Zavier Betts didn’t have much time. It was 7:31 a.m. and he had to be in class for a final 19 minutes later.
The 4-star wide receiver from Belleve West (Neb.) High School sat at a table in his school’s auditorium surrounded by his family and his high school coaches. Many of his friends sat in the audience, waiting for Betts to make it official.
Well, it was technically official on Thursday. Betts signed and sent his letter of intent to Nebraska at 3:08 p.m. on Thursday after getting word that the Huskers felt his academics were in the right place to sign during the early signing period.
That wasn’t the original plan though. Nebraska had wanted Betts to hold on signing. He wasn’t upset by that either. In fact, he understood and was for it. He knew where he was academically and signing in February or May seemed like the better option.
Then signing day arrived and Betts watched as his future Nebraska classmates signed their letters and celebrated their futures.
“It’s not that I was sad or anything,” he told reporters Friday morning. “I was happy for Nebraska getting all of these recruits and all these kids signing on Wednesday.”
That’s when Coach Scott Frost called with the news. Betts had the green light to sign early after all.
“Finding out yesterday that I was going to sign yesterday, I was like, ‘Oh, I get to be part of this. I don’t get to miss out,’” Betts said. “I thought I was going to miss out a little bit because I was planning on signing later but when I got that call, I was like, ‘Well, I’m a part of this now and it’s going to be awesome.’”
Michael Huffman, Bellevue West’s head football coach, would have loved Betts to have been part of the Thunderbirds’ Wednesday signing events. But it didn’t matter when he signed in the end. Huffman is just thrilled Betts was able to sign during the three-day early signing period at all.
“It’s like, shoot, I’m getting butterflies even thinking about it,” Huffman told the group gathered in the auditorium. “Zavier, I’m super proud of you, man. You’ve been doing things on the athletic field since you were knee high to a grasshopper. What you’ve done 9th grade, 10th grade, [upper grades], it all speaks for itself. But what I’m most proud of is the evolution between your ears because that’s what it takes at the next level: the athleticism but also the mental toughness. Now you’ve buckled down enough for your coaches down at Nebraska to believe in you. I’m just super, super proud of you.
“And you know I’m the biggest Husker homer there is so I’m super excited.”
Betts will finish the spring semester at Bellevue West, continuing to work at keeping his academics in order. He doesn’t want to let Frost and the Nebraska staff down, and he’s confident and motivated that he won’t.
The signing ceremony wasn’t long—remember that final—so Betts kept what he had to say to those around him short and sweet. He thanked his family, his coaches and his friends. He smiled, looking around before putting pen to paper.
“I wouldn’t be here without you guys,” he said.