Trent Hixson is likely to be Nebraska's starter at left guard when the Huskers open the season Aug. 31 against South Alabama. Starter or not, the sophomore walk-on is a walk-on no more.
Nebraska coach Scott Frost said the Huskers have three scholarships to award to walk-ons, but Hixson is the only player to receive one so far. He will be on scholarship for the remainder of his time at Nebraska.
“I've kind of said all along that the walk-on program was going to help us, but I thought it would take a little while to get those guys in the program and develop them the way we develop the scholarship guys," Frost said. "I kind of thought Trent might be the first guy, but I hope he's the first in a long line of walk-ons while I'm here that comes in, goes to work and becomes a guy that's going to play or start for us.
"He deserves it and I hope this isn't the last one."
Hixson appeared in four games last year––Michigan, Wisconsin, Bethune-Cookman and Illinois––before making a move during spring football to put himself in contention for a starting spot this fall. Nebraska returns three players with starting experience on the offensive line, including right guard Boe Wilson and tackles Brenden Jaimes and Matt Farniok.
Assuming Hixson mans the left guard spot, that leaves center still undecided. Will Farniok and a handful of others shuffled in at the top spot early in fall camp as Cameron Jurgens worked his way back from injury, but Jurgens is back healthy now.
"We started one man down in fall camp at center," Frost said. "I thought the guys that were in did a really good job. I think Will Farniok has a bright future here. He's still young, but he did some really good things. [Ethan] Piper did some really good things, being new to our program. A.J. Forbes did well. [Josh] Wegener did well.
"That being said, we look a little different with Cam Jurgens back and full speed now. We've go to keep him healthy but I think he's going to be a game-changer for us."
On to some other quick notes from Friday's practice.
>>Nebraska unveiled a Blackshirts-inspired uniform earlier this week, but unlike previous alternates this one isn't going to be a one-game special.
"Honestly, I've been thinking about this a long time, way before I was the coach at Nebraska," Frost said. "I've seen a lot of alternate uniforms at Nebraska, but I haven't seen one specifically for the Blackshirts.
"I think I can spill the beans, I think by next year hopefully we have a home and away version of this. Down the road I'd like to see it be a tradition that if the defense has a great game and holds an opponent under so many points then they earn the right to wear Blackshirts the next week. I think that would be another source of pride for our defense. We probably won't start that this year. I just want to get the uniforms broken in and make sure the kids like them, but I'd like to see that happen next year."
>>No decision has been made on the status of sophomore running back Maurice Washington, but it might happen soon.
"We're starting to get more information on that," Frost said. "He's had a great camp. I want to do what's right, but I also want to do what's best for the kid. I think it's getting close to the point and time where we're going to make a decision, but nothing's final yet."
>>The team was scheduled to vote on captains for the 2019 season following Friday's practice. Frost noted that it wouldn't necessarily be limited to seniors. He's looking for the "two best leaders" on offense and defense.
>>Sophomore defensive lineman Chris Walker is going to miss about a month after having surgery to repair a "patellar tendon issue."
>>No decision yet on who the Huskers' top backup at quarterback is. Frost said that conversation will be happening this weekend and that he expects to release a depth chart on Sunday or Monday, but cautioned "not to read into it too far."