Despite adversity early in his career, Braxton Clark stuck with the Huskers. Now it's paying off

Nebraska's Braxton Clark picks off a pass in the fourth quarter against Northern Illinois. 

LINCOLN — Braxton Clark had surgery earlier this year on his shoulder. He was experiencing his first Nebraska winter. He wasn’t practicing in camp and two of the defensive backs who came in his recruiting class — Cam’ron Jones and CJ Smith — were transferring out of the program.

But Clark, a redshirt freshman from Orlando, Florida, chose to stay at NU. His support system got him through tough moments.

“My parents, my teammates, the coaches,” said Clark, who had his first career interception Saturday night in the NIU game. “Just being mentally tough, really.”

His parents told him to stay focused and put his best foot forward. And defensive backs coach Travis Fisher told Clark what he needed to hear about his game, not what he wanted to hear.

“At the end of the day, he’s not going to lie to you,” Clark said.

Clark didn’t mind. He’s heard blunt coaches all his life in Florida high school football. They’ll come to you two or three times, Clark said, and you’d better fix your issues by then or risk seeming uncoachable.

Clark leaned most on former safety Tre Neal and current Nebraska defensive backs Dicaprio Bootle and Deontai Williams, both of whom are originally from Florida. Their support paid off with the fourth-quarter interception, in which Clark was in zone defense and NIU quarterback Ross Bowers, under pressure, threw the ball right to Clark.

“I couldn’t believe it at first,” Clark said. “It was a little surprising. It was a blessing. Hopefully, all of them come like that.”

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