Twenty years after Nebraska’s last national title, its relationship with in-state high schools is broken, and the damage is more serious than fans understand. Scott Frost knows the blueprint, but rebuilding Nebraska will be more difficult than just following Tom Osborne’s plan.
Hartington, a town resisting the forces of rural decline, hasn’t boasted a Husker football letterman since its All-America guard 17 years ago. But Scott Frost is back in Lincoln and there’s hope that the drought may end soon, perhaps with a 250-pound junior born two weeks before Russ Hochstein made the NFL.
What happened to Omaha’s tradition of blue-chip, no-brainer, everybody-in-the-country-wants-him prep All-Americans? Gale Sayers and Johnny Rodgers. Dave Rimington and Larry Station. Ahman Green and Eric Crouch. Where are those guys?
What happened in Giltner is a prime example of Nebraska’s in-state recruiting failures over the past 15 years. Another instance of a program that lost track of its identity and abandoned its roots.
Auburn had 81 players on its 2006 state championship football team. Last fall it had 29. Dozens of kids have turned away from football and found an alternative — cross country.
Interstate 29 represents one of Scott Frost’s biggest in-state recruiting headaches. FCS schools in the Dakotas can’t compete with a Nebraska scholarship offer, but they can damage the Huskers' depth by taking players that may have otherwise walked on at Nebraska.
The 20th century is gone and Nebraska's signature position for native sons no longer exists. College football’s evolution rendered fullbacks obsolete.
Growing Latino populations have reshaped Nebraska, infusing industrial towns like Columbus with energy and culture. But those new families rarely take interest in Nebraska’s flagship sport, at least not immediately.
Bob Schnitzler built Battle Creek into one of the state's best small-town football programs. Now, 26 years after the last state championship, the purple and gold is coming back. Maybe this time Nebraska can follow Battle Creek’s lead.
This wasn’t part of the dream. Ben Stille was born four days after Matt Davison scooped the football out of the Missouri night. Less than two months before Nebraska’s last national title.
Tom Osborne could draw up option plays during his REM cycle. He could demonstrate the complexities of a pulling tackle and recite the nuances of holding penalties. He could watch a three-second play and evaluate all 22 participants.
Every two years, Matt McGinn looks at the new list of high school football classifications and his eyebrows jump.
During interviews for this "Homegrown Huskers" project, coaches from Alliance, Anselmo and Auburn — just to name a few — referenced seeing Nebraska's coaches in their hallways. But as Tom Osborne's predecessors shifted their focus out of state, Nebraska high school coaches — especially in rural areas — felt alienated.
Beau Wood should’ve been Perkins County High School’s starting fullback and defensive end. Instead, he had become a reserve — on the cross-country team.