A future Husker from up-coming OU weekend?

You don't have to ask Palo Verde Defensive End/Tight End prospect Mike Smith how Nebraska feels right now, losing games by the narrowest of margins and from crushing mental mistakes. He knows that feeling all too well. That hasn't made for a fun season, but one that still has a chance to continue into the post-season, so there's reason to hope. And for Husker fans, there's reason to hope as well, when Smith heads to Lincoln this weekend for the game against Oklahoma.

Nebraska was tied with Missouri in yesterday's contest down in Columbia, 24-24 going into the third quarter. Three turnovers later, all in that quarter, the Huskers found themselves behind, never to catch back up.

Quite a few miles removed, Mike Smith knows just how they are feeling, but for Smith's team, it's been an entire season of frustrating mistakes. "Seriously, we should be 8-0 right now," Smith said. "We turn the ball over in the red zone, we allow special teams touchdowns and when the game is really on the line, we just find a way to make mistakes that kill us."

The difference between undefeated and having a .500 record is at least on paper, significant. Smith has found out, though, that sometimes it's something as simple as desire that can make the difference between a loss and a win. "Everyone has to want the same thing and be willing to give the same as everyone else to make it happen," he said. "I know we have the team to beat everyone we have faced, but it just hasn't came together for us."

There is one more game left that will determine their post-season fate; they win, they're in, they lose, they go home.

There's not much to think about as far as what his team needs to do.

Following that game, that will take place this Thursday, Smith will have a little more to think about, but not about his potential post-season future, rather his post prep-future.

Smith will make his way to Lincoln for his official visit to the University of Nebraska, as the Huskers host the Oklahoma Sooners. And you don't have to be from either Oklahoma or Nebraska to know what that means. "This is a big game," Smith said. "They have a lot of tradition between each other and people that don't know much about either school still know that Nebraska versus Oklahoma is a big thing."

Smith will be making his visit, joining some 11 or so other players coming in from around the country to see the Huskers try to avenge last year's disappointing loss in Norman, where Oklahoma on its way to a trip to the national title game, dismantled the Huskers 30-3.

This won't be the first time Smith has seen a game in Lincoln, though, Mike and his father attending the annual Red/White scrimmage held on April 16th of this year. It was then that he got a taste of what he thinks he'll get a lot more of when he comes in for a game that matters. "I am so excited to get there, because I want to take everything in," he said. "How the team prepares for the game, how the crowd gets ready for the game, just everything leading up to it and then the game."

Smith has been anticipating this trip for awhile now, basically since he left from his trip in the spring. What he saw of the Huskers then was something he felt fit him pretty well. Plus, even before he's even hit the collegiate level, one of the Nebraska college coaches has already given him advice that Smith has seen work firsthand.

"Coach Wagner told me that I should do 50 push ups before I go to bed each night," Mike said of Nebraska's offensive line coach and his primary recruiter, Dennis Wagner. "So, I started doing it and it was weird- I improved my bench like 15 pounds in a couple of weeks."

The instruction isn't the gist of the positive vibes Smith has gotten from NU.

"They have recruited me very well, I'd say better than anyone else has," Mike said. "So, I have some hopes about what I would like to find out during my visit, plus my mom is pretty involved in everything I do, so I am going to make sure she likes it, too."

If this sounds like Smith wouldn't mind making a decision while he's on his trip to Nebraska, that's correct. Smith has been leaning that way for some time now. But like any recruit that wants to know a place is perfect, there had to be time to think about it, plus, of course, that valuable official visit back, so that he could see what it was like during the season, get his parents more involved and see the rest of everything he wanted to see.

Once that is done and if everything goes well?

"I could see myself committing, definitely," Smith said. "But, you have to know for sure about some things and there are still some things I need to hear, some things I want to see and I think this visit should be able to cover that."

"If after all that, it feels like that's where I should be, I can see myself committing while I am there."

Smith is being recruited for both sides of the line, defensive end and tight end. As a defensive end for his team he's amassed approximately 7 sacks, while having to run down most of his tackles from behind. As a tight end, playing a team that throws next to never, he's totaled approximately 100 yards on the year.

At 6 foot, 6 inches tall, weighing right around 240 pounds, Smith has the potential for either side and voices no preference as to which one he wants to play. "Wherever I fit in the best, that's fine with me. I have played both positions my whole career," Smith said. "I'll look at the depth charts, see what positions are pretty deep with players and which aren't and figure it out from there."

"I really don't have a preference. I enjoy both pretty equally."

When Smith arrives in Lincoln Friday morning, he'll either be coming off a victory or a loss. That will mean he'll either be coming here, knowing that he's not playing anymore ball until college or knowing his team is alive to fight another day.

His mind-set regardless won't affect his trip, but just in case everything works out on his trip to Nebraska, it would be a nice finish to the weekend. "Yeah, it would be great to win and then see everything I hope to see at Nebraska," he said. "That would be a pretty good deal."

"If Nebraska wins, that would make it even better."

"It doesn't matter to me, because I know why I am going there and I know what I want to see, so I'm just hoping for the best for everything and we'll see how it all goes."

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