The beginning is coming fast for Nebraska football’s incoming freshmen.
The Huskers are getting as many of their 2018 signees to campus as possible to start their mandatory summer program on May 22, almost two weeks before the June summer class session begins.
That’s made possible by an NCAA-wide wavier, which was first granted last summer and was recently extended to cover this one, that allows schools to get student-athletes moved in and into summer workout programs early, an NU official confirmed.
Head coach Scott Frost referenced the impending decision last week on the "Sports Nightly" radio program.
"We’re trying to decide, based on the rules right now, if we can get them here in late May or if it’s going to be June," he said. "The sooner those guys can get to campus and start working with our team, the better chance we’re going to have of getting help out of those guys this year."
May it is.
While any team can benefit from the extra time, NU will certainly try to expedite the learning process for new players, many of whom have a real chance of earning significant roles through fall camp.
The Huskers had eight scholarship early enrollees, leaving 16 more to join the program this summer.
Of course, not all will be able to be in Lincoln before Memorial Day. For instance, defensive lineman Casey Rogers said before the spring game that he graduates from Avon Old Farms prep school in Connecticut on May 27. Well before he knew when exactly the offseason program would start, he was already planning on an aggressive road trip to arrive here by May 29. His parents live in Syracuse, New York. He might have time for a stop.
“Maybe for a couple hours,” he said. “We aren’t really sure how exactly I’m going to get out there. The easy part is I already live in a dorm room, so I’m just going to send everything I have here out to there.”
That’s the kind of urgency Frost and company must love. Rogers said he thought Parker, Colorado, defensive end Tate Wildeman was likely to be in town early, too, and Beatrice tight end Cameron Jurgens told the Journal Star before the spring game that he’d arrive on campus on or about May 22 as well.
On Tuesday, Mansfield, Texas, safety Cam’Ron Jones expressed excitement when he tweeted, “Trent just called and moved my move in date back up to this month,” apparently referencing director of football and recruiting administration Trent Mossbrucker.
— BUBBA (@camgonework15) May 1, 2018
Graduation dates, high school calendars and other plans will prevent some from arriving as early as others. As always, NU is going to be sure of a student’s academic standing before he starts summer work on campus. That could mean that some arrive in June, in July or even just before players report for camp Aug. 1. But it’s clear that the press is on to get as many days as possible this summer for new players.
Of those who were here for spring ball, some will stay on campus and work and some will head home or elsewhere at least for a few weeks as finals wrap up officially on Friday.
“A few are staying for pre-session to get some work done academically,” Frost said last week. “The guys need a break, they need to get away. I want them energized and ready to rock when they get back on campus for summer conditioning.”
For many new guys, though, summer work starts in just three weeks.