About the pipeline

A small circle picture of Zach Wiegert
Zach Wiegert
a small circle picture of Brenden Stai
Brenden Stai
a small circle picture of Aaron Graham
Aaron Graham
a small circle picture of Joel Wilks
Joel Wilks
a small circle picture of Rob Zatechka
Rob Zatechka

Zach Wiegert

Zach Wiegert Pass Blocking against Colorado
The anchor of some of Nebraska's dominant teams of the 1990s, Zach Wiegert capped his collegiate career by helping the Huskers when a national title. The Fremont, Nebraska, native becomes the 20th player in school history elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.

A unanimous First Team All-American in 1994, Wiegert received the Outland Trophy after helping Nebraska to a perfect 13-0 national championship season and the NCAA rushing title. In 1993, he was a finalist for the Outland Trophy after leading the Huskers to an 11-1 record, the No. 3 final ranking and berth in the Orange Bowl for the national title. The three-time First Team All-Big Eight selection led Nebraska to four conference titles and two other top 15 national finishes in 1991 (No. 15) and 1992 (No. 14).

Wiegert's other honors include being named the 1994 TD Club of Columbus Offensive Lineman of the Year, the 1994 UPI Lineman of the Year, a 1993 Second Team All-American and a 1992 First Team Sophomore All-American. He was named the ABC Chevrolet Player of the Game following the Huskers' 1994 win over UCLA in which he helped the team rush for 340 yards. Wiegert blocked for three 1,000-yard rushers during his career, and he allowed only one sack in 37 starts. In 1994 alone, he recorded 113 pancake blocks. Wiegert played for College Football Hall of Fame Coach Tom Osborne and alongside five other Hall of Famers at Nebraska: Trev Alberts, Tommie Frazier, Will Shields, Aaron Taylor and Grant Wistrom.

A second-round pick by the St. Louis Rams in the 1995 NFL Draft, Wiegert played with the Rams (1995-98), Jacksonville Jaguars (1999-2002) and Houston Texans (2003-06). He started in 137 NFL games and helped the Jaguars make the playoffs in 1999.

After a decade of working in commercial real estate as an investor and developer, Wiegert formed Goldenrod Companies in October 2005 to oversee his own portfolio of assets. He has served, or is currently serving, on many non-profit boards, and he has chaired events for The Salvation Army, The United Way, The Omaha North Magnet STEM School, The Boy Scouts of America and The Teammates Foundation.

Brenden Stai

Brenden Pulling round to block
Collegiate Career:
- 1994 All American
- Part of 1994 National championship team

Pro Career:

- 3rd round pick (91st overall) Pittsburgh Steelers
- 1995 NFL All Rookie Team
- Played in Super Bowl XXX
- Played in the AFC championship (1995)
- Played in the AFC Championship (1997)
- 8 yr NFL career (105 starts)

- Assistant AD Leadership Gifts & Football Relations-UNL Athletic Department
- Father of three (Christina; Bryce; Brianna).
- Married HS sweetheart Jen (28 yrs)

Aaron Graham

Aaron Graham getting ready to snap the ball to Tommie Frazier
Aaron Graham played center and handled the long-snapping duties for the Huskers from 1992-1995. Following his senior year, Graham was named first-team All-American from the Associated Press and Football News and first team GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-America honors in the classroom. He was also a CFA Hitachi Scholar-Athlete and a member of the CFA Good Works Team. But his biggest honor was being named an NCAA Today's Top Eight Award Winner - the highest honor bestowed on student-athletes.

During his career at Nebraska, he was also twice named first-team All-Big Eight. Graham was a two-time national champion earning rings in 1994 and 1995. He served as a co-captain on the 1995 national championship team where he and his offensive line paved the way for Nebraska's 12th NCAA rushing title by averaging 399.8 yards per game. The O-Line didn't allow a single sack and just 173 yards in tackles for losses over 11 games. Graham didn't give up a single sack his entire career.

Offensive line coach Milt Tenopir said, “Aaron is probably the best center I’ve had around here in 22 years and the best college center I’ve seen playing today. He snaps the ball for punts in 0.7 seconds, which is extremely fast, and he never had a bad snap.

Graham had 99 “pancakes” (knock-down blocks) in 1995, including 16 against Washington State and 15 against Oklahoma. The Huskers' All-American quarterback, Tommie Frazier, credited Graham for much of his individual success. “Aaron meant a lot to my success. Having the same center for three years, you pretty much knew what he was going to do and what he thought. I knew what he was going to call, and he made my job easier.

Aaron was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the 4th round of the 1996 NFL draft. His career spanned across 7 years, with Graham playing in 99 games and recording 40 starts.

Graham’s post-NFL career has been spent mostly in the land brokerage business. He is an owner of Husker Tiger, LLC, which is the parent company of National Land Realty, NLR Solar, and Land Line Lending. Aaron and his partners have grown National Land Realty into the largest non-franchised land brokerage in the country. He currently lives in Gretna, NE with his wife, Kim, and has 4 children; Cooper (23), Baylen (21), Landrie (17), and Nash (10).

Joel Wilks

Joel blocking in the '94 Orange Bowl
The most unsung member of the ’94 crew known as The Original Pipeline, Joel Wilks literally scratched and clawed his way to a starting position on this pancaking, steam-rolling, relentlessly hostile offensive line.

Picking up the nickname ‘Buddha’ somewhere along the way, he was extremely good-natured off the field and embraced his Nebraska born and bred underdog status, reaching the apex of every walk-on kid’s dream to become a starter.A three-year letterman, Wilks was the starting left guard in 1994 and led the team with 142 pancake blocks, an average of 11.8 per game. He blocked for Lawrence Phillips who rushed for over 1700 yards in 1994. He helped the team average 340 rushing yards per game as they went 13-0 winning the National Championship.

Offensive line coach Milt Tenopir said, “Joel is one of the toughest and most hard-working guys that I have coached at Nebraska.” Wilks walked on at Nebraska after graduating from Hastings High School where he was an all-state, all-conference, and academic all-state offensive guard.

Wilks has been working for Portland Fire & Rescue for 18 years. His wife, Alicia, and their 3 kids (Cash, Ace, and Lola) live in Lake Oswego, OR where he is currently an offensive line coach at Lake Oswego High School.

Robert Zatechka

Rob Zatechka clearing the way
Few have outperformed the success of Robert Zatechka, who posted a perfect 4.0 GPA in the classroom while captaining the 1994 Cornhuskers to an undefeated national championship season.A standout four-year starter at offensive tackle, Zatechka anchored a Nebraska offensive line for four years that produced an overall record of 42-6-1 from 1991-94.

Majoring in biological science with a minor in chemistry, Zatechka could be found on the Dean’s List every semester and was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society as well as the Golden Key National Honor Society.

Zatechka was named a four-time Academic All-Big Eight Conference honoree, a Chancellor’s Scholar, captain of the Anson Mount Scholar-Athlete Team, an ESPN student-athlete, a two-time First-Team GTE Academic All-American, a 1994 NCAA Top Eight Award selection and the 1994-95 Big Eight Male Athlete of the Year.The Lansing, Michigan, native signed with the New York Giants in 1995 and played in 47 games for the franchise from 1995-97.

Zatechka played in all but one game for the 1995 Giants under legendary coach Dan Reeves, helping New York make the transformation to a 10-5-1 playoff team in 1997, his final season before embarking full-time on his medical career.

From 2004-08, he continued his medical training and residency with emphasis on anesthesiology at the University of Nebraska Omaha.Zatechka currently serves as a physician and anesthesiologist at OrthoNebraska Hospital in Omaha, and he co-hosts the weekly “Husker Doc Talk” podcast during the football season, discussing college football and Nebraska topics.