LINCOLN — Nebraska football’s braintrust doesn’t know exactly what to expect from fans Friday night when the Huskers kick off three weeks of camps with a Friday Night Lights event at Memorial Stadium.
NU chose to open the “FNL” camp — held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. — to the public. Fans will get to watch what reporters and the parents of prospects saw last season: a lot of high school kids in numbered jerseys doing their best to impress coaches, all while a medley of rock and rap plays over the Memorial Stadium speakers.
Those fans probably won’t get as close as some West Coast Husker fans did at NU’s recent camp in Calabasas, California, but they’ll get more of a peek at how broad Nebraska’s search for prospects can be and how assistants coach in those settings.
Dan Van De Riet, Nebraska’s director of football operations, is intrigued to see what happens.
“I’m not sure how many will show up,” he said. “Could be two, could be 200, could be 2,000. It’s warm Friday night in Lincoln, and we hope people come out and watch.”
The June 17 and June 24 Friday Night Lights camps will also be open to the public. Presuming the weather remains good, all of the camp should take place inside Memorial Stadium, since the Hawks Center is having new turf installed.
If the weather should turn rainy — that won’t be the case Friday night, as the forecast calls for no rain and sizzling temperatures near 100 degrees — Nebraska would move its camp to Cook Pavilion, the Huskers’ first indoor football home.
Van De Riet said Nebraska has around 1,250 campers signed up during the next several weeks. On Monday, NU will conduct its “Big Man” one-day camp for offensive and defensive linemen; most of the state’s top linemen are planning to attend. The Huskers’ skill positions camp follows the next day. Nebraska has expanded its youth camps — for third-graders through eighth-graders, holding three two-day sessions.
The June 17 and June 24 FNL camps are already filled, according to the Big Red Football School website. The FNL camps helped the Husker coaching staff evaluate and offer several players in the 2015 cycle, including 2016 signee Ben Stille and 2018 commit Cam Jurgens, who wowed during one-on-one pass reception drills, nabbed an offer, and committed to Nebraska shortly thereafter.
At one of the Friday Night Lights events last year, current 2017 Husker commit Keyshawn Johnson Jr. also worked out, as did several three-star prospects from the Midwest.
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