LINCOLN — Garrett Snodgrass learned from his dad, Glen, how to throw a baseball. How to post up on a basketball court. How to hold a shot or a discus in his hand and generate the momentum to heave it as far as possible. Most of all, Glen taught Garrett how to play football fast and fearless, so well that Garrett was one of the state’s best players, leading his team — Glen’s team — to a state title.
“It’s all I’ve ever really known, him coaching me,” Garrett said Tuesday.
The two have one more week together at the Shrine Bowl — Glen coaching Garrett, who will play inside linebacker at Nebraska, but played just about anywhere on the field at York High School, where he was a prep star. It’s a bit of surprise that Garrett will play in Saturday’s game, because Husker scholarship players have rarely appeared in the event over the past decade.
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NU walk-ons — many of whom have already started workouts in Lincoln — dot the North and South rosters. Garrett has started workouts, too. He also has nothing to prove in a game like the Shrine Bowl.
But this is one more week with Dad, and Nebraska coach Scott Frost — himself a veteran of the Shrine Bowl — didn’t merely allow Garrett to play in the Shrine Bowl. He encouraged it.
“We were sitting in Coach Frost’s office, and he said, ‘Your dad’s coaching in this game? You darn well better play,’ ” Glen Snodgrass said.
And it’s a dream the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Garrett has had for more than a decade, since Glen was a head coach in the Eight-Man All-Star football game in 2007. Garrett was the ball boy that week. He had fun; he even met another 2019 Shrine Bowl participant, McCook’s DJ Gross, at the event, as well.
“I’d always wondered growing up if I was good enough to play in it,” Garrett said. “It was kind of a motivation for me.”
His career at York made him a slam-dunk pick. Last season, he accounted for 40 touchdowns — 17 passing and 23 rushing — while playing linebacker on defense. In 2017, he had an equally extraordinary season, amassing 1,542 yards rushing, 692 passing and 426 receiving while racking up 86 tackles at linebacker. York finished 12-1 and won a state title, which led to the best 15 minutes of Glen’s coaching career with Garrett.
First, he got to put a Class B gold medal around Garrett’s neck after the state title victory. It reminded Glen of his first state title at Overton in 2006, when Garrett was up on the stage with him as he put medals around his players’ necks.
About 10 minutes after the medal ceremony, Glen found Garrett and took him out to the middle of Memorial Stadium. There, he told Garrett he’d received a full-ride scholarship offer from Nebraska coach Mike Riley, who was fired five days later. Riley had told Glen the morning before the game. Glen wanted Garrett to focus on the game, not the offer, until after the medal was on his chest.
At the 50-yard line, Garrett broke down with joy.
“I just don’t know if it can get much better than that,” Glen said. “It was pretty incredible. He’s not a real emotional kid but was absolutely overcome with emotion in that moment.”
Eighteen months later, father and son are at the end of the coach/player part of their relationship. Glen becomes a full-time fan of Garrett’s now. He’s already a big backer of Garrett’s new position coach, Barrett Ruud.
“He’s obviously a tough, very, very intelligent coach who connects with his players very, very well,” Glen said. “The thing I’ve always noticed is he’s very, very humble and down to earth. When you have the things on his résumé that he does, it’s hard to be humble, but he really is, so every time he tells me something I trust it, because I know the kind of coach he is.”
Garrett loved his first week on campus, working out, learning from guys such as Mohamed Barry and Damian Jackson. His mind is filled with possibilities, especially at inside linebacker, where NU has just two fully healthy scholarship veterans — Barry and Collin Miller. Garrett has a chance to play early, especially on special teams.
He wants one more football game with Dad, though.
“We’ll give each other a hug,” Garrett said. “And I’ll tell him thank you. It’s just another football game, I guess. We’ve come a long way, and it’s been a heck of a ride. I’ll miss it.”
In-state Husker football commits since 2000
Several in-state players have fulfilled the dream of staying home and playing at Memorial Stadium. Here's every in-state scholarship commit since 2000.