Nebraska walk-on Noah Stafursky has grown up living and breathing football.
“I love to be around it, I love to study players and watch film,” the offensive lineman from York said. “I love everything about the different aspects of the game.”
Though the sport he loves has taken a considerable amount, that hasn’t stopped him.
“When I was in sixth grade, I was too big to play for the local team, so my mom and dad drove me to Lincoln every day to play in that league, so I could still play football,” Stafursky said.
That sort of commitment became a pattern for Stafursky, as noted by Dukes coach Glen Snodgrass.
“That kid goes to every camp imaginable,” Snodgrass said. “The last two summers he was driving all over the country going to camps. It was incredible.”
Stafursky would often attend one camp or more every weekend. As a further testament to his work ethic, he picked up track and wrestling for York during football’s offseason to stay in shape.
“I think it definitely started out with football in mind, wrestling especially,” Stafursky said. “Coach (Chad) Mattox, our wrestling coach, has been pushing me since day one to do wrestling, he said it would be great for me.”
Just like on the football field, the work Stafursky put into other sports has shown the fruits of his labor.
“It evolved into more than that,” he said. “I really like wrestling.”
Added Snodgrass: “He’s one of the top heavyweight wrestlers in Class B. And he’ll be a good thrower in the spring, too, for track.”
After helping the Dukes finish 9-3 last season, the 6-foot-3, 320-pound Stafursky had other college offers. But he turned down a scholarship from Division II power Northwest Missouri State — owner of national titles in 2013, 2015 and 2016 and a 39-game winning streak it took into 2017 — to walk on for the Huskers.
Playing for Nebraska goes beyond a scholarship at a smaller school. Stafursky is interested in pushing himself. He always has been.
“I wanted to go to the biggest stage and see what I can do with myself,” he said. “I wanted to go and compete at the highest level I thought I could. Especially being a walk-on, it means so much to the entire state and everybody in it.”
And he’s already experienced the reach and popularity of Husker football.
“I was in Denver at the State Fair, watching my cousin rodeo,” Stafursky said. “A Nebraska fan called me out by name and told me good luck next year. The fact that that happens in a place a few hundred miles away from here is just insane, and I wanted to be a part of something like that.”
Stafursky went through a lot to get to this position, now his plan is simple: Keep doing whatever it takes.
“I want to do whatever I can to be the best that I can, and do whatever I can to make the team that the best that it can be,” he said.
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