The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, April 26, 1994, Page 7, Image 7
Daily Nebraskan Tuesday, April 26, 1994 Sports Third round is charm for Jones By Tim Pearson Senior Reporter OMAHA — No longer will Ne braska fans see Calvin Jones sporting the scarlet and cream of the Cornhuskers. Jones made that abundantly clear when he and his entourage of family and friends walked into a press con ference at the Ramada Inn proudly wearing silver and black. Jones, who left P Nebraska early to go pro, found out Monday morning thathewasdraflcd by the Los Angeles Raiders in the third round. He was one of five Nebraska - , players selected in Jones thc dran# Linebacker Trev Alberts, thc fifth pick of the draft, went to Indianapol is. The Los Angeles Rams selected Toby Wright in thc second round with thc 49th pick. On the second day, Jones was the 80th pick. Safety John Recce was se lected by the Arizona Cardinals on the 113th pick in the fourth round. And New Orleans made offensive tackle Lance Lundberg the 213th pick. Jones said being selected by thc Raiders made up for thc disappoint ment of not being picked on the first day of the draft. “They definitely need help in their backficld,” he said. “I hope I can go in and contribute as much as possible.” The Raiders didn’t talk to Jones before the draft, but they did talk to Huskcr running backs coach Frank Solich on Friday. “We had contacted several teams,” Jones said. “The Raiders were a team that really didn’t show their cards.” However, the Raiders have always been high on the list of teams for which Jones wanted to play. “I looked at some of the running backs that got drafted ahead of me,” he said. “They have guys ahead of them who will be there for a couple of years. That’s not the situation I’m in. “You couldn’t ask for a better situ ation.” Jones said he thought the emphasis on defense in the first round—not his shoulder and knee injuries — led to him being drafted in the third round instead of the second. Jones injured his shoulder in the Orange Bowl against Florida State on Jan. 1, but that shouldn ’ t be a problem when next season rolls around, he said. “I feel 100 percent,” he said. “The shoulder’s been healed for a couple months.” Jones left Nebraska as the Husk ers’ second-leading all-time rusher with 3,153 yards and 40 touchdowns. Jones said he would always re member his years as a Huskcr. See DRAFT on 8 L. A. Ram phone call ends Wright’s draft day trauma By Derek Samson Senior Reporter_ Finally, after one of the longest days of his life, former Nebraska de fensive back Toby Wright received the phone call he had waited for his entire life. r Wright wascho sen by the Los An geles Rams as the 49th pick overall in Sunday’s National Football League draft. “I was just hop ing they didn’t for get about me,” Wright said irom Wright his home in Phoe nix, Ariz. “It was one of the moments where you feel all alone. You talk about traumatic stress— I had it in the third degree.” And then after watching 48 picks —including teammate Trev Alberts (fifth pick overall) — throughout the afternoon, Wright missed seeing his name flash across the television. “The phone rang and it wasn’t near the TV,” he said. “As soon as 1 answered it a voice said How would you like to be a Ram?’ At the same time, all my family in the other room started cheering when they saw that I was picked.” Wright had his work cut out for him after transferring to Nebraska from Phoenix Junior College, where he wasajunior college All-American. The 6-foot-1-inch Phoenix native said he knew he had to make an impact quickly, to make a name for himself. “As far as my success goes at Ne braska, it was hard because 1 came from a junior college and 1 wasn’t a big name here,” he said. “I tried to use the big games to make a name for myself. 1 tried to play every game like it was our biggest of the season and just keep improving.” Wright, who had 13 tackles in both the UCLA and Colorado games last season, also helped get recognition by being one of the hardest hitters on the Huskcr defense. “I always took pride in the way I hit,” he said. “I also wanted to be a good fundamental defensive back. My See WRIGHT on 8 Photos by Jon Waller/DN Above: Darin Erstad kicks during the Spring Game Saturday at Memorial Stadium. Right: Two hours later, Erstad hits in the baseball game against Kansas. ‘Superman’ kept busy on 2 fields By Jeff Griesch Senior Editor Before the annual Red-White spring football game on Sunday, Darin Erstad stepped out of his personal phone booth in the Ne braska football locker room wear ing football pants, a helmet, shoul der pads... And a red cape around his neck. Actually, it wasn’t a red cape: it was a red jersey with a white No. 8 on it. On Saturday afternoon, Erstad tried to do his best impersonation of Superman—or in the least, two sport man — as he switched from the football field to left field in a matter of two hours. After successfully kicking two extra points and knocking one punt out of bounds inside the 20-yard line at Nebraska's Spring Game at 1 p.m., Erslad changed into his baseball uniform and prepared to prowl the outfield at Buck Bcltzer Field. Erslad made a couple of spar kling defensive plays during the baseball team’s 9-7 loss to Kansas, but he managed only one hit in five at-bals. “I never felt really mentally into the game,” Erstad said. “I usually do a certain pattern of th ings before a game, and I think maybe I was thrown out of that normal rhythm today. ‘‘My body just didn’t know how to react.” After performing double duty on Saturday, Erstad said he needed a chance to catch his breath. Erstad didn’t get home until just a few minutes before midnight on Friday night, after Nebraska’s opener with Kansas lasted 13 in nings. Erstad was the one responsible for sending the game into extra innings with a game-tying homer in the bottom of the ninth. After ashort night’s rest, Erstad headed to Memorial Stadium to begin his football day just before 11 a.m. As the nearly 29,000 fans filed into the stadium, Erstad said he began to feel some unexpected ten sion. “I was a lot more nervous than I thought I would be,’’ he said. “I am sure that was by far the biggest crowd I have ever played anything in front of, and I felt like there was See ERSTAD on 8 NFL draft game deals ‘Sorry Charlie ’ card to Ward Charlie Ward won the Heisman T rophy. ward also won the national cham pionship, leading Florida State to an 18-16 victory over Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. Along with being No. 1 on the football field, Ward also ran the No. 1 point guard spot on the Florida State basketball team. During the heart of the football season, some people, including his unofficial agent, ABC’s Keith “Ooooohhhhh Chari ie, cr, uh, Nell ie’’ Jackson, were touting Ward as the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft and a first round pick in the NBA draft. But after a disappointing senior season of basketball, it looked like Ward’s NBA status was, at best, un certain, and he would have toscttlc for looking forward to a football career. But as draft day approached. Ward’s stock continued to fall in the eyes of the NFL scouts and the “draft expert" —ESPN’s Mel Kiper. The pros started calling in their numbers early Sunday afternoon, but Ward’s number was never called. Sorry, Charlie. The Bcngals used their No. 1 pick to select the giant defensive tackle, Dan Wilkinson, from Ohio Stale. The Redskins used the No. 3 pick to select Tennessee’s Heath Shuler as the first quarterback. And after India napolis traded with the Rams to get Trev Alberts with the No. 5 pick, Trent Dilfer became the second quar terback chosen. Jeff Griesch No other quarterbacks were cho sen on Sunday as the NFL owners and general managers drafted defense first. So after pick No. 65 on Sunday, it looked like Ward would have to wait until Monday to learn which team would take the rights to the Hcisman Trophy winner. But as the picks kept rolling by on Monday, Ward was neither present nor accounted for. . The last two picks came down to the Buffalo Bills and the New En gland Patriots. If ever two teams were in need of a winner, it was these two teams. But Ward’s name was not called. Sorry, Charlie. Somehow the NFL scouts decided that the dozen or so quarterbacks cho sen had more talent and potential than the 1993 Hcisman Trophy winner. These same scouts decided it was worth the risk to take chances on two unproven players from Wayne Slate College, a Division II school in Ne braska, but didn’t think Ward was worthy of one of the 222 picks in the draft. How did Ward and the media mag net that is Florida State pull the wool over the eyes of the mill ions of college football analysts and fans? A ftcr two seasons of drool ing over the Randall Cunningham-like skills of Charlie Ward, how did Ward’s potential fall to such dismal levels? Doesn’t winning the Heisman Tro phy mean anything? Ward beat the Heisman jinx that plagued Mike Ro/.icr, Gino Torreta, Vinny Testaverde and Hcrschcl Walker in national championship games, but he started a j inx al I h is own by not being drafted. Sorry. Charlie. Griesch Is a junior news-editorial major and Is the Dally Nebraskan assistant sports editor.