Raymond Central vs. Lincoln Christian, 9.26.14

Lincoln Christian quarterback Jared Bubak pitches the ball during a game against Raymond Central at Abel Stadium on Sept. 26, 2014.

His mom is less than thrilled he's going so far away to college, and she doesn't try to hide her feelings.

His dad hides his emotions better, Jared Bubak says.

"Mom is really mad about it," he said with a quick laugh.

The fact Bubak, the standout Lincoln Christian football player who was born and raised in Lincoln, is headed to Arizona State as part of its 2016 recruiting class makes a lot of sense when you hear him break down reasons for his decision.

In short, he went with a gut feeling.

"You don't really get it until you're actually in the recruiting process," Bubak said Tuesday. "It was just a school I could see myself at. I thought I fit really well there."

Ranked by Rivals.com as the state of Nebraska's top player, Bubak announced his verbal commitment Monday night. He feels strongly about the opportunity. He's ready "to become my own man," he said. Some kids want to make their own way, plain and simple. Even the most fervent of Nebraska fans should be able to wish him well — even if he once was one of their own, unofficially.

The 6-foot-4, 240-pound Bubak had verbally committed to Bo Pelini's staff in September. After Mike Riley was hired in early December, Bubak said, a month passed before he heard from the new staff — which was in the midst of ensuring a strong class of 2015.

Bubak said the period was "very difficult — not knowing exactly if they were going to honor my scholarship or if I would have a spot on the team."

It was around that time when Arizona State prominently entered the picture, he said. He subsequently made a couple of trips to ASU. In an April interview, he said he was torn between ASU and Nebraska. But when he decommitted from NU on June 27, his intentions seemed clear.

"It's kind of hard to explain," he said. "But when I was on ASU's campus, I just knew my connection with the coaches and players and the feel of the campus and the way I fit in the offense, with all that coming together, it made me realize I want to be there."

Arizona State, 10-3 last season (6-3 Pac-12), plans to play Bubak as a 3-back (think H-back). He will line up either on the line of scrimmage or split out in a wide receiver-type look. He might even run the ball sometimes, which makes sense considering how much he rushes as Christian's quarterback.

Arizona State's offense "was a pretty big reason" he chose the school, but not the biggest reason, he said. After all, Nebraska planned to use him in a similar role, as he understood it.

Lest you think Riley and his staff botched Bubak's recruitment, or that Bubak feels ill will toward NU, think again. Bubak expresses only respect for Riley and graduate assistant Tavita Thompson, who's in charge of the tight ends. Bubak wrestled hard with his final decision, describing it as being "very, very difficult."

"Me and my family have been talking about it for about four months," he said. "We've thought about it and prayed about it ..."

After Bubak decommitted from Nebraska last month — a few days after the verbal commitment of tight end Jack Stoll of Aurora, Colorado — Bubak said Riley told him, "We're going to keep recruiting you. If you ever think you made the wrong decision, call us back and you can come back here ..."

With Bubak's announcement made, many folks will turn their attention toward Omaha South defensive end/tight end Noah Fant, ranked as the No. 2 recruit in the state by Rivals.com. Fair or not, Riley and his staff now face added pressure to land Fant, who says his final five, in no particular order, are Vanderbilt, Nebraska, Iowa, UCLA, and California.

Some folks think if Nebraska keeps pursuing Bubak, he'll once again change his mind. But he said his verbal commitment is solid. I'd be shocked if he changed his course again. He's following a gut feeling and heading to one of America's most gorgeous areas -- as Husker fans who recall all those Fiesta Bowl trips would attest.

I'm guessing his parents, Chris and Natalie Bubak, will immensely enjoy many trips to see their son.

"I think it's exciting to start a new chapter and kind of get away from everything, and become my own man," said Jared Bubak, the excitement in his voice offering evidence that he perhaps made a great choice.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7440 or ssipple@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraSip.


Husker columnist

Steven, a lifelong Nebraskan, newspaper enthusiast and UNL grad, joined the Journal Star in 1990 and has covered NU football since 1995.

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