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Mike Rozier
Running back
Jersey #(s)
Born March 1, 1961 (1961-03-01) (age 48)
Camden, New Jersey
Career information
Year(s) 19841991
NFL Draft 1984 Supplemental / Round: 1 / Pick: 2
College Nebraska
Professional teams
Career stats
Rushing Yards 4,462
Average 3.8
Touchdowns 30
Stats at
Career highlights and awards

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.

College career

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.

Pro career

His first professional experience was with the Pittsburgh Maulers, a single-season (1984) franchise in the springtime United States Football League. In 1985, he played for the Jacksonville Bulls of the USFL and rushed for 1320 yards. When the Bulls and eventually the USFL as a whole folded, Rozier was free to pursue a career in the National Football League, which he did, primarily with the Houston Oilers, but never seemed to fulfill the tremendous potential that he had displayed in college. Many pundits thought at the time that he would become one of the best running backs in history. Some have speculated that Rozier never fully recovered from the ankle injury he suffered in his last collegiate game.

In 8 seasons in the NFL, Rozier rushed for 4462 yards and 30 touchdowns. His best season came in 1988 with Houston when he rushed for 1002 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.

External links

Preceded by
Herschel Walker
Heisman Trophy Winner
Succeeded by
Doug Flutie


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