Josh Wegener is the latest newcomer to the Nebraska football team. But for the next five months, he’ll be back home executing a three-part plan.
Work. Work out. Rehab.
The Iowa Western offensive lineman announced Thursday on social media that he was committing to the Huskers. Rated the No. 1 junior college center by JCGridiron.com, the native of Algona, Iowa, will continue to recover from a torn ligament in his foot before arriving in Lincoln for summer conditioning.
“Getting my opportunity to play at the highest level possible was always my goal and that’s what helped me land at Nebraska and do the walk-on thing,” Wegener told The World-Herald. “But I feel like I can play at that level and can’t wait to get a chance.”
The 6-foot-2, 280-pound Wegener held multiple offers from Division II schools out of high school but chose Iowa Western. He played five games at defensive tackle for the Reivers in 2017 before suffering a torn ACL. He agreed to move to offensive line the next spring and won the starting center job, playing nine games before the foot injury.
Wegener will technically be the second Iowa Western player to end up on Nebraska’s roster. The first was O-lineman Brian Perez, who was a reserve tight end at IWCC in 2017 before landing in Lincoln thanks to a walk-on tryout this fall.
Wegener said Nebraska encouraged him to wait to arrive until the summer because he could earn better academic scholarships. The 20-year-old prospect left Iowa Western with a 4.0 grade-point average this month.
Iowa State — his favorite childhood team — also offered a walk-on spot, Wegener said, and he turned down full athletic scholarships from a variety of lower-level schools. He visited Nebraska on Sunday and announced only Thursday after informing other coaches of his decision.
“Signing day isn’t really for walk-ons,” Wegener said. “I won’t be going down until the summer, so there’s really no rush.”
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Nebraska wide receiver Quincy Enunwa, pictured, is one of 151 recruits to come from California. As a senior in high school, Enunwa helped lead Rancho Verde's pass-happy spread offense to an 11-1 record.
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Until the streak was snapped in 2016, Nebraska had signed at least one recruit from Texas every season since 1983. In total, 134 players have traveled from Texas to Lincoln. One of those was running back Rex Burkhead, pictured, from Plano High in 2009. He finished his Husker career with 3,329 yards and 30 touchdowns.
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Illinois has produced 82 Huskers, including quarterback Joe Ganz, who holds several NU passing records. Ganz, a two-star recruit per Rivals, threw for 5,125 yards and 44 touchdowns for Nebraska.
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Trev Alberts, one of 75 recruits to come from Iowa, had an eye-opening senior season at NU. He totaled 96 tackles, 21 for loss, 15 sacks and 38 quarterback hurries, earning him first-team All-American honors and the school’s first Butkus Award.
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Of the 65 recruits to come from Kansas, no Husker is more well-known and beloved than Brook Berringer. In 1994, Berringer stepped off the bench to go 7-0 in Tommie Frazier's absence. On April 18, two days prior to the NFL draft, Berringer tragically died in a plane crash in Raymond, Nebraska.
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Colorado has produced 58 Huskers, including Kenny Bell. The versatile Bell, a three-star athlete coming out of Fairview High School in Boulder, played receiver, tailback, quarterback, cornerback, safety, punter and kick returner in high school. He finished his college career with a school-record 181 receptions for 2,689 yards and 21 touchdowns.
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The Huskers have landed 54 recruits from Pennsylvania, but only one since 1999 — Zaire Anderson (No. 13). Anderson finished his Husker career with 159 tackles and five sacks, and was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Denver Broncos.
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JD Spielman was the 48th of 50 players from Minnesota to sign with Nebraska. Spielman, a three-star receiver, caught 55 passes for 830 yards and two touchdowns his freshman season for the Huskers.
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The Huskers didn't start recruiting Florida hard until the 2000s. Before the turn of the millennium, NU had just 13 players come from the Sunshine State. Since? The Huskers have had 36 commits. One of the pre-2000 Huskers was Tommie Frazier, who is fifth all time in total offense at Nebraska with 5,476 yards.
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Ohio has produced 47 Huskers, including Frank Solich. In total, Solich spent 29 seasons at Nebraska, starting as a fullback in Bob Devaney's first recruiting class before becoming an assistant under Tom Osborne. He eventually became Osborne's successor as head coach.
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The Huskers haven't recruited Michigan much recently. Since 1981, only two Michigan natives have chosen to go to Nebraska, including 2017 commit Andrew Ward, pictured. In total, 38 players have come from Michigan.
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New Jersey can boast 38 recruits that have traveled to Nebraska, including notables Mike Rozier, left, and Irving Fryar, right, who were both a part of the 1981 recruiting class. Rozier was the 1983 Heisman recipient, and Fryar was the top pick in the 1984 NFL draft.
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Two-time national champion quarterback Jerry Tagge is one of 29 recruits to come from Wisconsin. Tagge scored the game-winning touchdown in the 1970 Orange Bowl, and was a Football News first-team All-American the following year.
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Nebraska has had 20 players from Georgia, including both Aaron Williams, pictured, and Mohamed Barry in 2015. Others from the Peach State include AJ Bush, Imani Cross and Alfonzo Dennard.
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Will Shields, who committed to the Huskers from Lawton, Oklahoma, led Nebraska to three rushing titles in four years, including in 1992 when he won the Outland Trophy as the nation's top interior offensive lineman. Shields, who is one of 19 Huskers from Oklahoma, went on to be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2015.
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