There was little doubt Saturday night that Nebraska had landed a major player when Nick Henrich verbally committed to the Huskers. The Omaha Burke linebacker is the top-rated high school prospect in Nebraska, after all. However, the Huskers received much more than a talented athlete. Just ask Burke head coach Paul Limongi.
As schools visited Henrich over the last year — Iowa, Florida, Penn State and Texas A&M, to name a few — they saw more than the athlete. In many cases, Henrich's offers list grew as programs had the opportunity to see him off the football field.
"I think some of the schools that came in were a little unsure about him, but once they saw him and once they talked to him, I think the hesitation about an offer was off the table," Limongi told Hail Varsity. "They just witnessed how intelligent he is, how respectful he is, how courteous he is, how grounded he is. Even his rapport with other students in the hallway was something that I think they really admired."
With so many programs interested, it could have been difficult for Henrich to make a decision. Limongi was proud of how Henrich handled it all.
"I know it's been a long process for him, but he did it exactly the way he should do it," Limongi said. "He took his time. He did his research. He put in the work. I think he looked at all the different avenues with all the different schools that were after him and he made a great choice in Nebraska.
"It's just a great fit for him with his education and his football career."
Part of finding that fit at Nebraska was establishing a relationship with inside linebackers coach Barrett Ruud.
"They hit it off from the get-go and I think both parties felt the same way," Limongi said. "I think Nick really admires Coach Ruud, and they built a relationship right away. I think Nick really looks forward to learning the position and more about football from him."
And for as much as Henrich admires Ruud, the admiration goes just as much the other way. Limongi noted that during Ruud's many visits to Burke over the last several months, he saw a player that was going to work hard and be very coachable.
"Nick will make it a very easy job for him, I think," Limongi said.
Limongi also thinks Nebraska fans will enjoy getting to know Henrich, both on and off the field. As for his performance on the field?
"They're going to get a tremendous football player that is going to contribute and help that football program go far in the next four years," Limongi said. "He's going to be a leader on that defense. They're getting a heck of a football player."
But that's not all. For everything Henrich brings on the field, Limongi sees even greater things off of it.
"As good as a player he is, he's an even better person."
Erin is the Deputy Editor and Digital Marketing Strategist for Hail Varsity. She has covered Nebraska athletics since 2012, which has included stops at Bleacher Report, Cox Media Group’s Land of 10, and even Hail Varsity (previously from 2012-2017). She has also been featured on the Big Ten Network, NET’s Big Red Wrap-Up, and a varsity of radio shows nationwide. When not covering the Huskers, Erin is probably at Chipotle.