Texas Longhorns

1965 Tommy Nobis
(Authentic Reproduction)




When you talk about the University Of Texas football tradition of the 1960's one has to talk about Number 60 and the great Texas linebackers who made this number feared, as feared and famous as the revered "44" of Syracuse. The greatest Number 60 of them all, Tommy Nobis, was destined to be the prototype for all UT linebackers to follow him. "Big Red" as he was known at San Antonio's Jefferson High School was an unstoppable force and voted as "The Best High School Linebacker Of The 1960's" by Dave Campbell's Texas Football Magazine state-wide panel of experts. At 6'2" and 200 pounds, he sported the neck and shoulders of the 240 pounder he would become in the NFL. Number 60 was "just a number" at Texas until Darrell Royal took a small sophomore end, one who enjoyed catching the occasional pass and playing the outside of the defensive line. Trading number 83 for a guard/linebacker number was seen as a demotion by Johnny Treadwell but he flourished at linebacker and linked that number with a very high level of intensity. Nobis was a freshman when Treadwell was throwing his 180 pounds around the SWC and being named a consensus All American. "Coach Royal knew I wanted to wear No. 60" said Nobis who had described himself as a "blazing tight end" who had worn number 85 in high school. Nobis is considered by many to be the ultimate UT football player and for those who disagree, he is perhaps the number two man behind Earl Campbell and Treadwell believes that if it weren't for Nobis there would be little lore surrounding the Texas 60. Going into Nobis' junior season in 1964, it was obvious that graduation had taken most of the talent from the 1963 National Championship squad but two-way starter Nobis was there to anchor the offensive line as well as earning accolades as an All SWC linebacker. More than other Longhorns, he spent time in the rudimentary weight room and looked it! The '64 team kept the tradition of winning alive and posted a 10-1 record, losing only to Arkansas who was named as National Champion by some polls, and they defeated the Joe Namath-led Alabama squad in a tightly contested Orange Bowl with Nobis as the star. The well finally ran a bit dry in Nobis' senior year and the 'Horns could only manage a 6-4 record in 1965 although Nobis then became UT's only two time consensus All American and the first player chosen in the NFL Draft as the Atlanta Falcons number one choice. Although he was recognized as a great pro player, Tommy Nobis shared the middle linebacking spotlight in what was the golden era of middle linebacking, with Ray Nitschke, Dick Butkus, and Mike Lucci. While this did not diminish his awesome talent, playing for the Falcons never allowed him to receive the same type of recognition his collegiate career did but he remains above all others, the very best defensive player to ever wear the burnt orange of Texas.

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