Red-White Spring Game, 4/15

Nebraska running back Wyatt Mazour (37) finds an opening for a first down in the second half of the Red-White Spring Game in April at Memorial Stadium.

Wyatt Mazour doesn't remember what song was blaring Friday when Nebraska football coach Scott Frost pulled him aside toward the end of practice.

"Money" by Pink Floyd would have fit the moment nicely.

That's because Frost told Mazour, a junior running back from Boone Central High School, that he was one of three Husker walk-ons being put on scholarship.

So, it was a monumental day for the three athletes for reasons that relate directly to football and, well, survival as a college student.

"I'm broke," said Mazour, who has impressed Nebraska coaches with his proficiency in the "Duck R" position, a running back/receiver hybrid, as well as his versatility on special teams.

He's also learned a bit about the banking industry of late.

"I've been taking out a lot of loans and building up a lot of debt," he added, saying he envisions a career as a physical therapist.

The 5-foot-9, 200-pound speedster, plagued by a concussion and assorted injuries in college, characterized his practice encounter with Frost as a surreal moment.

"I couldn't really understand what he was saying because of all the noise," Mazour said. "All I heard was 'one-year scholarship.' I looked over at him, and he kind of had a smirk on his face. I was like, 'Wait, what?' He said it again. I was just kind of shocked and said, 'Appreciate it, coach.'"

Right after practice, Frost gathered the team and announced the big news. In addition to Mazour, junior Jacob Weinmaster and senior Bryan Reimers also were awarded scholarships.

Frost announced to the team each of the scholarship recipients separately, beginning with Weinmaster, an inside linebacker from Loveland, Colorado.

"Right when they called his name, everyone stood up and was screaming and patting him on the back and lifting him up," Mazour said. "I mean, that's a family thing."

Mazour has experienced his share of setbacks since leading Boone Central to a 13-0 record and Class C-1 state championship in 2014. After sitting out as a redshirt in 2015, he played in the second game in 2016 (against Wyoming) before missing the rest of the season with a concussion. He then missed the first five games last season with a quadriceps injury.

This month, he's missed all three major scrimmages because of a shoulder injury. But he's come back strong this week.

Friday's news helped curb the frustration he felt about his injury.

"For every walk-on who gets here, you have a chip on your shoulder," he said. "For me, a Nebraska kid, I feel like we're kind of slept on when it comes to recruiting. But I got to my dream school, so all I wanted to do is work as hard as I could. And then I earned that scholarship, and now I'm going to work even harder."

Mazour shared a vignette about the 6-foot, 225-pound Weinmaster's freshman season that demonstrates the sort of daily impact Nebraska's walk-on tradition has on the program.

"I remember everybody would be like, 'C'mon, slow down a little bit,'" Mazour said. "But he pushes people. He really gets the best out of everybody. He's a prime example of what it means to be a walk-on here.

"He gave it everything he had every single rep. He's improved so much since he got here because of that effort. He's really led the walk-on class by example, showing what it means to be a walk-on here and how you're supposed to practice."

Meanwhile, the 6-5, 220-pound Reimers, a Lincoln East graduate, battles for playing time in a deep receiving corps. He's appeared in 22 games the past two seasons, with three starts. He has seven career catches, two going for touchdowns.

"Those three guys kind of epitomize the walk-on program to me," Frost said. "They came in here and sacrificed, particularly Jacob, who's paying out-of-state tuition to be here. All three have earned spots on special teams, which is usually your first start to getting on the field. All three of those guys have been selling out to be one of those guys, and they've worked their way up the depth chart. There's hardly anybody on the team that works harder than those guys.

"The team was elated when they heard all three names. It put a smile on my face."

Mazour feels appreciated by the staff, particularly Frost and running backs coach Ryan Held.

"You can tell they are real family people here with every player," Mazour said. "They really want the best for you. They care for you. I've talked to coach Frost about a lot of things, and he's always like, 'Oh, yeah, sure I can do that. No problem, I've got you.' It's just awesome to have that feeling that they appreciate you.

"I just want to be an example for every walk-on that comes in."

Reach the writer at 402-473-7440 or ssipple@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraSip.


Husker columnist

Steven, a lifelong Nebraskan, newspaper enthusiast and UNL grad, joined the Journal Star in 1990 and has covered NU football since 1995.

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