COZAD — Cozad senior Conor Young was getting impatient.
Signing day was a week away when Haymaker football coach Brian Cargill called Young down to his office. It had been a while since Young had contact with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The coaching change from Bo Pelini — someone Young was looking forward to possibly playing for — to Mike Riley put that dream in jeopardy.
“I tried to be patient with them with all of the coaching changes they went through and getting their recruiting classes set up,” Young said. “It’s been hectic the last month.”
In that time, he went on a couple of recruiting visits. The University of Wyoming and Doane College also interested Young. Getting down to the wire, he still wasn’t sure of his next step.
Well, until Cargill delivered the good news.
Nebraska offered Young the walk-on spot he’d been waiting for. With that, his mind was all but made.
Young made that decision official on Wednesday when he signed his letter of intent to join the Husker football program.
“I knew I was waiting for that opportunity at Nebraska,” Young said. “I had my heart set on it. In the back of my mind, that’s where I knew I was going to end up.”
The all-state selection led Cozad to a Class C1 title as a junior and a semifinal appearance as a senior, where he took over the reins at quarterback.
He’ll follow in the footsteps of his former Haymaker teammate, Alex Boryca, who walked on at UNL last year.
Boryca and Kearney Catholic graduate and fellow Husker walk-on Blake Holtmeier were two of the people Young consulted about the new coaching staff.
Like Young, they were Pelini supporters. But after they got a feel for Riley and his staff, they passed along their positive early impressions.
“That was a big thing for me to get some reassurance from some guys that I know and trust that it’s still an awesome place,” Young said. “It’s really a tradition for Nebraska boys wearing that ‘N’ on the side of your helmet. That’s what it’s all about.”
Young knows he’ll be wearing the Husker uniform. The position he’ll play in that uniform, however, remains to be seen.
In the Huskers’ official signing day release, he was listed as an athlete. He played — and starred — at quarterback, safety and receiver in his last two seasons at Cozad.
Ideally, the 6-1 Young said he’ll line up as a receiver. But given his skill set, he said he’d be willing to provide whatever scout team look is needed.
Young already knows about that process from his brother, Dreu, who was also a former walk-on.
Like Conor, Dreu played multiple positions and even earned his way into the starting lineup four times as a sophomore. He took advantage of the chance given, which is something Young hopes to do, as well.
“All (Dreu) told me was that if you get the opportunity, you’ve got to take it,” Young said. “That’s all you can ask for is the opportunity. Now it’s up to me to go down there, work my butt off and prove to them that I belong to be down there.”
I knew I was waiting for that opportunity at Nebraska. I had my heart set on it. In the back of my mind, that’s where I knew I was going to end up.”