Behind the Numbers:#41-50, #49 John Offerdahl
KALAMAZOO, Mich. - The jersey numbers 41-50 had one of the toughest choices to figure out who was the best. In case you missed throughout the week, here are the jersey number winners.
#41-Derrick Copeland (1987-1991)
#42-Steve Hawkins (1991-93)
#43-Ameer Ismail (2005-2006)
#44-Jerome Persell (1975-78)
#45-Shaun Faulkner (1980-83)
#46-Jim Klapthor (1983-86)
#47-Mitch Zajac (2008-2011)
#48-Les Garrett (1980-1981)
#49-John Offerdahl (1982-85)
#50-Mario Evans (1996-2000)
With all of the players to wear jersey numbers 41-50, the offensive and defensive numbers are very similar. On the offensive side of the ball the players compiled 18,056 yards and 70 touchdowns. While on the defensive side they racked up 4,228 tackles, 22 interceptions and 115 sacks.
Just including the best player from each jersey number the theme of being equal on the offensive and defensive side of the ball stays the same. Offensively number 41-50 gained 16,317 yards and scored 54 touchdowns. With seven of the 10 chosen players playing defense, the players managed to compile 1,870 tackles, 15 interceptions and 45 sacks.
Through four players being named on the WMU All-Century team and two retired jerseys, the decision to pick who was the best of the best for jersey numbers 41-50 was a difficult one.
John Offerdahl (1982-1985) can be considered one of the great WMU players in the program's history. Offerdahl racked up 694 tackles, 17 forced fumbles, four sacks and six interceptions. He is apart of the WMU All-Century team.
His name is plastered all over the WMU record book with having the most tackles in a career (694) which is also a MAC record and tackles in a single season (192). He is top 3 in career forced fumbles (17), top five in single game tackles (24 vs. Ball State,1984), single season forced fumbles (5) and forced fumbles in a single game (3 vs. Marshall, 1984).
Offerdahl's accolades include MAC Defensive Player of the Year (1985), First Team All-MAC ('83,84,85), Associated Press Third Team (1984), Associated Press Second Team (1985) and NEA Second Team (1985).
He was selected by the Miami Dolphins with 52nd pick in the 2nd round of the 1986 NFL Draft. He went on to play eight seasons in the NFL were he was a five-time pro bowler and First Team All-Pro.
Bronco fans have been voting all week on wmubroncos.com and the WMU Bronco fan page on Facebook for the best player and the fans agree. Coming in with 49 percent of the vote is #49 John Offerdahl. In second was Jerome Persell with 29 percent followed by Mitch Zajac with 15 percent.
Jerome Persell is one of the greatest players in program history. Persell racked up 4,190 yards and 39 touchdowns. Persell is top 3 in every career and single season rushing record at WMU. He was a three-time Offensive MAC Player of the Year and three-time First Team All-MAC. He is apart of the WMU All-Century Team.
The sixth edition of the Behind the Numbers series begins Monday as we dig in the trenches of jersey numbers 51-60.