Walking on

One of greatest traditions that we have at Nebraska is the walk on program.   Bob Devaney started the walk-on tradition At Nebraska (some would disagree with that point), but Tom Osborne perfected it.

“The walk-on program didn’t really necessarily have a day or year that it started. Remember, it’s only been in the last 60 years or so that they’ve given athletic scholarships, so, in theory, the players on the teams for the first 60 years were all walk-ons. With that said, Langston Coleman is kind of seen as the first successful walk-on player since they started giving out scholarships. Coleman came to NU in the 60s… But, the walk-on program was not all that important until the NCAA started limiting scholarships in the 70s. Once that happened, the program gained prominence and importance, with players like Toby and Jimmy Williams earning honors.”  Nate Rohr

I.M. Hipp is another one of those great walk-ons that went through the historic program.

This is the link for NET…  I was hoping the full length video of what NETV did on the walk-ons would be on this site, but all we get is about 3 minutes.  The site is still good because they have a couple other links, one with Steven M. Sipple and the other is from the Husker’s home page. 

There have been many good walk-ons that have come through the Nebraska system and all of them have gone on to do bigger and better things.  Like the video said, the kick heard around the world was orchestrated by three walk-ons, probably the most well know being Alex Henery.  The story of Derek Meyer’s comeback to Nebraska and now Scott Criss walking on after playing a season in Wyoming is a telling story of what players feel about playing for the Huskers.The walk-on influence: Carl Pelini was the guest speaker at the Walk-On Club luncheon Thursday.

Pelini said walk-ons have tended to have a very positive influence on scholarship players who are new to the area and trying to understand what makes the program so special.

These kids from New Jersey or Florida or L.A. who have come to play for the University of Nebraska, we’re not just immersing them in our fan support, we’re immersing them every day in the locker room with a group of kids who grew up in this state dreaming of the day they could wear that uniform,” Pelini said. “And these kids from other areas … it’s hard to turn your back on that when you see how much pride (walk-ons) take in this program and how much it means to them.”

Walk-ons fill an important role in the grand scheme

“Brandon Rigoni was another role model walk-on for me, and he told me something interesting the other day,” Wesch said. “Brandon said: ‘Jake, have you ever thought that you and I got to do something because someone else wasn’t willing to give the maximum effort that you and I gave?”

Wesch thought about the pearl of wisdom and quickly agreed. “You’re right,” he told Rigoni, now a member of Nebraska’s strength and conditioning staff. “Walk-ons are an important part of this program’s equilibrium. We help the team never get too high when we win and never get too low when we lose. We grew up working hard every single day just hoping we could get one play on that field, even if it took us five years to get there.”

Wesch knows what it takes to get there, what it takes to stay there and why a certain work ethic has to be interwoven into every single challenge every single day.


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