LINCOLN — The Lincoln Southwest auditorium is normally reserved for the Silver Hawks’ stars of the stage.
But on Wednesday morning, two football talents took that stage. Linebacker Nick Leader and kicker Dylan Jorgensen signed walk-on offer agreements to play at Nebraska. A third Silver Hawk, Caden McCormack, committed to walking on at Nebraska but will wait until the February signing day to make it official.
This type of ceremony is starting to become a yearly tradition at Southwest. Leader and Jorgensen make six Silver Hawks to sign with Nebraska as walk-ons the past two years.
Last year, the Silver Hawks produced four Husker walk-ons — linebacker Anthony Banderas, wide receiver Justin Holm, long snapper Cameron Pieper and offensive lineman Collin Shefke.
“Many of our guys have had the dream of being a Husker and running out of the tunnel,” Southwest coach Andrew Sherman said. “Besides the dream of being a Husker, the improvements NU recently made on the field along with the family culture is a huge reason for the walk-on success.”
Leader — a 6-foot-2, 210-pound outside linebacker/defensive end — led Southwest with nine sacks and 19 tackles for loss. He was fourth on the team in total tackles (76).
Jorgensen was 7 of 11 kicking field goals with a long of 47 yards and made all 29 extra-point attempts.
McCormack — a 6-2, 210-pound inside linebacker — tallied 149 total tackles, four sacks and one interception. He also rushed for 455 yards and four touchdowns.
“Our guys have witnessed the success of Brandon Reilly and Tyler Hoppes,” Sherman said of former Silver Hawks turned Husker walk-ons. “These guys have gone from walk-ons to earning starting spots to getting shots in the NFL.”
Sherman said there’s no secret behind his program producing Husker walk-ons. But before Nebraska’s coaching change to Scott Frost, Southwest hadn’t seen a Husker coach visit the school since Barney Cotton, an assistant at NU from 2008-14.
That seems to be changing under Nebraska’s new leadership.
The walk-ons “have turned down a lot of money/scholarships to walk on at Nebraska,” Sherman said. “To be 100 percent honest, coaches coming into our building and showing interest in our guys is huge.”
Sign up for Big Red Today news alerts
Get a daily Husker news roundup, recruiting updates and breaking news in your inbox.
Nebraska's 2019 walk-on class
The eight who have been admitted to the university and paid their enrollment deposit:
Defensive lineman Matt Huser (Millard West)
Kicker Dylan Jorgensen (Lincoln Southwest)
Linebacker Nick Leader (Lincoln Southwest)
Center Riley Moses (Fillmore Central)
Athlete Luke Reimer (Lincoln North Star)
Offensive lineman Eli Richter (Kearney Catholic)
Defensive end Sam Shurtleff (Watkinsville, Ga.)
Offensive lineman Noah Stafursky (York)
Other players who have previously announced they intend to walk on at NU but have not yet been officially announced by the school:
Punter Grant Detlefsen (Lincoln Southeast)
Running back Zach Weinmaster (Loveland, Colo.)
Cornerback Cam Kleinschmidt (Lincoln High)
Linebacker Caden McCormack (Lincoln Southwest)