Mike Rozier Wins Heisman Trophy
Mike owns both the Nebraska all-time rushing and scoring records, yet it is possible that he might never have gone west to Lincoln had not Nebraska assistant Frank Solich been such a keen observer of high school game films.
Solich was studying movies of another player in Rozier's hometown of Camden, New Jersey. "Mike kept sticking out on the film," Solich remembers. Rozier was a Wishbone fullback in high school, yet still managed to gain 300 yards in a single game. He didn't miss that mark by much against Kansas late in the season, when he rambled for 285 yards and registered four touchdowns in another monster-score win for Nebraska. All through the year, Rozier maintained an average of nearly eight yards every time he carried the ball. "He's a super prospect," says Gil Brandt, Vice President of the Dallas Cowboys in charge of player personnel, and one of the finest judges of football talent. "He has everything it takes to be a successful pro running back." Mike Rozier takes such praise the way he takes an opposing defense - in stride. "God gave me this gift. I just do the best I can to use it," he says. The Houston Oilers chose Mike in the supplemental draft in 1984 where he played for seven years. He finished his NFL career with the Atlanta Falcons in 1991.
Nebraska's Mike Rozier won in all six sections and Brigham Young's Steve Young was second in all six. Young led a parade of six quarterbacks among the top 10 finishers.
Michael Rozier (born March 1, 1961 in Camden, New Jersey) is a former American collegiate and professional football running back who won the Heisman Trophy in 1983. He was born in Camden, New Jersey. Mike and his wife, Rochelle, an attorney, reside in South Jersey and together they have one son. Mike has 2 other children who reside in Texas. He was shot in his hometown of Camden, New Jersey in 1998 and suffered mild injuries to the liver and abdomen. He was treated at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital and was later transferred to Cooper. In 2005 Mike was inducted into the Camden County Sports Hall of Fame, the New Jersey Sports Hall of Fame as well as the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.
Rozier went largely unnoticed by most of the major college programs. His recruitment to Nebraska was a complete accident. Former Nebraska head coach Frank Solich, at the time an assistant to head coach Tom Osborne, had been a keen observer of high school game films. Solich was watching film of Pennsauken High School in Rozier's hometown of Camden, New Jersey. Nebraska had been after one of Pennsauken's receivers. While watching film of Pennsauken's game against nearby Woodrow Wilson High School, one player on the opposing team (Rozier) continually caught Solich's eye.
Rozier spent his freshman season at Coffeyville Junior College in Kansas, in order to get his grades up. In his one season with the Coffeyville Ravens, he led them to a 9-0 season, gaining 1157 yards with a gaudy 7.4 yards-per-carry average, and scored ten touchdowns.
As a sophomore in 1981, Rozier first dazzled Husker fans with a 93 yard touchdown run against Kansas State. As the season progressed, Rozier began challenging Roger Craig for the starting position, a job he would eventually win in the fall of 1982 prior to his junior year. Rozier's progress was so pronounced that the talented and established Craig moved to fullback.
During his junior season, Rozier broke Bobby Reynold's long-standing school record for rushing yards in a single season, with 1,689 yards and led Nebraska to a second consecutive outright Big 8 title and a 12-1 record, losing only in controversial fashion to eventual national champion Penn State. In a particularly memorable performance against Missouri, Rozier came off the bench in the second half to rush for 139 yards on 17 carries to lead Nebraska to a comeback victory despite suffering from a painful hip-pointer injury. Rozier finished the 1982 season a consensus All-American and finished 10th in the Heisman voting.
As a senior, Nebraska's high-octane offense was often unstoppable, averaging 52 points and 401 rushing yards per game. Rozier's statistics were mind-boggling; a nation's best 2,486 total yards with 2,148 of those coming on the ground and twenty-nine touchdowns scored. His 7.8 yards-per-carry mark on the season still stands as the NCAA record for players with more than 214 carries in a season. Against Kansas, Rozier rushed for a staggering 230 yards in the first half and finished with 285 rushing yards total, at that time a school record. Rozier went over 200 yards in each of his last four regular season games of the 1983 season. His magical senior season was capped when he was awarded the Heisman Trophy, given to the best individual player in college football and was again an All-American.
Unfortunately, his college career would end in disappointment, losing the famous 1984 Orange Bowl in which Miami defeated Nebraska 31-30 for the national championship. Rozier had 138 yards on 21 carries at halftime against a Miami defense that was one of the best in the country, but he had to leave in the third quarter following an ankle injury. Rozier finished the game with 147 yards on 26 carries.
The College Football Hall of Fame announced Tuesday that former Nebraska All-American and 1983 Heisman Trophy winner Mike Rozier is among 13 former college greats who are part of the 2006 Division I-A Hall of Fame Class.
The 2006 College Football Hall of Fame Division I-A Class, which also includes legendary coaches Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno, will be inducted at the 49th Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 5, 2006, at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. They will be officially enshrined at the Hall in South Bend, Ind., during ceremonies in the summer of 2007.
Rozier will become the 13th former Husker great in the College Football Hall of Fame, and Nebraska’s first inductee since fellow Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Rodgers was part of the 2000 class. Nebraska is also well-represented by coaches in the College Football Hall of Fame with six former Husker coaches in the Hall of Fame, most recently Tom Osborne in 1998.
“I am honored to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame,” Rozier said. “It is such a great honor to be mentioned with the other Hall of Fame members who have gone before me and those who are in this class. I was fortunate that God gave me the talent to play the game I love. I loved my time at Nebraska and appreciate everything that my family, my coaches, the University and my teammates have done for me.”
Rozier captured the Heisman Trophy in 1983, following a record-setting senior campaign. Rozier rushed for 2,148 yards on 275 carries and scored a school-record 29 touchdowns. Rozier averaged 179 yards per game, while rushing for more than 100 yards in 11 straight games, including a career-best 285 yards against Kansas. His 2,148 yards as a senior is the fifth-highest total in NCAA history, and he was the second rusher in NCAA history to surpass 2,000 yards in a season.