Nebraska Football: The (Premature) End of Three Eras


When Nebraska football began its 2016 season, it was widely known that three players would have a major impact on how far the team would go. Now, it appears that all of them have played their last game before the season is even entirely over.

Tommy Armstrong Jr., Jordan Westerkamp, and Nathan Gerry have all left a major imprint on Nebraska football over the last several years. In the pantheon of Husker highlights, these players have more than made their mark.

During the fourth quarter of Nebraska’s 24-17 victory over Minnesota on November 12th, Armstrong rushed for a 13-yard touchdown which saw him flip head over heels into the end zone. When he was getting back to his feet, he could clearly be seen holding his hamstring. He would miss the following week’s game against Maryland before returning for Nebraska’s Black Friday matchup against Iowa.

When you look at the record book for Nebraska quarterbacks, Armstrong’s name is scribbled all over the place. He currently holds the records for career passing yards (8,871 yards), career pass completions (625), career passing touchdowns (67) and total career offense (10,690 yards).

He is also tied for the most career wins at his position (30). While he does not have any division titles to his name, he clearly has been a key cog in the Nebraska football machine during his tenure.

During the practices leading up to this year’s Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, word came out that wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp had suffered a season-ending injury. On December 15th, Westerkamp suffered a non-contact injury to his meniscus. One of the most sure-handed receivers in Nebraska history, he would not get one last game in a Husker uniform, either.

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports
Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports /

While Westerkamp’s name may not appear throughout the Big Red record book like Armstrong’s does, he has left his legacy in a much different way. If you were to look at his highlight reel as a Husker, there is no doubt that his impact has been felt.

Think of the Hail Mary touchdown reception versus Northwestern in 2013 or the behind-the-back catch against Florida Atlantic in 2014.

If a football was thrown in his direction, chances were that he was going to catch it which quickly made him a fan favorite.

Senior safety Nathan Gerry was the final player to fall.

On December 22nd, Nebraska head coach Mike Riley announced that Gerry was declared ineligible for the bowl game due to a violation of team rules. It was later announced by No. 25 himself that he had not met academic standards.

Gerry has been a somewhat literal impact player due to his tendency to lay out an opponent with a big hit. Although officials were quick to flag him when he made those hits, many people saw that his hits were clean. Gerry’s 13 career interceptions put him one short of the career mark held by Dana Stephenson.

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Nebraska has a very long history of playmakers at the positions that this trio put in time at, but there is no question that they will be remembered for their efforts.

What could have happened had these players taken part in Nebraska’s bowl game Friday will never be known, but what is known is that they’ll never be forgotten by those that cheered them on.