Garrett Hustedt is a serious-minded guy.

Sure, on Tuesday he was running around and laughing and yucking it up with his fellow Shrine Bowl participants and the kids they’re playing for, but it doesn’t take long talking to the Mount Michael (Elkhorn) linebacker to figure out his approach to football.

For instance, the 6-foot-2, 220-pounder could have played in Division II or in the FCS on scholarship if he wanted to. The love for Nebraska played a role in him choosing to walk on with the Huskers, like it has for many players the past two recruiting cycles, but there was something else that stuck in Hustedt’s craw about the thought of going to a lower level.

“I was looking at all these D-II schools and all these other offers, then I realized that I felt in my heart that I would be settling if I went to one of them,” he said. “I felt that, with how much I’ve done and all the talent and the way I’ve been able to progress and all the hard work that, wherever I go, I will be able to rise to the top.”

His next stop is Barrett Ruud’s inside linebackers room. Really, he’s already there, having moved in and participated in the first week of the summer conditioning program before joining several of his teammates in participating in Shrine Bowl week.

“They’re taking it easy on us, I’m not going to lie. (Head strength coach) Zach Duval was like, ‘We’ve got a lot of work for you guys’ and I was so ready for it. Right now we’re in the lower end, but by the time July comes across, he said, ‘We are going to run you.’ Right now it’s kind of been training and a little bit of intense workouts, but we have not scratched the surface yet. It’s going to be something.”

The Huskers don’t think Hustedt has scratched the surface, either. At Mount Michael, he racked up 101 tackles and 8½ sacks at the Class B level.

Would he have gotten more notice had he played for a Class A metro school?

“I know they played pretty good football out there, but I can’t really fully answer that question,” said Omaha Burke head coach Paul Limongi, who is coaching the North team this week. “He’s a good football player, I know that. He can really play and he’s got the size and strength to do well at the next level.”

Hustedt hit it off quickly with the Husker coaches. He signed up for the first camp head coach Scott Frost put on after being hired, right at the beginning of last summer.

“I talked to Coach Frost and he asked me, ‘Do you ever picture yourself being here?’ I was like, ‘I do. I think of myself practicing on this practice field and playing in that stadium.’ And he just said, ‘Well I’m hoping to see you down here because based on your intensity and your effort, I can see it.’

“That’s when I knew I wanted to play for Nebraska.”

Now he is. During the first week, he’s thrown himself right into player-led 7-on-7, working extensively with fellow Shrine Bowl participant and York native Garrett Snodgrass.

“You watch Husker football and you see all those names and all of that, and then you line up 7-on-7 and you see them all and they’re on your team and you’re playing against them and you’re like, ‘Holy cow. I’m in this. I’m part of this team and these are my teammates and this is who I can play with now.’ It really motivates you.

“Being with those guys and hearing them talk and watching the speed that they play with, it’s really something.”

Contact the writer at pgabriel@journalstar.com or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraPG.


Sports writer

Parker joined the Journal Star as the University of Nebraska football beat writer in August 2017. He previously covered Montana State athletics for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2012.

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