LINCOLN — Kade Warner lives only a few miles from the Arizona State campus. The Sun Devils wanted him on their football team, and most of his family resides in the surrounding Phoenix area.
Yet one thought stuck with the record-setting prep wide receiver all week — Nebraska feels more like home.
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound son of Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner announced his choice of schools late Thursday on Twitter. He will join NU as a preferred walk-on over identical offers from ASU, UCLA, Iowa, Northwestern and multiple Ivy League schools.
“I’m very happy with my decision — I’m happy I finally made one,” Warner told The World-Herald. “There’s uncertainty a lot when you’re recruited; you don’t know exactly what you’re going to get. So I’m glad it’s over. I’m glad I have my eyes on the future and the next level and the next chapter of my life. Tonight, it’s more relief than anything.”
The recruiting process lasted more than two years for Warner, who scored 35 touchdowns over three seasons at Scottsdale Desert Mountain High School. Despite the standout seasons, his only scholarship offer came from FCS school San Diego. His connection to Nebraska started with graduate assistant Blair Tushaus, who coached at Warner’s high school in 2015 before coming to Lincoln.
Talks with the Huskers rekindled in recent months, Warner said, when he was running routes for Phoenix Pinnacle High School quarterback Spencer Rattler — a 2019 NU target — and met offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf.
Warner said he wasn’t ready to commit anywhere on national signing day. Instead he continued to weigh his options, then visited Nebraska last weekend with his mother and uncle. He saw a welcoming environment, impressive academic support for student-athletes and a chance to earn playing time.
The senior who lined up at nearly every receiver position for Desert Mountain said he would be happy to compete at any spot in Lincoln. Whether that’s in the slot — where his high football IQ can shine brightest — or bodying up to smaller corners on the outside is up to his new college coaches.
As the son of an unheralded prep football player who went on to win a Super Bowl, Warner has an understanding of and excitement for the challenge on the horizon.
“There’s definitely a chip on my shoulder,” he said. “I’m going to work as hard as I can and try to outwork guys and earn a spot on the field. The goal for everybody is obviously to play at the college level. So I’ll play with some fire, being underrated and not getting any looks. I just come in with the same mentality: I believe in myself, I believe in what I can do.”