Imagine walking into practice every day, and seeing a giant picture of yourself hanging on the wall as you walk in.
That's the reality for Nebraska's returning 157-pound All-American Tyler Berger.
Just outside the Huskers' wrestling room is a picture of Berger after he pinned Michigan’s Brian Murphy in a dual with the Wolverines last year.
“It’s weird there, but that is one of my favorite moments so far in my college wrestling experience,” Berger said. “That was such a hyped-up win.”
That isn’t the only thing that makes Berger a little different from others.
Despite taking fifth place in nationals in March, the junior is not the best at his weight in the practice room, thanks to Jordan Burroughs, a world and Olympic champion, and James Green, twice a world medalist and a four-time Husker all-American.
“Having Jordan and James in the room, I’m not the best guy in the room,” Berger said. “If I can beat Jordan Burroughs, then I’m the best guy in the world. So I’m in the best situation for a 157-pounder in the country.”
Berger said he watches them, and just tries to soak up everything the two former Husker greats do to be successful.
Being surrounded by those world-class athletes and with plenty of success under his belt, Berger’s confidence has skyrocketed. That is something that he doesn’t take lightly.
“Tyler has developed in the past years, not only his talent but his mindset, and his mentality, and him as a person,” Nebraska coach Mark Manning said.
After a close win in the Wyoming dual to open the year, Berger bluntly said he was not happy with how he wrestled, despite beating No. 17 Archie Colgan.
Berger said he expected to get bonus points in that match against a ranked wrestler, and he was disappointed with his performance.
That is just the type of guy Berger is.
“I find my confidence in training. I pride myself on how hard I can work, and try to push myself to the next level," Berger said. "I just think that when I do what I do, there is no reason not to be confident."
So with his mural on the wall and confidence to last a lifetime, Berger’s title hunt is on, and it is all started one piece at a time.
“Little challenges like eating the right stuff, when it’s late at night, you’re tired and it would be easy to just go and eat some ice cream,” Berger said, “That is the difference.”