With Nebraska charging against Michigan and just over 7 minutes left in the second quarter, quarterback Chubba Purdy found Alante Brown open over the middle for the first down. The sophomore turned upfield with eyes beyond the two enclosing defenders. He jumped. Then came the hit. Time suspended, Brown waving his arm to the side while flipping over, before hitting the ground. Somehow, he sprung up.
That play went viral. Not the catch — but the jump, the hit, the double-jump when cornerback Mike Sainristil’s helmet met Brown’s underside and the flip directly onto the back of his neck. Interim head coach Mickey Joseph said on Tuesday that Brown was still sore. But the sophomore is from Chicago. They play football on concrete out there. He’s tough. Then Joseph was asked if he’s a fan of plays like that.
“I am a fan of guys trying to get it done at any means necessary and that is what he had to do,” Joseph said. “That is what you want in your football team.”
Brown returned to the sidelines after the play and told Joseph he was trying to win the game. Down 14-0 at the time, he wanted to score. Joseph said that attitude is something programs in Nebraska’s position usually lack. That’s the kind of player Joseph wants. The kind that will grind and sacrifice for the team.
“I did cringe a little bit because they are my boys and when they go through pain I go through pain,” Joseph went on, “but I was excited about the effort and the statement he made after that.”
You gotta see this. 😱 pic.twitter.com/QVd8R0q9C3
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) November 12, 2022
He said you’ve got to find that grit on the recruiting trail. Trust your evaluation, who has grit and who can play, when you see it. Sometimes that goes counter from what other people see.
That includes quarterback JT Fayard out of Foster High School in Texas. Nebraska invited him to Memorial Stadium earlier this month and offered him after the Minnesota game. Fayard is unranked by most recruiting websites and his only other offer is from Northwestern State. The senior’s accrued interest from Alabama, LSU and Oklahoma but no scholarship offers. Fayard is scheduled to visit Lincoln this weekend as well. Joseph met previous criticism for that offer with his recruitment of current Minnesota Vikings standout Justin Jefferson.
“If I would have listened to that person about Justin Jefferson I would have never gotten Justin Jefferson because he was a 2,100th player ranked in the country when he came in so we are going to go by evaluation,” Joseph said. “When we are evaluating a kid we are looking for that grit. We are looking for that finish on every play. You have to look at it before you bring them here.”
Joseph said Nebraska needs to be more aggressive recruiting. That means going to Texas, Kansas City, St. Louis, Chicago, Georgia, Alabama, Florida. And when they go there, they need to get guys that can play immediately or in a year. That’s what he did at LSU when he he secured the commitment of a skinny 3-star receiver who became a superstar. Sometimes that evaluation aligns with the stars as well. He recruited 5-star commitments Terrace Marshall, John Emery Jr. and Kayshon Boutte at LSU. So far at Nebraska he’s already locked commitments from Malachi Coleman, Omarion Miller, Decoldest Crawford, Jaidyn Doss, Arnold Barnes and Barry Jackson.
The Nebraska coaching staff is eager to add to that class. Nebraska offered 3-star junior cornerback Austin Alexander from greater Chicago and freshman running back/linebacker Jordan Taylor earlier this week.
Current Nebraska commit Riley Van Poppel has accrued 50 tackles and seven sacks in Argyle High School’s undefeated season so far. The Eagles start their playoff run on Friday against Rider.
Brand Rice, of Wausau, Wisconsin, is scheduled to visit Lincoln once again on Saturday. The senior at Wausau West is listed as the top offensive line prospect and fifth-ranked overall prospect from Wisconsin in the 2023 recruiting class. Rice can bench 300 pounds and deadlift 400, and still run a 4.83 40.
Current DeSoto junior and Nebraska target Mario Buford and his teammates kickoff the playoffs tonight against Rockwall-Heath. The 4-star cornerback is the younger brother of current Nebraska starter Marques Buford.
>> Nebraska athletic director Trev Alberts is pleased with how the coaching search process is coming and understands some fans’ impatience.
>> Ally Batenhorst is returning into the Huskers’ lineup with determination for the home stretch of the regular season.
>> Casey Thompson is on track to play in Saturday’s game against Wisconsin after missing the last two games to a nerve injury.