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Greatest NE fullback.

Huskerthom

All Big 10
5 Year Member
I pretty much agree with you. The real sad question, one with no answer, is how Franklin would have done in the NFL had his career not been cut short by his ankle injury. Would he have had as strong an NFL career as Rathman? I would think so. Plus he'd have been playing with a very strong HOF QB, too. Both were threats as runners and receivers. Rathman being quite a bit taller, IIRC.

I have always cringed when I hear of "broken ankles" it seems like I have only heard of players coming back from those in the past couple of years.
I agree with you. His rookie season Franklin was I believe he was the 3rd leading rusher in the NFL
 

KleinTxHusker

All Legend
15 Year Member
Rathman: 1425 yards, 12 TDs (70 yards / 1 TD Receiving)
Joel Makovicka: 1143 yards, 11 TDs (127 yards / 1 TD Receiving)
Jeff Makovicka: 902 yards, 6 TD (19 yards / 0 TD Receiving)
Schlesinger: 706 yards, 6 TDs (no Receptions at NU)
Franklin: 1,787 yards, 10 TD on 339 carries; (35 yards / 0 TD on 6 receptions). Three year starter. No redshirt year played back up on varsity as a true freshman. Oh, and we had Hipp, Berns and Redwine as feature I-Backs in those years as TO was just getting a hold of this option thingy... with Sorely, Hager and Quinn as QBs.
 
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KleinTxHusker

All Legend
15 Year Member
I agree with you. His rookie season Franklin was I believe he was the 3rd leading rusher in the NFL
Here are Franklin's NFL stats:

YearAgeTmPosNo.GGSRushYdsTDLngY/AY/GA/GRecYdsY/RTDLngR/GY/GTouchY/TchYScmRRTDFmbAV
198122MIAFB3716112017117293.544.412.6362.0130.20.42043.5717854
1982*23MIAFB37991777017254.077.919.7393.0060.31.01803.97107310
198324MIAFB3715122247468183.349.714.92243.3746864
198425MIA372220740123.737.010.0203.774001
Career4234622223222293.653.114.86152.5160.10.46283.62247231419

Note he had almost as many yards rushing in what amounts to 2.5 seasons and Rathman had in a much longer career. Franklin made Pro Bowl in 1982 which was only a nine game season due to the strike. He only played two games in his last year. Also these stats do not include playoffs (and yes, Rathman's as posted likely do not either)

��

Games
RushingReceivingTotal Yds
YearAgeTmPosGGSRushYdsTDLngY/AY/GA/GRecYdsY/RTDLngR/GY/GTouchY/TchYScmRRTDFmb
198122MIAFB1196030.76.09.090.7601
1982*23MIAFB43783012123.975.319.5783.930124
198324MIAFB11628094.728.06.064.72800
Career65933352123.655.815.5933.63352


Rathman played nine years. He did not become a full time starter until his third season (or middle of second); I think he was backing up Craig until they moved Craig to I-Back (appropriate term for the SF West Coast Offense). Craig had been starting FB the first few years of his career when the aging Wendell Tyler was the I-back.

I would point out that I believe Franklin shared a lot of carries with Tony Nathan (also) out of Alabama but who stayed home and played for the Tide. Nathan had a nine year career including pro-bowl as a rookie in 1979 and had over 3,500 career rushing yards. So Franklin was also sharing carries.

Rathman had similar playoff stats despite many more years. Although what really set Rathman apart was his receiving yards which are almost as great as his rushing yards.


��

Games
RushingReceivingTotal Yds
YearAgeTmPosNo.GGSRushYdsTD1DLngY/AY/GA/GTgtRecYdsY/RTD1DLngR/GY/GCtch%Y/TgtTouchY/TchYScmRRTDFmbAV
198624SFO44161331381294.28.62.1131219.30140.87.6465.6259102
198725SFOFB44127622571354.121.45.23032911.03292.527.4926.4586417
198826SFOFB4416161024272264.226.76.4423829.10242.623.91445.6809207
198927SFOFB441616793051133.919.14.9736168.41364.638.51526.19212110
199028SFOFB4416161013187223.119.96.3483276.80283.020.41494.3645725
199129SFOFB441616631836162.911.43.9342868.40322.117.9974.8469625
199230SFOFB441515571945173.412.93.855443437.84272.922.980.0%6.21015.3537916
199331SFO448419803194.210.02.41410868.60171.310.871.4%6.1295.7166302
199432RAIFB4416162811806144.27.41.841261947.506181.612.163.4%4.7545.8312002
Career1311075442020266353.715.44.211032026848.486362.420.572.7%5.78645.4470434746


YearAgeTmPosGGSRushYdsTD1DLngY/AY/GA/GTgtRecYdsY/RTD1DLngR/GY/GCtch%Y/TgtTouchY/TchYScmRRTDFmb
198624SFO10380052.78.03.032.7800
198725SFO10112001212.012.01.02189.000132.018.0310.03001
198826SFOFB31188810224.929.36.088710.900222.729.087.0266.717510
198927SFOFB332812520184.541.79.3131209.200184.340.030.0416.024520
199028SFOFB225101062.05.02.54164.000122.08.092.92610
199230SFOFB2252800125.614.02.598637.900124.031.588.9%7.0137.09100
199331SFORB224160064.08.02.033237.71091.511.5100.0%7.775.63910
Career14106428740224.520.54.617383278.610222.723.472.7%5.7102
 
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Schlesinger gets a bit of recency bias. Well, not really all that recent, but maybe "memorable" bias. The guy busted a couple of critical TD runs against Miami for Osborne's first national title and those FB trap plays are pretty legendary in Husker fans' minds. Hard to look at just the stat lines and compare them based on production alone. I also remember Schlesinger rattling off some impressive runs against Colorado, if memory serves. He was a bull charging out of a gate and I remember him being the guy who broke facemasks and caused bloody noses - both his own and for would-be tacklers. He obviously also had a great career for the Lions.

However, here are their career numbers. Schlesinger is literally the least productive of the bunch.

Rathman: 1425 yards, 12 TDs (70 yards / 1 TD Receiving)
Joel Makovicka: 1143 yards, 11 TDs (127 yards / 1 TD Receiving)
Jeff Makovicka: 902 yards, 6 TD (19 yards / 0 TD Receiving)
Schlesinger: 706 yards, 6 TDs (no Receptions at NU)
Not a bad option in that group, but for fullback, the metric for me isn't strictly who did the most with the ball.

Overwhelmingly, what the traditional FB does for 95%+ of the game is to put the fear of God into linebackers, get some tough inches against the opponent's large personnel groups, and be ready to take advantage of the defense overcommitting to the feature back after being hammered on for drive after drive.

The way Cory carved out a path through defense after defense for the I-backs behind him, then took advantage of his moments when given the opportunity, I'd pretty much set him as the prototype for what makes a perfect fullback.
 

Frosty1980

Go Big Red!
2 Year Member
So watching old games got me to thinking. The choice to me comes down to one of 4.5 choices.
1. Andre Franklin
2. Rathman
3. Shlesinger
4. Pick a Makovicka

I would go 2,1,3,4.
My dad and uncles would say Rathman. They are all in their sixties. I would say Schlesinger
 

Huskerthom

All Big 10
5 Year Member
1965 10-1 Huskers Big 8 Champions Frank Solich (2nd Leading Rusher on Team)
Solich 107 605 25 580 5.4

1971 13-0 National Champions Bill Olds (3rd Leading Rusher)
Olds 75 534 7 527 7.1

Great Husker Fullbacks from the Devaney Era.

GBR
Do you really think that Frank would have got a single snap in the 70s, 80s or 90s at his size as a FB? The jump in average player size from the 60s to the 70s and beyond was crazy. The only reason I went back as far as Franklin is because he was a physical freak. Some of his lifting records were in place well into the 90s. Especially leg and hip strength lifts. He was 200# but ran like he was about 250. He also may have been the best blocker of the bunch. The other three I picked were in the neighborhood of 230 by their senior year. Frank could still have played on the late 70s to late 90s teams. Just not as a FB.
 

Bean

Grey Shirt
5 Year Member
MARK SCHELLEN, probably our fastest and strongest FB. I remember hearing that he ran a 4.5 forty and set records in power lifting.
  • Set a Nebraska fullback record with nine touchdowns in 1983
  • Held Nebraska's all-time bench press record with a best of 475 pounds
  • Played fullback for the USFL's New Orleans Breakers
  • Drafted in the fifth round of the NFL's supplemental draft by the San Fransisco 49ers
  • 1983 (Senior)
    Schellen was a key part of the 1983 Husker Offense, scoring 9 touchdowns, which was a Nebraska fullback record at the time. He gained 450 yards on 77 carries as a senior, and his crunching blocks were responsible for freeing Mike Rozier on many of his longest runs during his Heisman Trophy season.
  • 1982 (Junior)
    As a junior, Schellen contributed throughout the season gaining 135 yards on 27 carries with 3 touchdowns. Schellen made the first start of his Husker career in the Orange Bowl against LSU when he rushed the ball 5 times for 23 yards and 1 touchdown.
  • 1981 (Sophomore)
    Schellen enrolled at Nebraska in the fall of 1981 and walked on in the spring of 1982. Schellen originally enrolled at Nebraska-Omaha in 1979, then dropped out of school for a year to focus on power lifting.
 
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