Maybe his friends are right. Maybe Myles Farmer really did make someone cry during a football game.
It’s hard to say, because the incoming Nebraska freshman safety landed a flurry of crushing blows throughout his football career at Atlanta (Ga.) Westlake High School. Sweep plays and tosses always had Farmer closing fast with wide eyes. The first play on his highlight video shows him sprinting through a running back who had bounced outside and decleating him with such force that the ball carrier landed beyond the white sideline.
But the sequence in question was on a screen play, recalls former Westlake teammate Emmanuel McQueen. Farmer pushed through multiple blocks and blew up the runner with such ferocity that his fellow safety caught himself temporarily gawking.
“He knocked the boy out,” McQueen said. “I had to jump on the ball real quick — it shocked me.”
Farmer doesn’t remember hearing sobs or even seeing tears. He believes the moment has evolved like a fishing story, growing more exaggerated with each recollection.
“But I don’t know,” Farmer said. “I hit so many people throughout the season.”
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Nebraska’s arriving 2019 class is full of well-known in-state players, speedy offensive threats and tales of dramatic recruiting decisions. Then there’s Farmer, the no-nonsense defensive back coach Scott Frost last spring dubbed the most underrated member of the group.
The 6-foot-3, 195-pound safety also is on the short list of NU true freshmen who could make an on-field impact before the end of his first college semester.
“The coaches are looking for me to play right away,” Farmer said. “They want me to be able to start by the fourth game.”
That he hasn’t received many headlines suits the 18-year-old just fine. Frost’s comment about him flying under the radar? Farmer would feel uncomfortable agreeing — that kind of “self-boosting” isn’t part of his game.
He’s the guy who quietly traveled to Miami shortly after his May graduation to train with former Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, who was the 11th overall pick of the Dolphins in the 2018 NFL draft. He makes beats with his cousin and even has a couple original songs on his phone, but only lets his friends listen to them. Any praise about his ball-hawking, big collisions and ability to learn quickly doesn’t come from him.
“I don’t think he’s even scratched the surface yet on how big and fast he can get,” Frost said in the spring. “I think he doesn’t get the credit he deserves for the kind of football player he is.”
A consensus three-star prospect, Farmer didn’t see college ball in his future until just before his junior prep season. He bounced around as a quarterback and tight end in middle school and was primarily a wide receiver as a freshman. That would have been his role again had he not broken his collarbone just before sophomore year. Tulane offered Farmer a scholarship, but he felt stuck.
“Then my coach switched me over in spring practice to DB one day,” Farmer said. “And the offers just started coming in.”
He held more than 20 by the end, including the likes of Oregon and Virginia Tech along with finalists West Virginia and South Florida. He mostly played nickelback in the box — teams didn’t throw his way if he was deep as a traditional safety — and displayed a physicality that had Nebraska and others pondering a possible long-term future at outside linebacker.
Farmer had been to Lincoln just twice before arriving last month and still laughs about how he ended up a Husker. His mom was against an official visit — “she didn’t even want to go” — but was won over by the academics and options that will help him get into sports communication. He connected with Georgia natives like linebacker Mohamed Barry and tight end Katerian Legrone, not to mention the coaching staff.
The falling snow and roaring Memorial Stadium crowd that pushed Nebraska to a win over Michigan State put Farmer over the top as he committed that mid-November weekend.
“I’ve made so many connections to Nebraska already; I feel like I’ll be at home,” Farmer said. “I’ve been in Atlanta all my life. I feel like I can focus on school and football there.”
Coaches want Farmer to add 10 to 15 pounds eventually, though he could still see early action considering the Huskers graduated their top three safeties from last season. Frost has also told the teen — a talented left-handed pitcher and outfielder — he is welcome to try out for the baseball team. And he might.
But Farmer’s tone drops when he discusses his real motivators — friends and family. In the last three years, he’s had three friends die from gunshots while two others passed away in a car accident. He can name other teammates who never got the chance he has to play major college football.
The son of a counselor and middle school math teacher also wants to make proud his parents who sacrificed for him throughout. His dad coached him and four siblings growing up. Now it’s time to pay it back.
Farmer knows he’ll have to trade in that “underrated” label when that happens. Until then, he’s happy to hold it a little longer.
“I’m the humble kid on the field,” Farmer said. “I don’t really do all that trash talking and stuff like that. If I make a big play, it’s the big play talking. If they don’t know who I am, they don’t know who I am. But they’re going to know who I am by the end of the game.”
Photos: Nebraska football's 2019 recruiting class
Check out photos of each member of Nebraska football's 2019 recruiting class.