Eloi content to wait to be a Husker

Once you hit the junior college level you learn a few things. You learn that getting to division 1-A is about more than talent and speed. You learn that motivation comes from the inside, not from those around you, spurning you on to get better. The most important thing you learn, though, at least in Keith Eloi's case is that you learn that time isn't always your friend. Instead of fighting it, though, you just have to accept it and get ready for what's to come.

Out of William Rainey Harper junior college, Keith Eloi's stock was high. He was All-Conference, All-Region, the MVP of his team and honorable mention All-American. As a smallish but speedy wideout, Eloi earned those honors through the use of lightning quickness off the line, an ability to use his hands to create separation and blazing 4.4 speed to get clear of anyone trying to keep him from being a weapon.

It didn't work out very well many times as Eloi, despite getting plenty of attention from defenses, scored 15 times as a receiver, catching 55 balls for a total of 704 yards.

Of course, that's in the past and ability wasn't the question for Eloi. He had that, but he's had to find something else within himself that he has only recently realized was probably the most important thing in getting to the level he desired, dating back to high school. "You have to have patience," Keith said. "You can't let this get to you, because you are the reason you are here. So, you have to do what you have to do and just know that your time will come."

A long-time friend and former teammate at Harper waited for his team, linebacker Steve Octavien now having been with the Cornhuskers almost a year. But as irony would have it, Octavien would have to learn some patience himself, but from a different kind of motivation.

Following a broken leg in the first quarter of the first game of the season against Maine, Octavien has since been out, rehabbing the leg and then a shoulder, following some clean up surgery he had towards the early parts of the year.

Keith felt bad for his friend losing that entire year, but if he's happy about one thing, it's knowing that when he gets to Nebraska, he's going to have two years with his pal. "Yeah, that's going to be cool being able to play with him both years," Keith said. "You hate to see the guy go down, but he'll be back strong as ever and I'll be right there, too. It's hard to wait, but that's the road and it's going to make getting there mean that much more."

There was a hope that Keith might make it to this signing day, the one that saw Victory Haines, Ashlee Palmer and friend, Tyrell Spain, all sign on the dotted line. Considering the road he's had to take here, though, he's not really surprised. "Well, the place I was at was on a quarter system, not a semester system and here at Southeast (Southeast Community College in Lincoln), it's the same thing, so the credits don't transfer the same way," Keith said. "So, I'll have to wait until summer, but after that, I will be good to go."

And he'll be excited to get going, a long layoff not what anyone wants, but most especially an athlete with the kind of potential he has. It's potential that is just that. He's longing to realize that, to see just what he can do at the division 1-A level and finally see his high school dream come true.

It won't be as he wants, as I am sure he didn't envision having to walk-on in order to earn a scholarship on a team, but undaunted regardless. At this point, he's appreciating the chances he has, excited about the possibilities of the future and he's almost mastered the most important thing that's gotten him through everything up to this point.

"It's all about waiting once you get to this point," Keith said. "If you have patience and you stick to it, good things will happen. I don't get caught up in worrying about stuff I can't control, so I just worry about what I can. I'm just going to do what I have to do, stay in shape and when my time comes, I'll be ready to roll."

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