The end of high school is coming up fast for Chris Hickman.
The Omaha Burke standout and Nebraska football verbal commitment will sign his National Letter of Intent on Dec. 19, wrap up classes and be headlong into winter conditioning all in the next four or so weeks.
“Obviously I’m excited for it but, then again, I’ll miss high school, too,” Hickman told the Journal Star on Monday.
Hickman is set to join a young, talented tight ends group that features four other scholarship players in Jack Stoll, Austin Allen, Kurt Rafdal and Katerian Legrone.
First things first, Hickman knows, he must hit the weight room hard. He’s a rangy athlete at 6-foot-5 and estimated that he’s currently right around 200 pounds.
“Pretty much just get stronger and hopefully gain a little bit of weight and get a head start in school,” Hickman said of enrolling early.
Where does the staff see him weight-wise? “I’m not exactly sure, but hopefully around 230 pounds my freshman year if I can play.
“They’ll put me on a diet so I’ll be eating specific things. I think that will help, because I don’t necessarily eat the greatest right now and I don’t eat consistently.”
Hickman finished his senior season with 421 receiving yards (22.2 per catch) and four touchdowns and added 39 tackles (10.5 for loss) and 3½ sacks. He finished his high school career with 20 touchdown catches. The Bulldogs, of course, capped off 2018 with their first state championship in school history.
Only a matter of weeks after that win, Hickman will be back to work with his new teammates. Several will be early enrollees, a group that is expected to include Burke teammate Nick Henrich, Scottsbluff outside linebacker Garrett Nelson, junior college running back Dedrick Mills, quarterback Luke McCaffrey, wide receiver Jamie Nance (Blanchard, Oklahoma) and all-purpose back Wandale Robinson (Frankfort, Kentucky).
Hickman’s not afraid of the challenge.
“That’s probably my favorite thing to do is compete, so just to be able to jump right in and compete is going to be fun,” he said.
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Snodgrass slated to play inside: Garrett Snodgrass scored 27 points in his first basketball game of the season and did so on two bum ankles.
The Nebraska football verbal commit and his family feared originally that he might have a fracture in his leg that would keep him from playing hoops all together this winter. Instead, he’s dealing with ligament injuries to both ankles. That’s better than having to have surgery, but basketball season is shaping up a bit slower than he’d hoped.
“It’s been kind of frustrating, but I’ve had a lot of people that have been working with me and I’ve been recovering really quickly,” Snodgrass said. “I hope to be back to about 100 percent by Christmas.”
Once Snodgrass arrives on NU’s campus in May, he’ll be starting his career at inside linebacker under the guidance of Barrett Ruud.
“He’s awesome, I love just being around him and talking to him,” Snodgrass said. “He’s a fun guy and he knows a lot. I’ve already got to talk to him a little bit about the defense, but I’m really, really excited to start learning more about it.”
Piper position TBD: Norfolk Catholic lineman Ethan Piper still has basketball and track seasons to go before he enrolls as a freshman football player at NU in May.
Not only will he wrap up high school in that time, but he’ll also, at some point, know for sure which side of the ball he’ll begin his career on.
The Huskers think Piper is capable of playing either offensive line or defensive line but haven’t pegged him for one or the other just yet.
“It’s up in the air,” he said. “I’d say it’s really about 50/50. They’re kind of fighting over me because I’m pretty fast. They said they’ll figure out what’s going on after March when the roster fills out and after the spring game.”