Year: Junior | Hometown: Kearney (Kearney Catholic) | Depth chart: Not listed at linebacker | In the program: 5-foot-11, 225 pounds

Asking for a shot: “I started sending film to coach Bo Pelini’s staff, and then I kind of just kept persevering and calling them and trying to get on the team. Eventually they called me up a couple of days before Signing Day my senior year of high school and asked me to come on the team. I was actually probably just going to come to school here and just go to school, and then when I got the opportunity to come here, I obviously snagged that right away.”

Academic scholarship powerful tool: “I took visits and thought of a bunch of schools I could play for, but I wasn’t really sure if it was the right fit for me. I just decided if it wasn’t going to be here I’d probably just go to school because I had a Regent’s Scholarship here, so if I was going somewhere else any scholarship I had for football wasn’t the same.”

Big plans: “I’m a business administration major, but I’m pre-med. I actually just applied to med school, so that’s pretty fun. I’ll graduate in August of next year.”

Still hoping for a chance to play: “My first years here were a grind. Just putting my head down and working and trying to do what I can on the scout special teams to show the coaches I’m here to work hard and do what I can to help the team. If it’s not on Saturdays, I’ll do it Tuesday through Friday. I try to give good looks for the offensive guys. I’ve been working on the scout special teams, so hopefully I can show that I can do that, and maybe get a look sometime later in the year.”

Part of some big wins: “I’ve enjoyed just being able to celebrate big wins with my buddies on the team, like Michigan State (in 2015), and last year Oregon was pretty fun, especially to get that win for Coach Riley.”

Inspirational players: “Growing up I loved watching big-time players like (Ndamukong) Suh. Guys like that were out there just killing people. And anytime there was a guy from Nebraska on the team, just being able to see that would keep a fire in you, being able to say, ‘Maybe that could be me one day.’’

About his Kearney Catholic Stars

Location: About 130 miles west of Lincoln.

Connely’s graduating class: 38.

Playoff history: Kearney Catholic has reached the playoffs in 14 of the Past 15 years.

— Brent C. Wagner

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Brent has worked at the Journal Star for 14 years. His beats include Nebraska volleyball, women's basketball and high school soccer and cross country.

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