Garrett Nelson and Nick Henrich live together. They’ve only ever lived together since they arrived on campus. Saturday night, at their shared Lincoln residence, tears were shed.
They arrived as football players in 2019. A time almost unrecognizable from now, even in college football. They were both native Nebraskans who earned scholarships. They were friends despite the approximate 450 miles separating Scottsbluff and Omaha.
Three years later their worlds collided again. On Saturday the team announced those two were among the four team captains for the 2022 football season. Those captains were voted on by the team “about a week and a half ago,” head coach Scott Frost said on Sunday. Coaches kept those results under wraps until the team’s Boneyard Bash.
“It was pretty surreal,” Nelson said of the news, “especially doing it with Nick. Nick’s been there for me, I like to say we’ve been there for each other, since before college.
“We’ve kind of been by each other, side by side, the whole step of the way so when both of us got named there was a tear or two shed. And a big hug.”
Henrich also said it was simply surreal and he was left speechless by the news. He was thankful of the teammates who thought that highly of him to vote him into that spot and didn’t take it lightly.
“It’s pretty special and something I’ll cherish, definitely for the rest of my life,” he said. “But we’ve got a lot more work to do and it’s exciting.”
Beyond the bond of two native Nebraskans being democratically elected into official leadership roles, they were two of the three defensive players who were chosen as captains. Caleb Tannor, another edge rusher, was also named team captain. Henrich said that shows the team’s on its trajectory of building the defensive culture. He attested that teammates like Ty Robinson, Luke Reimer and Miles Farmer are also great leaders and could have been among the top four vote getters as well.
The final team captain, Travis Vokolek, could claim half-Nebraskan status. While the tight end is from Missouri, his family is from Lincoln.
“Really proud of that group, where they’ve come from, what they’ve become and the leadership they’ve given us,” Frost said.
Together, all of them have already graduated. So Nelson and Henrich can add diplomas to the captaincy, home, tears and hugs they’ve already shared.
“It’s awesome and I’m honored and I can’t believe I got named,” Nelson said. “But along with those guys, they just wanted to be the best teammate, best friend to everybody and best leader they could be in any situation. They got recognized for that. I’m more than happy and it’s unbelievable.”