After a week of team camps, nine high school football squads took to the field for a pair of padded scrimmages at the 2017 Locker Room Jamboree Camp hosted on Bellevue West’s new turf field.
Teams went head-to-head in 45-minute half-field scrimmages and a handful of players stood out. On offense, a number of running backs had impressive showings including Omaha North senior Milton Sargbah and junior Zander Gray, Omaha Bryan senior Cameron Riley, and Papillion-La Vista South junior Chandler Cotton among others. Another player who made an impact on both sides of the ball was Omaha South senior Julio Rangel, who played every snap of the two games for South at wide receiver and cornerback and was always around the ball, pulling in passes or recording tackles.
Gray, who attended the Nebraska junior day in the spring and is coming off a season that saw him run for nearly 1,500 yards on the Class A runner-up, made one of the highlight-reel plays of the day early on Tuesday morning. He ran it up the middle, trucked a defender then waltzed into the end zone for a touchdown. Gray is an incredibly powerful runner (he also plays on the defensive line at times) but also has some shiftiness to him that is rare for a back of his size.
Unfortunately, a few of the stars of the 2019 class did not participate as Omaha Burke quarterback Tyler Chadwick and linebacker Nick Henrich are recovering from injuries and tight end Chris Hickman was held out as a precaution.
Even so, Henrich, who received an offer from Nebraska on June 2, was on the field and sidelines cheering on and coaching up his teammates. Hail Varsity caught up with Henrich after the camp to see what he thought of his team and what he has planned for the rest of the summer.
Even without their big guns, Henrich said he thought the Bulldogs had a good showing.
“I thought we did well, we did really well,” Henrich said. “Gio [Mainor], our running back, really ran hard today and a lot of guys stepped up.”
Mainor carried the ball 28 times for 212 yards as a sophomore, good for 7.3 yards per pop. The Bulldogs also have a pair of dynamic sophomores in wide receiver Xavier Watts and Omaha South transfer Jaylon Roussell, both of whom are great athletes with bright futures. Omaha Burke should be a preseason top 5 team heading into the regular season with an offense that should post some big point totals.
Henrich said that even though he did not get to participate, the camp is a valuable event because it gives them a chance to hit somebody other than their teammates after a long week of camp.
“[The value] is super high because it just gives us a chance to be competitive against other teams and really gives us a shot to show what we’ve got,” Henrich said. “It’s really fun, really encouraging; getting to show some physicality against another team is always nice.”
Henrich is currently recovering from a hamstring injury but hopes to attend as many camps as he can once he’s back to full strength. However, he’s waiting until he’s recovered to get anything set up.
Henrich was the first in-state prospect in the 2019 class to receive an offer from Nebraska.
“It was huge, it was really surreal,” Henrich said about the offer. “I was super excited.”
Henrich currently holds six offers, including three from the Big Ten: Minnesota, Iowa and the Huskers.However, he hasn’t spent too much time just yet diving into each of those programs.
“I love every one of them,” Henrich said. “I’m just taking it all in right now.”
Iowa State, Ohio and South Dakota State have also extended offers to the talented linebacker, who recorded 16 tackles for loss last season.
As for the Huskers, Henrich said linebackers coach Trent Bray is handling his recruitment and called him a “really good coach.” Bray has had a lot of success building up depth in a linebacker corps that barely had enough bodies to practice when Mike Riley and his staff first arrived on campus.
With the shift to the 3-4 defense, Henrich (6-foot-4, 200 pounds) said Bray told him inside linebacker would be his likely position if he were to commit to the Huskers.
But for the time being, Henrich is focusing on getting back to full strength and enjoying the recruiting process.
Jacob Padilla has been writing for Hail Varsity since 2015. He covers football, volleyball men’s basketball and prep sports. He also co-hosts the Nebraska Preps Postgame and Nebraska Shootaround podcasts for the Hurrdat Media and Hail Varsity podcast networks. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.