The first Nebraska football game Luke Gifford attended? Oh, probably not long after he learned to walk.
The Gifford family has long had season tickets in East Stadium. From the 33rd row, young Luke watched games on fall Saturdays wondering what it might be like to be down on the field.
He'll soon find out.
On Monday, the Lincoln Southeast standout became the first player to commit to NU’s 2014 recruiting class.
One advantage of being an in-town recruit: You can tell the coach the good news in person. Gifford did just that, visiting Monday's practice to tell Bo Pelini he was on board.
“He told me ‘Welcome to the family. You just made the football team better,’” Gifford said.
It was a quick and easy decision for Gifford, who received a scholarship offer from Nebraska just a week ago.
Gifford talked it over with his family for a few days. But everyone realized there really wasn’t much to think about.
"I had really known from the beginning that I wanted to be a Husker," Gifford said.
Listed at 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, Gifford played both tight end and safety for the Knights last year. And Southeast coach Ryan Gottula said Gifford will play quarterback in addition to safety this fall.
A starter at safety since his sophomore year, Gifford earned Super-State honors last season after recording 99 tackles and two interceptions.
Not only did Gifford lock opponents down in the passing game, his ability to come up and play the run like a linebacker also stood out.
“It was pretty easy to see early on he was going to be a pretty special player at the high school level,” Gottula said.
While Gifford probably is slotted by Nebraska as a safety prospect for the time being, he could also possibly play linebacker or tight end at the next level with the addition of some weight.
For now, Gifford will take on the role of recruiter.
"I hope to be a leader in the class,” he said.
There will be plenty of recruiting attention on D.J. Foster, Gifford's high school teammate. The offensive lineman has offers from Nebraska and the likes of Florida and Georgia.
Will Gifford be in his ear a bit?
"I will, but I know he has a lot of stuff to think about and he's going to be hearing a lot from everybody else," Gifford said. "I'm going to give him a little bit of space, but he'll always hear from me some."
Foster's decision will come in time.
Monday was a big day for another Knight. It’d be fair to say it created its share of excitement around the Gifford house.
“It’s kind of a dream come true for all of us,” Gifford said. “To have a Husker in the family, I know they’re really excited.”