."
The 150-pound walk-on became an integral part of the Husker offense. The three-year starter ranked in the top 10 in receptions and yards by the time he left in 1982.
"One thing I noticed about the walk-ons is the people there were just thankful for a chance," Brown told The World-Herald years later. "Part of that stems from why we were there. I wasn’t there just to play college football. I was there to play for the Huskers. There’s a profound difference."
In high school, Brown became the first Nebraskan to clear 50 feet in the triple jump, leaping a state-record 50 feet, 2 1/4 inches. Since Brown did it in May 1978, only one other Nebraskan has broken 50 feet.
After his career at Nebraska, Brown was drafted by the Detroit Lions but elected to play in the Canadian Football League, where he says he earned more money than he would have made in the NFL.
Brown returned to Nebraska after his playing days ended following the 1988 season. He was inducted into the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2005.
His children, twins Micah and Ashley, each won state track and field championships as seniors for Kearney High School in 2004 and earned scholarships to the University of Kansas, where Ashley was a Big 12 champion hurdler and Micah later walked on with the football team.
Played for: Holdrege High, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Montreal Concordes, Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Saskatchewan Roughriders
Best athlete from Nebraska played with or against: Dave Rimington
Best moment as an athlete: Catching Turner Gill's third-and-10 pass for 24 yards on Nebraska's last-minute winning drive for a 6-0 win over Missouri in 1981. Brown also caught a 21-yard pass to the 4-yard line on the drive.
At Nebraska: 23 receptions, 1,092 yards, 12 touchdowns
Brown was No. 75 in the inaugural Nebraska 100 list in 2005. See more about the 2005 list »