In the midst of all the hats, mini helmets, posters and
fans, one shirt stood out.
As Tyjon Lindsey, a freshman wide receiver who made waves last spring when he flipped from Ohio State, sat at a table in the west stands of Memorial
Stadium signing autographs for the thousands of Nebraska faithful that turned
out for Fan Day, a man walked up to him wearing a red shirt with the words “350
consecutive sell-outs” across the chest.
Welcome to Nebraska.
“There’s nothing better and it’s second to none,” Lindsey
Nebraska’s fan base is a major source of pride throughout
the Cornhusker state, a national story, and, as Lindsey put it, hectic. His
first real exposure to them as a member of the Huskers’ football family didn’t
“It’s unconditional love,” he said. “Although we haven’t
made plays yet, these fans believe we have enough potential to do that and
that’s why they’re considering us the rising stars.”
The line for Lindsey, and the rest of the freshman class,
rivaled that of any other position group on the field. Maybe only head coach
Mike Riley, who’s line of fans stretched goal line to goal line, was longer.
Beginning at the 20-yard-line and stretching out to the midfield logo and then
straight towards the fifth row up in the west stands where Lindsey was waiting,
Nebraska crazies decked out in varying shades of red from head to toe waited to
introduce the freshmen to the Huskers.
“Welcome to Nebraska,” was tossed around too many times to
count and selfies were taken at every chance available.
“You’re going to be overwhelmed with craziness,” Terry
Warner, a lifelong Nebraska resident and fan, said. “There’s just no other
place like this.”
Where else do you find this kind of unbridled excitement for
a team? Where else do 80,000 people pack a stadium for a spring football
exhibition? Where else do fans wait in line for two hours to get the autograph
of a wide receiver who has yet to catch a pass for their team?
“It just doesn’t happen,” Warner said. Part of the fandom is
the lack of another established college or professional team in the state to siphon
attention away. But part is just the love that fans have for the players and
“They go all out for the players and I love it,” Lindsey
said. “I know the fans love the players and the players of course love the
fans. It’s real right now.”
And even as the excitement was palpable at the beginning of
the freshman table, it didn’t wane by the time you reached the end, some 20
yards down, and Deontre Thomas.
“I love it,” he said. “It doesn’t get better than this.”
As Thomas posed for pictures, he said the kind of atmosphere
that the fans create is one that just inspires him to work harder, push more.
“It just makes me happy and makes me want to play and make them happy and win,”
For Lindsey and Thomas, this event didn’t just serve as a
meet and greet between them and the fans that will be cheering them on for
years to come, it was a confidence boost.
“It just helps me really know who’s really here for me and
that the fans, no matter what you go through although you haven’t made a play,
are always going to love you,” Lindsey said. “It’s great right now that we’re
doing this so it can boost our confidence before football actually starts.”
Derek is a newbie on the Hail Varsity staff covering Husker athletics. In college, he was best known as ‘that guy from Twitter.’ He has covered a Sugar Bowl, a tennis national championship and almost everything in between (except an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game… *tears*). In his spare time, he can be found arguing with literally anyone about sports.