One of the best linemen in UW history helped pave the way for great success by running back Corey Dillon and quarterback Brock Huard
Opponents lining up across the line of scrimmage from Husky center Olin Kreutz must have gulped before the ball was snapped. They were about to be steamrolled by one of the greatest offensive linemen in Husky football history.
Checking in at 6-foot-2 and 300 pounds, Kreutz, who wore No. 77 in purple and gold, wasn’t a terrific blocker just because he was big. The Honolulu native possessed a competitive streak as large as his body, and he wasn’t about to let anyone get into the Husky backfield.
A recruit from Saint Louis School, a Hawaii high school football powerhouse, Kreutz played four years under coach Jim Lambright, creating a legacy of excellence that still stands. That’s why he was nominated for the 2024 College Football Hall of Fame.
He delivered punishing blocking for running back Corey Dillon, who led the Pac-10 in rushing in 1996 with a single-season record of 1,695 yards and 24 touchdowns. He also made sure that quarterback Brock Huard had the time to do his job, and he set 20 school records along the way.
In 2011, Lambright told the Seattle Times, “One of the things that really impressed you when we recruited him is the fact that he was so physically strong and mentally and emotionally motivated to succeed. It was a combination of attitude and brute strength.”
Kreutz was a 1997 consensus All-American (first-team selection by the Associated Press, Football News and The Sporting News). He received the 1997 Morris Trophy as the top lineman in the Pac-10, and he was named to the All-Pac-10 first team in both 1996 and 1997. As for his UW honors, he was the 1997 Guy Flaherty Most Inspirational Award winner, 1997 L. Wait Rising Lineman of the Year Award winner and the 1995 Travis Spring Award winner as the UW’s outstanding freshman.
Kreutz, who was inducted into the Husky Hall of Fame in 2016, parlayed that record of excellence into being drafted in the third round of the 1998 NFL draft by the Chicago Bears – the highest lineman draft pick out of Washington since Ed Cunningham in 1992. Kreutz went on to enjoy a 13-year NFL career.
Selections to the 2024 College Football Hall of Fame will be made in early 2024, and the Class of 2024 inductees will be honored at the 66th National Football Foundation Annual Awards Dinner in Las Vegas on Dec. 10, 2024.