Dylan Reynolds got the phone call in November. The high school football player from Broken Bow had been offered a chance to be a walk-on for the Nebraska football team.
Kenny Wilhite, who oversees the walk-on program, told Reynolds to talk it over with his family.
So this is how that conversation with his family went: I’m good. You good? 3 … 2 … 1.
“Like, maybe five minutes,” said Reynolds of how long he waited to call Wilhite and accept.
As the cost to attend college rises, some players are thinking more about whether to accept a Husker walk-on offer or attend a lower-level program where they’d receive some athletic scholarship aid, and probably have a better chance to play.
But for many who grew up in the state, the chance to walk on at Nebraska is still a very big deal.
Next week on National Signing Day Nebraska will release the names of players planning to join the program as walk-ons. Those known to be doing so include Trent Hixson from Omaha Skutt; Hunter Miller from Cross County; Cole Frahm from Omaha Burke; Ben Lingenfelter from Cherokee, Iowa; Ethan Cox from Blair and Cody Liske from Bennington.
Just like those players who will sign as scholarship players next week, it’s been a long process for those who will walk on for the Huskers.
Reynolds had been identified as one of the better players in the state more than a year ago, and was invited to Junior Day at Nebraska last year. He was asked to attend some of the Husker football camps, and when he did, he ran a good 40-yard dash time, he said.
“I’m from Broken Bow, kind of out west,” said Reynolds, who earned honorable mention all-state honors in Class C-1 football last fall and won several medals at the state track meet. “People say the (Omaha) metro is so much better competitionwise, so I just wanted to show I had the skill set and speed to get their attention.”
Reynolds is being recruited as an athlete, and hasn’t been told yet if he’ll be working his first day of practice with the wide receivers or defensive backs.
You have free articles remaining.
His only scholarship offer was from Chadron State, an NCAA Division II school about four hours from his home.
“Before Nebraska offered, I was thinking about it,” said Reynolds of the Chadron State offer. “It would have been nice to get your college paid for, and all of that. It was running through my mind. Money does talk a little. Then once Nebraska called, I wasn’t thinking about it anymore."
Reynolds could be the first player from his hometown on the Husker team in more than 20 years.
“My mom and dad have had season tickets ever since I was a little kid, and I just grew up going to those games with my dad every weekend,” Reynolds said. “It’s honestly a great place and they have a great coaching staff, great fans, great facilities and everything appeals to me. It’s kind of a dream come true.”
Although Lingenfelter finished his prep career playing at Washington High School in Cherokee, Iowa, he started high school at Neligh-Oakdale before moving after his mom became school superintendent in Cherokee. His brother, Luke, also walked on at Nebraska, playing in two games over five years.
Lingenfelter had plans for a long time of playing college football, attending more than 10 camps in recent summers. He had three scholarship offers, from Tulane, South Dakota and Northern Iowa.
Lingenfelter said it was exciting when he got offered a walk-on spot during a visit for the Nebraska-Minnesota game in November. He could play either offensive or defensive line.
“At that time I was still considering my other offers, and what I needed to do,” he said. “School was the most important thing I needed to focus on. I want to be an engineer, and Nebraska has a really good engineering program, and the other schools don’t offer engineering.”
He has a 4.0 grade-point average and should earn some academic scholarships.
“The big thing was the engineering degree, and then getting to play Big Ten football at the biggest stage,” Lingenfelter said.