For as long as he can remember, Garrett Nelson has wanted to be a Nebraska Cornhusker.
His unwavering verbal commitment finally became official when he signed his National Letter of Intent to play football for the University of Nebraska on Wednesday at Scottsbluff High School.
Nelson will graduate from Scottsbluff early to enroll in classes in Lincoln for the spring semester.
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“It’s been a long time in the making, about two years since I committed, so that anticipation building up to signing day and the relief of finally getting there is nice,” Nelson said. “Through the years of working out and doing different things and sacrificing a lot to get to this point definitely means a lot.”
The 6-foot-3, three-star defensive end for the Bearcats verbally committed to NU after attending a Friday Night Lights camp in June of 2017 and never looked back. Even through the end of Mike Riley’s tenure with Nebraska and the transition to Scott Frost, Nelson knew Nebraska was his next home.
“I always wanted to be a Husker and I knew that,” Nelson said.
Nelson joined four other homegrown recruits to sign with the Huskers on Wednesday. York’s Garrett Snodgrass, Norfolk Catholic’s Ethan Piper, and the Omaha Burke duo of Nick Henrich and Chris Hickman all signed their letters. It’s the largest class of in-state signees since 2008.
“Great guys, all of them,” Nelson said of his new teammates. “We talk all the time, not just about football, but about ourselves and about each other. We all have different personalities and come from different places and it all gels beautifully into a football team. That’s what’s great about football and great about Nebraska. You get guys like me from the Midwest and guys from Jersey, Tennessee, Texas and all over. All those guys coming in from different backgrounds and we all come together as a family.”
Nelson is the first player from Scottsbluff to earn a scholarship to play football at Nebraska since the late 1980s when Jamie Worden played for Tom Osborne. Prior to Worden, Scottsbluff has only produced one other scholarship player for the Huskers. That was Frosty Anderson, who graduated from SHS in 1969.
Nelson was Scottsbluff’s most prolific player on defense this fall. He was named to The World-Herald’s All-Nebraska Team after helping the Bearcats to a 12-1 record and a runner-up state finish.
Stats and accolades aside, Nelson turned heads with his energy and passion every time he strapped on his shoulder pads.
“The first thing with Garrett is his character is top notch,” Scottsbluff coach Joe Benson said. “The thing that always sticks out to me is his practice habits. He’s the first guy in line, first guy to help everyone. When you’ve got that type of character with the ability level he has, it makes for a special football player.”
Nelson is also following in his father’s footsteps to become a Husker. Chris Nelson was an All-American wrestler for the Huskers in the early 1990s.
“He’s the one that started it all,” Nelson said of his father. “Things that he’s done for me in my life have definitely meant a lot. I can’t thank him enough for what he’s done. He’s been a great father and I hope to make him proud.”