During the 1990s, the University of Nebraska was one of the major powerhouses of college football, winning back-to-back national championships in 1994 and 1995 and sharing the title with the University of Michigan in 1997. Tommie Frazier was the quarterback of those first two title-winning Cornhusker teams and was absolutely thrilling to watch. He became one of the most successful quarterbacks in college football history, despite an unfortunate career setback that cost him a chance to play in the NFL. Nevertheless, he remained around the game following his playing days.
So where is Tommie Frazier today?
Tommie Frazier made an immediate impact at Nebraska
When Tommie Frazier committed to Nebraska in 1992 following a stellar career at Palmetto High School in Manatee, Florida, legendary Cornhuskers coach Tom Osborne actually cried, knowing he had a special talent coming to Lincoln. And what a talent Tommie Frazier turned out to be.
As a true freshman, Frazier started the ’92 campaign as a backup to senior Mike Grant but worked his way into the starting lineup in the sixth game of the season, leading Nebraska to a 34-24 win over Missouri in his first start. He then was able to showcase his talents to the world in blowout wins over eighth-ranked Colorado and 13th-ranked Kansas, both of which were shown in primetime on ESPN. In nine games in 1992, seven of which were starts, Frazier was responsible for 17 touchdowns, 10 passing and seven rushing.
Tommie Frazier continued his stellar play in 1993, running the option to perfection as the Cornhuskers continued to build themselves into a national powerhouse. Joined by freshman running back Lawrence Phillips, Frazier was even more of a threat. Would he throw it? Would he flip it to Phillips? Would he run it himself? It was exciting football and fans couldn’t get enough. He became one of the most talked-about players in college football and led Nebraska to an undefeated regular season. Unfortunately, the Huskers lost to Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward and the Florida State Seminoles in the Orange Bowl. However, Frazier was still named the game’s MVP in the loss.
The national title years
Frazier was likely on his way to a Heisman Trophy-winning season in 1994 but blood clots forced him to miss the second half of the season, replaced by Brook Berringer. With a strong defense and a stellar season from Phillips, Nebraska again went undefeated in the regular season and earned a fourth consecutive trip to the Orange Bowl. Frazier returned for the national title game against Miami, replacing Berringer in the second half and leading the Huskers to a come-from-behind victory over the Hurricanes, clinching Nebraska’s first national title since 1971.
Tommie Frazier’s senior season in 1995 was his best yet. He set a career-high in passing yards with 1,362, adding 17 touchdowns. He was responsible for an additional 14 scores on the ground and rushed for 604 yards in another undefeated campaign, averaging 6.2 yards per carry. Many believed he should have won the Heisman that year but he finished runner-up to Ohio State running back Eddie George.
In the Fiesta Bowl against the Florida Gators, Frazier earned his third consecutive national championship game MVP award, rushing for 199 yards, including an electric 75-yard touchdown run during which he broke seven tackles. He also threw for 105 yards in the Huskers’ 62-24 romp and finished his collegiate career with a second straight national championship. In four years at Nebraska, Tommie Frazier was 33-3 as a starter and the Huskers were 49-4 with him on the roster.
Blood clots cost him an NFL career
Unfortunately, the Nebraska years would be the peak of Tommie Frazier’s career as a player, although that’s quite a peak to have. In preparation for the NFL scouting combine, he experienced more issues with blood clots, leading to a poor performance at the combine. NFL teams were a bit wary that he didn’t pass the ball well enough to be a good pro quarterback as it was, although his MVP performance in the East-West Shrine Game did help, and the medical issues just made him too much of a risk.
Every single team passed on him in the 1996 NFL draft. So when an offer came from the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL, he had no choice but to take it. He was the third-string quarterback and appeared in just one game, throwing for 55 yards. Less than a week after what turned out to be his only pro game, he was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. He was given blood thinners due to his history with clots but began spitting up blood, extending his recovery time. He was released on September 17, 1996, and promptly retired.
Where is Tommie Frazier today?
With his playing days behind him, Tommie Frazier turned to coaching. After his number was retired at Nebraska, he was an assistant director of athletic development for the Huskers. He also joined the coaching staff at Baylor, first as a graduate assistant working with quarterbacks and then the Bears’ full-time running backs coach. In 2005, he took the head coaching job at Doane College in Nebraska, a position he held for two seasons.
Tommie Frazier was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2013 and, according to his LinkedIn profile, is now the president of a construction company in Omaha. Frazier is included on the majority of lists as one of the greatest college football players in history.