A future 'Cane from Nebraska?

By a show of hands, if you were a prep football player and your only offer was from the University of Miami (Florida), how many would be satisfied? Yeah, pretty much everyone, right? Well, it's way too early to say that Omaha Central's Harland Gunn won't get any offers. Chances are, he'll probably get a lot more. But most would agree, this is one heck of a start.

As a prep football player living in the heartland, in Nebraska no less, probably the last school you expect to get a call from is Miami. Ok, maybe not the last, but it's not real high on the list. It's not like the state of Florida doesn't have offensive linemen, but apparently they don't have anyone like this.

Omaha Central lineman Harland Gunn

Sure, I have no doubt they have plenty of 300 pounders and I am sure there's plenty of interior guys who are at least 6-3, like Gunn is. But as Gunn said himself, it must seem they don't quite stack up. Or else they wouldn't have told them what they did. "They said I was their number one interior lineman," Gunn said of his conversation with tight end coach Mario Cristobal and Miami head coach Larry Coker. "And they said that the offer was on the way."

That's something, ya know?

There you are, in Nebraska, the Cornhusker state, and the first offer you get is from Miami. One part of you has to be elated, but there has to be another part that is a little confused. After all, a teammate of yours (D.J. Jones) signed a letter of intent with the Huskers. So, if Miami is offering you, what's up with the big red?

Gunn will be honest in that when the head coach of the Hurricanes said he had an offer coming, not much else crossed his mind. "You get an offer from Miami, that's pretty darn good right there," Harland said. "If I never got another offer, I don't think I'd be complaining."

"I don't think about Nebraska not offering me right now, because I haven't talked to the coaches much and I don't know how many linemen they are taking. A lot more goes into that stuff than that, so I don't think too much about it right now."

He is thinking about Miami, though. The sun, warm weather, beach and all that stuff that keeps those kids from the sunshine state, IN the sunshine state for good. And it doesn't hurt that the football team isn't bad either. It's something Gunn is going to be eager to explore entirely as he and his family will be going down there for Miami "Junior Days" on the fourth of next month.

So, will he commit to the ‘Canes?

"I don't know. That's really hard to say right now," he said. "I mean, it could be everything I want, but it's like some of my friends have said, if Miami offers you, there's probably going to be a lot more."

"But like I said, if Miami was it, I'd be doing pretty darn good."

At 6-3 and 300 pounds, Gunn approaches the line with one thing on his mind: Dominate. He won't say much to the guy across from him, nor does he really need to. At his size, he probably doesn't need to say much at all. He does want his actions to say something, though, something he wants everyone to hear, so the next time they face each other, their ears are deaf from listening.


"That's all you really think about when you are on the line," Gunn said of feeling that he has to beat his guy as badly as he can. "You want them to be scared when they line up against you, so you just take it to them and keep taking it to them."

"You don't ever let up."

Now, Gunn is all about letting that guy know he doesn't have a chance, but Harland is one of those, who does think between the whistles. He knows that no matter how aggressive you are, you still have to use your head. "You can't be dumb out there or you are just hurting your team," Gunn said. "You can do everything you need to do before the whistle gets blown. If I keep knocking a guy on his back, I don't need to tell him he's getting beat. He already knows."

The loss of teammate and fellow 300+ pounder D.J. Jones is going to hurt. That will make Gunn the D.J. Jones this year. It's work and it's a challenge, but that's what Gunn warms up to, because that's what he's been doing this entire time. That's what he believes has made an offer like the one from Miami possible in the first place.

"I've been busting my butt for long enough, this is just another year, another year where I have to work to get bigger, faster and stronger," There's lots of stuff I want to do like get a little more toned up, maybe a little quicker – all kinds of stuff. You can't think you've made it, because that's when you stop making progress."

"That's when offers like that (Miami) stop."

The inevitable question about Nebraska does prompt Gunn to stir on it for a minute. He thinks about growing up as most kids in the state do, thinking about what it would be like to play for the big red. But one thing crosses his mind about what they are doing now, because unlike most offensive players, who drool over this new offense, he's still trying to figure it out.

"D.J., he's got those long arms and he's a really good pass blocker, which works for what I think they do," Gunn said of Nebraska's more prolific passing attack last year. "Me, I'm a drive blocker. I like coming off that line and putting someone on their back."

"I know Nebraska runs, but I'm still trying to figure out just how much they run, because that's not all I do, but I know that's what I like to do. I like blowing people off the line."

Gunn has done that, but figuratively speaking, in reference to Miami coming through already with the promise of an offer this week. They told him he was their number one, they want him on the team and pretty soon, they will have Gunn there in person so that they can plead their case.

Will that be enough? Once the offer comes and he heads down there, will Gunn come back to Nebraska a future ‘Cane? Harland won't bite now, but he said that he's not ruling anything out. "There's still a lot to think about and I don't know what it's going to be like down there," he said. "I'm sure it will be nice and the facilities will be great, but that's not all I want to see."

"I guess we'll see, because I don't honestly know. I guess there's a chance. I guess there's always a chance."

"We'll see."

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