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Lincoln Southwest vs. Kearney, 10/5

Kearney quarterback Brayden Miller finds a gap against Lincoln Southwest on Oct. 5 at Beechner Athletic Complex.

Brayden Miller says the offense he orchestrated at Kearney High and the one he’s starting to learn at Nebraska are very different.

The walk-on Husker quarterback, though, is excited for the challenge and thinks he’s got a weapon that will help him navigate the steep learning curve that awaits.

“They like the athleticism I bring to the room,” Miller said this week. “I feel like I have an advantage on some guys because of my athleticism, and now I just have to learn the offense.”

Indeed, quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco recruits more to particular skill sets and athletic and mental traits rather than statistics. And within the state of Nebraska, looking for a walk-on, Miller is the guy he wanted.

A 6-foot 200-pounder, Miller threw for 1,371 yards (53.1 percent completions) and 15 touchdowns against 12 interceptions, and also rushed for 596 yards (6.3 per carry) and seven more scores.

“I had quite a few other schools that I was looking at,” Miller said. “It was a pretty tough decision between Pittsburg State and a few other schools. All in all, I just felt that Nebraska was the place for me. That’s where I wanted to go. My dad played there, so it was pretty cool that I have the chance to play there, too.

“If I went to D-II or FCS or whatever, you’re going to have to work hard no matter what. So I just figured I wanted to do it at the highest level.”

He’s known for quite a while now that he would have the chance. Miller said Verudzco told him to stay in touch after a camp last summer, then interest really picked up after Kearney’s season ended and Miller played in the River Battle Bowl.

“I got the walk-on offer on Christmas,” he said. “Coach Verduzco called me on Christmas morning. That was a pretty cool Christmas gift. Then I went on a visit and I committed right before National Signing Day.”

Now he joins a room that features sophomore starter Adrian Martinez, sophomore Noah Vedral, freshman Luke McCaffrey, junior walk-on Andrew Bunch and redshirt freshman walk-on Matt Masker, who starred at Kearney Catholic.

Verduzco insists he doesn’t differentiate whatsoever between scholarship players and walk-ons, and last year pushed Masker to learn and improve as quickly as possible. NU’s depth is much better this year, but the expectations will be no different for Miller.

“(Verduzco) is a character, but he looks out for my best interest and he’s there for me and he’s going to push me and push us to work our butts off,” Miller said. “He’s one of those guys that, no matter what, he’s going to tell you how it is and he’s going to be black and white about it. He’s not going to sugarcoat it. He told me that, just work my butt off and the results will follow.”

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

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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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