Nebraska’s 2017 recruiting class included four from California. That might be on the high side, according to Coach Mike Riley. But he’d always like to see two or three Californians on the list when letters of intent are signed. Nebraska needs a recruiting presence in California, as it’s always had.
Since Tom Osborne’s first season as head coach in 1973, the Huskers have had at least one scholarship recruit who called California home in all but four classes. Thirty of those classes included two or more Californians, with a high of nine in 2005 – four of those junior college transfers.
Clearly, Nebraska has recruited enough football players from California to put together an all-time Husker team from the “Golden State.”
Steve Taylor gets the nod at quarterback, though a strong case could be made for Vince Ferragamo, who transferred from California and, like Taylor, earned All-America honors. And a similar case could be made for Taylor Martinez, who ranks second all-time in passing yards, touchdown passes and rushing yards by a quarterback. Any of the three would be appropriate.
Lawrence Phillips and “Marvelous” Jarvis Redwine are the running backs, but Roy Helu Jr., Marlon Lucky and Derek Brown deserve serious consideration. Helu ranks fifth in career rushing, with 3,404 yards and 28 touchdowns and holds the Huskers’ single-game rushing record: 307 yards on 28 carries against Missouri in 2010. Lucky had an outstanding junior season, rushing for 1,019 yards and nine touchdowns and catching a school-record 75 passes for 705 yards and three touchdowns. Brown rushed for 1,000 yards and earned first-team All-Big Eight recognition in back-to-back seasons.
Players at other positions not included deserve similar consideration. DeJon Gomes, for example, just missed the cut in the secondary. In any case, California here we come.
WR – Quincy Enunwa, Moreno Valley (2010-11-12-13)
School-record 12 touchdown receptions in 2013, top 10 in career catches
WR – Tim Smith, Chula Vista (1977-78-79)
Three-year starter, captain and All-Big Eight as a senior, also punted
OT – Bob Newton, LaMirada (1969-70)
Juco transfer, consensus All-America tackle on Nebraska’s first national championship team
OT – Dan Vili Waldrop, Wilmington (2000-01-02-03)
Started 39-of-40 games at right tackle 2001-03, two-time All-Big 12 honorable mention
OG – Brenden Stai, Yorba Linda (1991-92-93-94)
Consensus All-America guard on Tom Osborne’s first national championship team
OG – Dick Rupert, Los Angeles (1970-71)
Juco transfer, starter on back-to-back national championship teams, All-Big Eight in 1971
C – Jacob Hickman, Bakersfield (2006-07-08-09)
Moved from guard to center as a junior, 36 consecutive starts, including 27 at center
TE – Sheldon Jackson, Diamond Bar (1995-96-97-98)
First-team All-Big 12, second-team All-American, co-captain as a senior
QB – Steve Taylor, Fresno (1985-86-87-88)
All-American 1987, two-time first-team All-Big Eight, 2,815 yards and 30 TDs passing
RB – Lawrence Phillips, West Corona (1993-94-95)
First-team All-Big Eight, rushing for a Husker sophomore-record 1,722 yards, in 1994
RB – Jarvis Redwine, Inglewood (1979-80)
Oregon State transfer, consensus All-American 1980, career 2,161 yards, 19 TDs rushing
PK – Chris Drennan, Cypress (1987-88-89)
Tied then-school record 55-yard field goal in 1989, 88-of-90 career extra points
DE – Benard Thomas, East Palo Alto (2000-01-03-04)
Two-year starter, 4 sacks, 11 tackles for losses, 15 hurries as a senior
DE – Cameron Meredith, Huntington Beach (2009-10-11-12)
Forty-one consecutive starts over three seasons, 196 career tackles, 13 sacks
DT – Rod Horn, Fresno (1977-78-79)
Three-year starter, two-time first-team All-Big Eight, first-team Academic All-American
DT – Ola Dagunduro, Inglewood (2005-06)
Juco transfer, made two big plays in 2005 Alamo Bowl victory against Michigan
LB – Bob Terrio, Fullerton (1970-71)
Juco transfer, switched from fullback, starter on two national championship teams, All-Big Eight in 1971
LB – Mike Petko, Anaheim (1989-90-91)
Three-year starter at strongside backer, finished with 159 career tackles
LB – Brent Williams, Los Angeles (1978-79-80)
Juco transfer, two-year starter, two-time All-Big Eight honorable mention
CB – Ralph Brown, Hacienda Heights (1996-97-98-99)
Started as true freshman, all 48 career games, three-time All-Big 12, consensus All-American
CB – Michael Booker, Oceanside (1994-95-96)
Two-year starter, 1996 Fiesta Bowl Defensive MVP with 42-yard interception return for TD
S – Damion Stafford, Norco (2011-12)
Juco transfer, two-year starter, 176 career tackles, first-team All-Big 10 in 2012
S – Dion Booker, Oceanside (1998-99-00-01)
Three-year starter, switched from free safety to rover in 2000 Alamo Bowl
P – Scott Livingston, Lakewood (1983-84)
Juco transfer, led conference with 41.2 average, first-team All-Big Eight in 1984
Check out Hail Varsity’s All-Time All-Texas Team here.
Mike is in his 40th year covering Husker athletics, after seven years of community-college teaching. He has written and edited a dozen books, all on Nebraska football except one, a brief history of Husker basketball. He previously wrote for the Lincoln Journal and Star and Huskers Illustrated. He enjoys music, from the Grateful Dead and Jack Johnson to Van Morrison, Bob Wills, Glenn Miller and pretty much anyone else.