Four school records and 10 wins later, all-everything standout Derrius Vick can look back on his senior season as a success. It didn't end how he would have liked, of course. But for a team which lost so much in regard to the defensive line, one had to wonder if the third round of the playoffs, which was where they finished this last year, would have been more hopeful than realistic.
Vick wasn't sure, but he thought they would be good.
"I knew we had a lot of guys coming back on offense, especially at the skill spots. But I know losing three big starters on the defensive line wasn't going to be easy," Vick said. "But (David) Sutton was just a man child. He was awesome and really stepped up for the team."
Sutton, who came back as the lone returning starter on the defensive line, had a nice career up to his last season, but nothing that really stood out. It was players like Jake Cotton who were getting a lot of the pub inside and for good reason. Could Sutton take that next step? Could he become the leader of that defense?
105 tackles on defense and 311 yards receiving and four touchdowns on offense pretty much gives you that answer.
This duo made Super State first-team this last season - Sutton as a defensive lineman and Vick as an athlete.
For Vick's part, he proved just how versatile he is as the 6-3, 190 lbs. star threw for over 1,400 yards, completed 12 for touchdowns, rushed for eight more scores as well as grabbing two interceptions on defense, recovering a fumble, averaging over 42 yards on punts and he even made three field goals, the longest from 46 yards away.
Not bad. Not bad at all.
Of course, we knew that he was a great athlete. As most know, while Vick is a standout on the football field, his early press as a prep has come on the hard court. Vick has been sitting on offers from Colorado State as well as both South Dakota and North Dakota State for some time. And he knew that if he would have wanted more, he probably could have gotten them. "Well, I just didn't take my visits. I thought if I would have went out there and took all my visits and stuff, I probably would have had more offers," he said.
That's been kind of a sticking point with Vick. Basketball or football? Which does he love? Up to this last season I know that Vick struggled with that, looking at football as something he could do, but basketball more as who he was.
That's changed a bit since then.
Coming off such a stellar season on the field, and with the early struggles with his jump shot on the wood, Vick thinks that the pendulum has for him, swung a bit in the other direction. "It was just a lot of fun this last season. We had a lot of fun playing with each other and going as far as we did," he said. "In basketball, though, I really struggled with my jump shot early, and I don't know, it just doesn't seem like it's as much fun as it used to be.
"But maybe being 6-5 right now has something to do with that."
Vick is scheduled to officially visit Nebraska somewhere around next weekend. That's up in the air, because he has a basketball game which could make what is normally a two-day experience into perhaps a few hours of "hi, how are ya" and "OK, bye."
But Vick isn't really worried about his official visit. After all, he lives right across town. He's now more interested in what might take place during this visit.
Up to this point the questions about Vick and his sport of choice, could have been a contributing factor in why Nebraska hadn't offered him or wasn't planning their slots which needed to be filled, based on if he would be part of the group. But now with a renewed passion for a sport he admits he's starting to love, as well as what he did this year, he's curious if that could push Nebraska to making that offer.
As for the position, he has his preference, but he's not concerned about it either way.
"Of course I would like to play quarterback. But they have been talking to me mostly about defense, because they said they still have one safety spot available," he said. "There is a lot to like about either side though."
Currently, the one offer Vick does have is for the quarterback position as former Husker Head Coach Frank Solich is trying to get Vick to wear green. If the offer comes from Nebraska, though, will he be wearing red?
The smart money says yes, but Vick isn't worried about things he can't control, and offers which haven't come as of yet. He's just enjoying the idea of now playing football and seeing how far he can go. "I just started to enjoy it, and I know coaches weren't sure what sport I wanted to play. But I just think that now I can go a lot farther in football than I can in basketball," he said. "I enjoy both, but coming off this year I think I just really enjoyed it. I think we all did as a team. And I'd like to keep playing in the future."