The first time Luke McCaffrey visited Nebraska’s campus, he had just received a scholarship offer four days earlier and rushed to get a trip together during which he and his dad could come to Lincoln, take in a Husker spring practice, meet the coaching staff and take part in a junior day.
His second trip was much more relaxed, but no less exciting.
Now verbally committed to Nebraska as the program’s quarterback for the 2019 class, McCaffrey returned to take in Friday Night Lights II, spend some quality time with his future teammates and help recruit more players to the current 10-man class.
"It was incredible," McCaffrey said. "Any time I’m up there it’s a great experience, and it was really nice to meet so many of the (2019 verbal) commits. We really bonded together and that was really cool, and we tried to encourage some other guys to think about Nebraska.
“There was a different feel because it really just felt like family. On my first visit, that was one of the main things I liked, but now that I know I’m going there, I can really get into more things and ask more questions and really get deep into picturing myself there.”
McCaffrey committed June 4, and since then has been active on social media in congratulating other additions — Georgia running back Ronald Thompkins II and Louisiana tackle Matthew Anderson have pledged for the Huskers in the past three weeks — and also learning more about his future home.
One thing that’s already clear: NU’s 2019 class is growing close very quickly. McCaffrey spent time catching up on the sideline with fellow verbal commit Garrett Nelson (Scottsbluff). The two are planning on rooming together upon arriving in Lincoln and, not surprisingly, have hit it off.
“He’s a great character,” McCaffrey said. “Him and Garrett Snodgrass. Really all the commits. Jackson Hannah. Ethan Piper. A few guys weren’t there, but it was really cool to meet them for the first time in person and really connect.
"I thought we really did bond as a team already just in that one experience.”
The 6-foot-1, 180-pound, three-star high school senior, who will be playing quarterback full time in the fall for the first time in his career at Valor Christian High in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, also spent a good chunk of time with quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco and some of his future position-mates.
“(Verduzco) and I talked about a lot of different things,” McCaffrey said. “We don’t want to get too deep into concepts from a terminology standpoint just because I still have to play my senior year, but we talked a lot about just how to make progressions and what it’s going to be like when I get here and how they do installations and just what it’s going to be like from that standpoint.”
Freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez greeted McCaffrey on the sideline during the camp with a handshake and a hug.
“It was really cool when I first committed, he reached out to me and just said congrats and welcome to the brotherhood and that we have each others' backs,” McCaffrey said. “That was cool because we’re going to be competing and it could be awkward, but at the end of the day, we’re brothers.”
McCaffrey, of course, is no stranger to high-profile football. He chatted with a reporter Tuesday evening with not only both of his older brothers — Christian of the Carolina Panthers and Max of the San Francisco 49ers — around the house between minicamps ending and the start of training camps next month, but so, too, was an ESPN crew filming something on the brothers.
Even still, with so much experience and so many big games already played in the family, seeing Memorial Stadium approximately 3 percent full on Friday night was enough to cause the youngest McCaffrey to imagine what the building will be like with 85,000 more in attendance.
“I tried to do that a ton,” he said. “Even just with that many people, you could hear the noise and feel the energy.”