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NIL Superstars of the 1990s You Need to Know

Aug 30, 1997; Morgantown, WV, USA; FILE PHOTO; Marshall Thundering Herd receiver Randy Moss (88) in action against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Milan Puskar Stadium.
© RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

The decade of the 90s saw a red wave of college football greatness take center stage and rise to dominance on the gridiron. From Lincoln to West Virginia, from the Mississippi Delta to the 40 Acres, college football fans were treated to some of the greatest performances ever observed on a football field. These highly marketable players listed below would have sparked bidding wars from coast to coast had NIL existed in the 90s.

NIL Superstars of the 1990s


Tommie Frazier, QB, Nebraska Cornhuskers

·       33-3 record as the starting quarterback at Nebraska under Head Coach Tom Osborne.

·       5,476 total yards, and 79 touchdowns in his college career.

·       Consensus All-American, 1995

·       Offensive Player of the Year, Sporting News, 1995

·       2-Time National Champion, 1994-1995

·       4-Time Big Eight Conference Champion

·       Fiesta Bowl MVP, 1996, 304 total yards in a beatdown of the Florida Gators.

·       75-yard TD run vs Florida in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl was selected as one of the greatest college football plays by Sports Illustrated.

·       2-Time Orange Bowl MVP

·       1995 Offensive Player of the Year in the conference.

·       Heisman Trophy runner-up, 1995

·       College Football Hall of Fame Inductee, 2013.

·       1 of only 6 players in college football history to lead his team to consecutive national championships.

Randy Moss, WR, Marshall Thundering Herd

·       After a troublesome start to his collegiate career, Moss finally landed at Marshall, an hour from his front door.

·       78 catches for 1,709 yards and 28 TDs in 1996, also led the nation in kickoff return average at 34 yards per return.

·       96 catches, 1,820 yards, 26 touchdowns in 1997. His 26 TDs set a Div. I-A record.

·       1996 Division 1-AA National Champion, caught four TD passes in the title game.

·       Offensive Player of the Year, Mid-American Conference in 1997.

·       Biletnikoff Award winner, 1997

·       1st round pick by the Minnesota Vikings in the 1998 NFL Draft.

·       College Football Hall of Fame-2024.

Michael Vick, QB, Virginia Tech

·       1st Team All-American in 1999 under Head Coach Frank Beamer.

·       Big East Offensive Player of the Year, 1999.

·       Big East Rookie of the Year, 1999.

·       Led the NCAA in passing efficiency in 1999 with 180.4, which is the 3rd highest of all time.

·       3rd in the Heisman voting in 1999.

·       Scored three rushing touchdowns in a quarter vs James Madison.

Steve “Air” McNair, QB, Alcorn State

·       Played football, baseball, basketball, and ran track at Mount Olive (MS.) High School.

·       1990: As a senior playing defense at Free Safety, McNair recorded 15 INTs, raising his career total to 30 INTs and tying a state record.

·       Signed with Alcorn State because they would let McNair play quarterback. The Florida Gators recruited McNair as a running back.

·       SWAC Freshman of the Year, 1991.

·       Drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 1991 MLB Draft.

·       4-Time SWAC Offensive Player of the Year, 1991-1994.

·       4-Time All-SWAC selection, 1991-1994.

·       Walter Payton Award winner as the Top Player in Div. I-AA, 1994.

·       Div. I-AA All-American, 1994.

·       5,377 passing yards, 47 TDs; 904 rushing yards, 9 TDs. 6,281 total yards, 56 total TDs, 1994.

·       15,010 career passing yards (an FCS record that remains unbroken today).

·       #3 overall pick in 1st round of the 1995 NFL Draft by the Houston Oilers.

·       College Football Hall of Fame inductee, 2020.

Ricky Williams, RB, Texas Longhorns

·       2-Time unanimous All-American under Head Coach Mack Brown.

·       Heisman Trophy winner, 1998.

·       2-Time Big-12 Offensive Player of the Year, 1997-1998.

·       3-Time 1st Team All-Big 12 selection.

·       1998: Broke the NCAA rushing record previously set by Tony Dorsett of Pitt. Williams gained 6,592 career yards (including bowl games) on the ground and 75 rushing touchdowns, and averaged 6.2 yards per carry.

·       2-Time Doak Walker Award winner, 1997-1998.

·       Associated Press College Football Player of the Year, 1998.

·       1998 Walter Camp Award.

·       Maxwell Award winner as the Best Player in College Football, 1998.

·       #5 overall pick of New Orleans (under Head Coach Mike Ditka) in the 1999 NFL Draft.

·       College Football Hall of Fame inductee in 2015.

·       #34 Texas jersey is retired.

·       NFL: 10,009 career rushing yards, 66 touchdowns, with the Saints, Dolphins, and Ravens.




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