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Brett Kitrell

Brett Kitrell

He didn't bog himself down in self-pity when adversity struck that second Friday of last season. Brett Kitrell instead leaned on his faith, and some good advice from his father.

"I think my dad really helped me the most, just saying, 'It's not over. Let's attack this and let's get through this,'" Kitrell said.

The D-line/O-line prospect from Ashland-Greenwood is indeed back on the attack after an unwanted detour ended his last football season just as it was beginning.

He'd stood out at the Husker camp circuit last summer as a 2017 recruit to keep close watch on. Ashland-Greenwood already produced one Nebraska recruit when defensive end Ben Stille signed this past February. People wondered if an offer might come Kitrell's way, too.

Then came a rotten play in Week 2 of his junior year. The foe tried to cut-block him. He jumped over the guy, but had a misstep after his landing while getting hit from the side.

"It wasn't good," Kitrell said.

It was the right knee. Football was over for the fall. It took him away from not only the chance to help his team win games, but also to put his talents on display to recruiters.

Obviously, it was devastating at first, Kitrell said, but he also knew his recruiting process was far from over.

He rehabbed hard. His therapist was impressed by how quickly his leg strength returned. The recovery took about 5 1/2 months.

Now Kitrell is throwing the shot put and discus for Ashland-Greenwood (a best of 56 feet, 11 inches in the shot and 162-4 in the discus) and hopes his best is ahead of him at this week's state track meet.

He's been working on D-lineman movements in the mornings, and just attended his first camp Sunday (the Kansas City Rivals camp) since his injury.

He's also been adding to his football offer list. After early opportunities from South Dakota State and South Dakota, a biggie came on May 4 when Minnesota offered. Air Force and Frank Solich's Ohio program joined the list soon after.

"Getting those bigger offers is obviously kind of a relief," Kitrell said. "It's nice, because I did hurt my knee last season and just to see that coaches still believe that I'm a good enough player to get a scholarship. It's been a lot of fun and I can’'t wait to see where it goes."

Nebraska is yet to offer, but the 6-4, 280-pound Kitrell has had talks with D-line coach John Parrella, and is eager to show what he can do at the Husker program's Big Man Camp on June 13.

Kitrell's brother, Bo, is already a walk-on sophomore fullback at Nebraska. Their father, Barry Kitrell, was an NU letterwinner at fullback in 1988, in his final year in the program just as Parrella was beginning his first.

What's Parrella told the recruit?

"Just wants me to show them I'm all the way back, all the way healthy, can move around really well and can get off the ball well," Kitrell said.

It should make for an interesting June, as prospects from all over make their cases at Nebraska's camps.

Ryan Gunderson, NU's director of player personnel, has said he thinks there's a lot of good in-state players in the 2017 class.

The summer camps, which will include three Friday Night Lights events, will be a major evaluating tool.

"I think we just want to see them live," Gunderson said earlier this month. "I can't even say it enough, but the amount of development between September of their junior year and June going into their senior year is incredible."

It was a day after one of those Friday Night Lights camps last year when Kitrell's old teammate, Stille, committed to Nebraska.

Kitrell was happy to have Stille taking up the same weight room and practice field the last few years. They both are the better for it.

"Having Ben here, he kind of just showed us how it's done," Kitrell said. "We push each other in the weight room, and had each other to push around and do lineman stuff together. We've just worked our tails off and it's paying off for us."

Reach the writer at 402-473-7439 or bchristopherson@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraBC.

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