Top JR in the state?

There were a number of top performers in the first session at the Husker football camp in Lincoln. So far, we have only talked about the top seniors. There was a top player among the group that happened to be a junior. This player got the praises of the Nebraska staff earlier this week and is on a lot of top Division I teams' radars already.

Last year Mike Shoff was becoming a household names for Husker fans. He was asserting himself as the top junior in the state. Now it seems that the torch is being passed onto Dillon Gartner from Gothenburg (Nebr.).

"I got back Thursday from Lincoln," Gartner said. "It went really good. I thought that I went through pass-blocking drills really well. That's one of my strengths."

The Gothernburg offense doesn't give Gartner much opportunity to go out and pass-block so it's a little odd that Gartner considers that his strength. He said that he's been working on it though at many combines.

"We mainly run the ball at Gothenburg. I went to a lot of combines though and I learned a lot about pass-blocking. I really worked on it hard at the National Underclassman Combines."

Gartner said that he did test in Lincoln and was also measured. He wasn't sure what how fast he ran, but he did have one indicator by running in the fastest man competition among the top juniors.

"I ran the 40-yard dash and did the shuttle. They didn't tell me my times though. I was in the fastest man competition for my position and my grade. I measured in at 6-foot-4 and 278-pounds."

Besides standing out because of his size and speed Gartner said that he did earn some personal praise from the Nebraska coaching staff regarding his efforts in drills. He also stood out because of his desire for everyone to do well.

"The coaches just told me that I have a great motor and that I was a great leader. They said that I had good footwork and hands in my drills. They also said that they liked that I was helping out others around me."

Sometimes the top junior in the state of Nebraska is just getting his name out going into his junior year. Gartner though has been hitting combines now for a couple of years and there are a good number of schools that are sending mail.

"I am getting pretty consistent mail from Nebraska, Iowa, Alabama, Tennessee, Miami, Georgia, Oregon, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Florida State, Florida, USC and UCLA.

"I have been going to the underclassman combines since I was going to be a freshman. This past May and I got the overall offensive lineman MVP and I won the leadership award too."

Besides the national combine and Nebraska there are still other plans for Gartner this summer. He will be heading over to another Big Ten school the first part of July and then will be swinging down to Texas for a combine and will look at some schools.

"I am planning on going to Iowa on the 8th. I am also heading to Texas for the Ultimate 100 National Underclassman Combine and when I am down there I am going to try and see TCU, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and then I will try and see Oklahoma again."


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