Jeff Pearlman

  • Twitter Icon
  • Twitter Icon
  • Twitter Icon

The 25 best players in USFL history: No. 11—John Corker

Screen Shot 2018-08-31 at 12.19.18 AM

I am counting down the top 25 players in USFL history, concluding with the announcement of the No. 1 guy on Sept. 10—the eve of the release date for Football for a Buck.

The list comes after years of writing and researching my book, as well as a lifetime of loving the long, lost spring football league.

There have been books throughout my career that were written because the moment was right. There have been books throughout my career that felt like pure labor (sorry, Roger Clemens). But Football for a Buckis pure passion. Everything about the USFL spoke to me. The colors. The uniforms. The nicknames. The stars. The scrubs. It felt real and gritty and authentic.

Hence, the book.

Hence, the list.

Also, a quick point: This has 0 to do with what the players later became. NFL accomplishments are insignificant here. It’s all about the USFL.

So, with no further ado …

No. 11: John Corker

Linebacker

Michigan Panthers (1984-85)

Memphis Showboats (1986)

In 1983, as a rookie with the Panthers after three NFL seasons as a Houston Oiler, John Corker compiled 28 sacks.

I need to say that again.

And again.

And again.

Twenty eight sacks. Twenty eight sacks. Twenty eig—

I don’t care that this was the USFL, or that the season was 18-games long. Twenty eight sacks is absolutely insane. He added eight more the following year, then 5 1/2 in an abbreviated run with the Showboats in 1985. Hell, his nickname was the Sackman. Even with Reggie White around, Corker was the USFL’s most feared and impactful pass rusher. He also happened to be a guy who, coming out of Oklahoma State, could have been an elite NFL performer. Then drugs and alcohol got in his way, and Corker struggled before finding a spot in the new endeavor.

Twenty eight sacks.

Absolutely unbelievable …

From Football for a Buck …

Screen Shot 2018-08-31 at 12.26.24 AM

Player No. 25: Tim Spencer

Player No. 24: Chuck Clanton

Player No. 23: Maurice Carthon

Player No. 22: Marcus Marek

Player No. 21: Jimmy Smith

Player No. 20: John Reaves

Player No. 19: Richard Johnson

Player No. 18: Irv Eatman

Player No. 17: Peter Raeford

Player No. 16: Trumaine Johnson

Player No. 15: David Greenwood

Player No. 14: Joey Walters

Player No. 13: Gary Zimmerman

Player No. 12: Reggie White

Player No. 11: John Corker

  • nrwillick

    Jeff- Loving these posts, cannot wait until the book comes out!

Showtime Book
Love Me, Hate Me Barry Bonds Book
Sweetness Walter Peyton Book
The Bad Guys Won Book
The Rocket that Fell to Earth Book
Boys Will Be Boys Book

Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life