September 5, 2016

Highlighted Year: John Corker, 1983

Linebacker, Michigan Panthers

Age: 24
4th season in pro football, 1st in USFL & with Panthers
College: Oklahoma State
Height: 6’5”   Weight: 240

Corker was the Big-8 Defensive Player of the Year in 1978, impressing with his combination of speed and size, although he suffered torn ligaments in his knee during the season. He came back to receive second-team all-conference recognition in ’79 and was chosen by the Houston Oilers in the fifth round of the 1980 NFL draft but, after three undistinguished and injury-plagued years, was let go following the 1982 season. Corker was signed by the Panthers of the new USFL, who obtained his rights from the Washington Federals.

1983 Season Summary
Appeared in 17 of 18 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Sacks – 28 [1]
Most sacks, game – 6 at New Jersey 4/10
Multi-sack games – 6
Interceptions – 2
Int. return yards – 22
Int. TDs – 0
Fumble recoveries – 5
Fumble recovery TDs – 1
Tackles – 116.5

TDs – 1
Points – 6

Postseason: 2 G
Sacks – N/A
Interceptions – 0
TDs – 0

Awards & Honors:
USFL Defensive Player of the Year: League, Pro Football Weekly
1st team All-USFL: Official, Sporting News, College & Pro Football Newsweekly, Pro Football Weekly

Panthers went 12-6 to finish first in the USFL Central Division while leading the league in sacks (74). Won Semifinal playoff over Oakland Invaders (37-21) & USFL Championship over Philadelphia Stars (24-22).

Corker followed up his sensational 1983 season with a lesser, if still effective, performance, registering 8 sacks and 76 tackles over the course of 14 games in ’84 and receiving All-USFL honors from The Sporting News. He was left unprotected when the Panthers merged with the Oakland Invaders in 1985 and joined the Memphis Showboats. Adding another 5.5 sacks, he finished his USFL career with 41.5. With the demise of the USFL, Corker attempted a return to the NFL but failed to catch on, at least partly due to off-field drug use. He joined the Detroit Drive of the Arena Football League in 1988, performed well on offense as well as defense, and returned to the NFL with Green Bay, appearing in two games. Corker returned to the arena league in 1990 and spent another six seasons with the Detroit Drive and Miami Hooters. He was named to the Arena Football League’s 10th Anniversary All-Time team as an offensive and defensive lineman and was inducted into the league’s Hall of Fame in 2002.


Highlighted Years features players who were consensus first-team All-League* selections or league* or conference** leaders in the following statistical categories:

Rushing: Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Passing: Yards, Completion Pct., Yards per Attempt, TDs, Rating
Receiving: Catches, Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Scoring: TDs, Points, Field Goals (min. 5)
All-Purpose: Total Yards
Defense: Interceptions, Sacks
Kickoff Returns: Average
Punt Returns: Average
Punting: Average

*Leagues include NFL (1920 to date), AFL (1926), AFL (1936-37), AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974-75), USFL (1983-85)

**NFC/AFC since 1970