Honors & Awards
I-back Rex Burkhead wrapped up one of the most successful all-around careers in Nebraska football history in 2012. Burkhead finished his career among the top five all-time rushers in Nebraska history, while also making his mark in the classroom and the community during his time in the NU program.
The 5-11, 210-pound Burkhead was limited throughout his senior season because of a sprained knee he suffered early in the season opener against Southern Miss. Burkhead returned to action three weeks later, but twice re-aggravated the injury during Big Ten action. The injury limited Burkhead to just eight games in 2012.
Burkhead made the most of his limited action, rushing for 675 yards and five touchdowns on just 98 carries in his senior season. Burkhead averaged 6.9 yards per carry and also caught 11 passes, including two touchdown receptions. His rushing yardage pushed Burkhead's career total to 3,329 yards, good for fifth on the NU career rushing list. He also had three 100-yard rushing games, giving him 14 games with at least 100 rushing yards in his career. Burkhead closed his career in outstanding fashion, rushing for 140 yards and a touchdown against Georgia, while also catching four passes including a touchdown grab.
In addition to his impact on the field, Burkhead continued to earn accolades for his work off the field. The Plano, Texas, native earned Capital One/CoSIDA first-team Academic All-America honors for the second straight season, and became the 15th Husker football student-athlete to be a two-time first-team academic All-American. He also earned his degree in history in December, completing his undergraduate work in just 3 1/2 years. Burkhead was also among an elite group of 15 FBS football student-athletes to be named a National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete in 2012.
Burkhead was one of 11 FBS football players named to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, and in December he was named captain of that team. Burkhead was also honored by his teammates being elected a team captain for the second straight season.
Burkhead opened Big Ten play with 96 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries at No. 7 Wisconsin. A week later, he played a key role in a comeback win over Ohio State, with 26 carries for 119 yards and a touchdown. He had 96 rushing yards in the fourth quarter, including a 17-yard scoring run with 5:10 left to give NU its first lead. He also set career bests in receptions (5) and receiving yards (59), including a 30-yard touchdown catch to tie the game in the fourth quarter.
Burkhead posted his fourth 100-yard game in five weeks at Minnesota with 117 yards and a score on 23 carries. In that game, he became the 26th Husker to reach 2,000 career rushing yards. He was a workhorse against No. 9 Michigan State, rushing for 130 yards and two scores on a then-career-high 35 carries. In addition to a pair of one-yard TD runs, Burkhead hauled in a 27-yard TD reception to extend the Huskers' lead to 24-3.
He was limited to 69 rushing yards on 22 carries against Northwestern, but matched his career high with five catches for 34 yards. Against a strong Penn State defense, Burkhead carried 25 times for 121 yards and a touchdown, surpassing the 1,000-yard mark for the season. He was held without a touchdown for the first time in 2011 at Michigan, when he ran 10 times for 36 yards. Against Iowa, Burkhead had a school-record 38 carries for 160 yards and one touchddown and posted his seventh 100-yard rushing game of 2011. His 38 carries broke Cory Ross' previous record of 37 carries at the 2003 Alamo Bowl. Burkhead carried the ball nine times during the Huskers' touchdown drive to close the first half. Nebraska ran the ball 13 times during the 15-play 80-yard drive that gave NU a 10-0 lead. Burkhead closed his junior year with 23 carries for 89 yards against South Carolina, and also tied his career best with five catches for 35 yards.
Burkhead had nine carries for 39 yards and a touchdown in the opener against Florida Atlantic. He had three rushes for 18 yards and an 11-yard catch against Arkansas State. Burkhead had six carries for 27 yards against Louisiana-Lafayette and added four catches for 26 yards, including a 24-yard TD reception. He also had two punt returns for 59 yards. Burkhead provided a spark off the bench at Missouri with five carries for 34 yards. However, he suffered a foot injury the following week and missed the next five games. He returned against Kansas State and ran for 17 yards, while adding a nine-yard reception.
Burkhead rushed 18 times for 100 yards and a touchdown vs. Colorado. His touchdown came in the fourth quarter, capping a drive that saw Burkhead rush nine times for 55 yards. He ran for 22 yards and had two catches against Texas. In the Holiday Bowl, Burkhead had 17 carries for 89 yards and scored a touchdown. Several of his carries came out of a Wildcat set with Burkhead taking a direct snap. He also had two catches.
Before Nebraska (Plano HS)
During his junior season, Burkhead rushed for 1,768 yards and 29 touchdowns and caught 47 passes. His play helped Plano to a 13-2 record and a trip to the 5A state semifinals. Burkhead was an honorable-mention 5A all-state selection. Burkhead also ran for more than 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns and passed for more than 600 yards as a sophomore when he was the 2006 District 9-5A Offensive Newcomer of the Year.
Burkhead was also a basketball standout, earning first-team all-district honors as a junior and senior. He averaged 15.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists as a senior and was part of a Class 5A state title in 2006. Burkhead chose Nebraska after also visiting Texas A&M, and receiving offers from dozens of other BCS schools.
Burkhead's Career Statistics
Receiving: Career: 60 receptions, 507 yards, 5 TDs, long of 31 vs. Idaho (2010)
2012: 11 receptions, 92 yards, 2 TD, long of 25 vs. Idaho State
2011: 21 receptions, 177 yards, 2 TDs, long of 30 vs. Ohio State (TD)
2010: 15 receptions, 148 yards, 0 TDs, long of 31 vs. Idaho
2009: 13 receptions, 90 yards, 1 TD, long of 24 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
Passing: Career: 4-for-7, 46 yds, 3 TDs, long of 26 vs. Colorado (2010)
2012: 1-for-1, 11 yards, 0 TDs; 2011: 0-for-2, 0 yds, 0 TDs; 2010: 3-for-4, 35 yds, 3 TDs
Punt Returns: Career: 11 returns, 117 yards, 0 TD, 10.6 average, long of 33 vs. ULL
2012: 1 return, -1 yard, 0 TD, -1.0 average, long of -1 vs. Wisconsin
2011: 1 return, 19 yards, 0 TD, 19.0 average, long of 19 vs. Washington
2010: 5 returns, 26 yards, 0 TDs, 18.4 average, long of 15 vs. Colorado
2009: 4 returns, 73 yards, 0 TD, 18.3 average, long of 33 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette