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'I've just always wanted to be a Husker': Southeast's Buettenback deepens family's NU roots with verbal pledge

'I've just always wanted to be a Husker': Southeast's Buettenback deepens family's NU roots with verbal pledge

Steve Warren football camp, 7.25

Lincoln Southeast's Max Buettenback runs in the 40-yard dash  during the Warren Academy’s Top Prospects Showcase in July at the Omaha Sports Complex in Omaha.

One of the top young athletes in Lincoln is the latest to commit to the Nebraska baseball team. 

Max Buettenback, a sophomore at Lincoln Southeast, announced Saturday afternoon his intention to play for Will Bolt and the Huskers, continuing Nebraska's strong run of securing young, in-state talent.

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Buettenback is the third member of Nebraska's 2023 recruiting class, joining Beatrice's Tucker Timmerman and Texas standout Travis Sykora.

"I've always been a hardcore Husker fan — growing up here, my dad playing here, my uncle playing here," Buettenback said. "I've just always wanted to be a Husker."

He'll continue a family tradition of playing high-level sports.

His father is Ben Buettenback, a Hastings native who played football at Nebraska from 1995-99. The elder Buettenback appeared in 28 games as a reserve linebacker. His mother, Megan, was a three-sport athlete in high school.

An uncle, Bo Buettenback, played basketball for another Big Red. Bo spent his four-year college career at Cornell, where he played in 97 games with 37 starts and averaged 4.6 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. He is currently the boys basketball coach at Ralston.

Dad and uncle are legendary prep sports figures in Hastings, where they teamed up to lead the Tigers to the 1993 Class A state football championship. Ben also played on the Hastings' 1994 Class B title team.

Another uncle, Matt Vrzal, was an offensive lineman at Nebraska from 1992-96.

Max is a fine football player in his own right. A running back and linebacker, he was a dominant force on Lincoln Southeast's freshman team last season before joining the varsity squad late in the year. 

He saw time in Southeast's 2019 regular-season finale against Lincoln Northeast, rushing for 31 yards and a touchdown. He also scored a touchdown Friday night in the Knights' 14-10 win over Kearney.

The gridiron and the diamond have gone back and forth as Buettenback's favorites most of his life, he said.

"I just really love the competitiveness and the teamwork aspect of it," Buettenback said of football.

He also took part in the Warren Academy Top Prospects Showcase in July, competing alongside NU tight end commit Thomas Fidone and Norris tight end James Carnie, among others.

Buettenback isn't too bad on the baseball diamond, either. He hit .500 with a .616 on-base percentage and a .741 slugging percentage in 29 games this summer for Nebraska Prospects 2023.

A catcher since he was eight years old, Buettenback said NU's coaches project him as a catcher and corner infielder at the next level, with a bat good enough to hit in the middle of the lineup. 

"I really love coach Bolt's philosophies of hard work and everything, because that's exactly what I want to do every day," Buettenback said.

One of his teammates on that Nebraska Prospects squad is Timmerman.

Of the 20 prospects Nebraska has received commitments from in the 2021, 2022 and 2023 classes, 12 are from Nebraska.

"Coach has been telling me that they don't just want to go after in-state kids, but they want to go after kids they think will work hard," Buettenback said. "And they see that in a lot of in-state kids. That's pretty cool."

Contact the writer at or 402-473-7436. On Twitter @HuskerExtraCB.


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Husker men's basketball/baseball reporter

A Ravenna native, Chris covers the University of Nebraska men's basketball team and assists with football coverage. He spent nearly 10 years covering sports at the Kearney Hub and nearly four years at the Springfield News-Leader in Springfield, Mo.

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