Feels like Jaevon McQuitty has been around a while, doesn't it?
Offered a scholarship by Nebraska in April 2015. Committed in March 2016. Arrived on campus in January 2017.
The top-ranked player in Missouri coming out of Battle High School in Columbia, McQuitty had the look of an immediate contributor when he got to Lincoln.
Then came shoulder surgery shortly before starting his Husker career that limited him during spring ball. And once he finally got going in 2017, a knee injury suffered during a blocking drill 10 practices into fall camp ended his freshman season before it got started.
So the excitement you hear in McQuitty's voice when he talks about being ready for this season? Sure, part of it stems from a new offensive system, new coaches and the chance to make up for a 4-8 season. But it's real, too, in the sense that the redshirt freshman is itching to make up for lost time.
"I'm just looking forward to it all, honestly. I’m looking forward to everything. I look forward to practice every day," McQuitty said after a recent practice. "I've seen it go away twice, and I just take everything for what it is. I don’t take anything for granted. I look forward to everything — meetings, everything.
"It’s been almost two years. I’ve never gone without football that long, so I’m a little crazy. I’m just ready."
How ready? McQuitty said he finished rehab on his injured knee a month or two ahead of schedule. He's so far past the ailment, he said, that he hadn't thought about it until being asked earlier this week.
It certainly didn't seem to affect him in April's spring game, when he hauled in a 25-yard touchdown pass from Adrian Martinez.
That was all fun and games. In the weeks and months since, as Nebraska's crowded receivers room sorts itself out, McQuitty has gone about the business of trying to get on the field at NU's most dynamic position.
In a sense, he's become a forgotten man, lost in the excitement of Stanley Morgan, JD Spielman, Tyjon Lindsey, Mike Williams or whoever the flavor of the week may be.
That's not how he sees things, though.
"I look up to everybody on the roster," McQuitty said. "I feel like, even though I'm not young, I feel like I'm young because I look up to everybody in the room. Everybody's a leader in my eyes."
McQuitty was business-like throughout his interaction with the horde of media surrounding him. But ask him about his brethren at the position, and the praise comes quickly.
"We've come far. We've got a lot of ballers and the rotation's deep, so I feel like that's good," he said. "If everybody's going to be healthy, we're going to score a lot of touchdowns."
Whether any of those touchdowns are in McQuitty's future remains to be seen, but the 6-foot, 205-pounder did catch the attention of NU offensive coordinator Tory Walters in the spring.
“He's physical,” Walters said in April. "He can run. He's got good size, so when the ball's in the air he can go up and make plays. This is really his freshman year. He really missed all of last year, so he's getting some of the cobwebs out."