Seth Nerness has heard many of the negative stereotypes attached to eight-man football. The bent often suggests that success on that level fails to reveal real talent.
"People are entitled to their opinions," Nerness said. "The knock is that the competition isn't as good. I really don't listen to it. I'm a football player and my job is to play football. If you can play, (college) coaches will find you."
They have located the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Nerness. Last Monday, Iowa State offered a scholarship to the Murray (Iowa) Community High athlete and schools like Iowa, Cincinnati and Kansas have been in pursuit.
"I was excited; speechless, actually," Nerness said of when the Cyclones presented him with an opportunity. "It's just more motivation to keep working harder to get better."
Nerness played fullback, running back and defensive end for the Mustangs. Colleges have talked with him about playing defense.
"Coach (Paul) Rhoads said he liked the improvements I made from my sophomore to my junior year," Nerness said. "My primary position is defensive end, but I'll play wherever they tell me to play (in college). I prefer to be a three-point stance but I have no problem standing up if it gives me an advantage. It depends on the tendencies of the opponent. I try to use them against them."
Nerness played some linebacker when attending the camp of LeVar Woods, who played and now coaches the position at Iowa. He also took part in summer camp with the Hawkeyes and Iowa State.
"I went to three or four games at Iowa this season," Nerness said. "Coach Reese Morgan has been by the school to talk to my coach. At the end of the summer, I attended an event there where they invited some players from around the state. I was the only eight-man player there."
Cincinnati and Kansas also invited Nerness to games this fall but he was unable to make it to those schools. He attended all six Iowa State home games.
Assistant Chris Klenakis has headed the Cyclones' recruitment of Nerness. Morgan is out in front for Iowa.
Nerness accumulated 71 tackles, 23 of which went for loss to go with eight sacks this season. He recovered four fumbles, one of which went for a touchdown.
On offense, Nerness rushed 96 times for 856 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also caught seven passes for 114 yards and two scores. He returned seven kicks for 248 yards, taking two to the end zone.
Nerness qualified for the state track meet in the 100 and 200 meters and long jump. He reported his 100 time at 11.3 seconds and said he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.5.
"I'd like to get that to a 4.4," he said.
Nerness said he didn't know a lot about the junior day process where 11th-graders attend group visits at colleges during the next several months. He felt he would attend some of them if invited.
"I honestly haven't really gotten into (the recruiting process) much," Nerness said. "I just turned 17. I'm going to take my time. This is a big decision. I want to make sure it's the right one and be smart about it."