TE, Josh Mueller - Columbus, NE. (Lakeview) - 6-7, 245, 4.9/40 - It was only a slight matter of if. If a Nebraska standout would indeed go to Nebraska to play his college ball. It was a question of if, but only so briefly. How many in the Cornhusker state dream of playing for the Big Red is counteracted quite dramatically by the small amount that actually do. So, when Nebraska offers you a scholarship to play for them as a Sophomore, you might have just achieved a dream.
Josh Mueller made his choice to be a Husker some time ago. To join the ranks of the Big Red, to fight the foes of the Big XII and to hopefully garner national glory, that's about enough to make someone pass out. Josh didn't win the lottery though. He is here on his own merits, but he still thinks it's special nonetheless. "It's Nebraska", Josh said. "Can you get any better than that? And, the rings, they are in the top five or ten every year and they win." If that wasn't enough, Josh felt the real kicker other than that fact that it is the Scarlet and Cream is the coaching staff. "I like the coaches", Mueller stated. "You are not going to find better coaches anywhere that relate to you and football anywhere, plus they care about you and they show that."
Being the son of a Husker, Marla Lichty (now last name being Mueller) who played Volleyball for Nebraska from 77-80, there was already a tie to Nebraska other than the obvious one of being born within the state's borders. That didn't necessarily have anything to do with his final decision, but it certainly didn't hurt.
Here's the thing though, you have to be good to be a Husker. You have to be very athletic, very determined and dedicated to this game and that is just to get a chance to walk-on. Josh Mueller is ranked as the best tight end in the state and one of the best in the entire country. He wasn't walking on to anywhere. Did he always have an idea that he was this good though?
It's tough asking someone if they know they are good. You almost hope to get a humble answer that says something like, "awww, shucks geee whiz, I don't think I am good", but in all actuality, you want someone that knows they have what it takes early on so they become the elite, they become one of the few and perhaps they will find a way to your team. For Mueller, it was pretty early on when he realized that maybe, just maybe he had something special. "I've never been compared to people around the nation, but people around the state", Josh stated. "I played basketball and was pretty good at that, but I had a couple of coaches that talked to me when I was in 8th grade saying stuff like, "football is your thing. You are going to be one of the best" and they always told me that and I just started realizing that around my freshman year that I was maybe pretty good."
The influence the Big Red has on kids growing up in the state of Nebraska is immense. The Huskers are the only game in town, as they say, but it helps that they are damn good. With the success Nebraska has had, the team has literally become the second religion in the state (the first to some) and each young kid growing up within that atmosphere, Memorial is where they want to be. "I used to go to volleyball games with my mom and I was really young, but then, I went to a football game and I was like, this was what I want to do."
If you can imagine how it must feel to be a Nebraska kid wanting to play for a Nebraska team, think to how surreal it must be for a kid when Nebraska comes to you and offers a scholarship to play for the mighty Huskers. Can you imagine it? Can you then imagine what it would be like if you were only 15? I doubt anyone but possibly two or so players in the history of Nebraska football know how that feels, Josh being one of them. "When I got offered, I was only a sophomore and I was like "wow"", Josh stated. "I was shocked and was thinking that this was really cool." Cool? I don't know about you, but I can only imagine myself living vicariously through Josh at that time and upon hearing the offer, me subsequently throwing up. Fortunately for his parents' carpet, Josh stayed a bit cooler than that, but as unbelievable as it was to get an offer from what was a boyhood dream school, he didn't commit right away. As a sophomore, Josh still had the wherewithal to think it through before making that final pledge. "I knew I had to make sure it was the right place", Josh stated. "So, I was shocked, but I knew I had to make sure."
Apprx. One year later, he committed.
You can wonder as to what the final moment was that made him finally pull the trigger, but it was one of the reasons he was in love with the program all along. "Colleges kept sending me letters, but I never went to any other place." Josh said. "I always knew that Nebraska was it for me, but I wanted to hear what others had to say and looked around a bit. And then, I went up to visit Ron Brown and we got to talking about me playing tight end, the potential and I was like, this is right here, so I just committed."
Now, you are a Husker. You may have achieved a dream, but now, droves of thousands and tens of thousands and possibly hundreds of thousands of fans want to know everything about you and what you plan on doing. Without giving Josh the third degree, you can start with his ability. What does Josh think he does well? "I am pretty quick, I have good feet and I can catch, so I think I am pretty all around type guy.", Josh stated.
Want to know another example of Josh's ability? He played running back last season. That's right. A 6'6" running back. With a teammate , Dusty Jura playing tight end, it was Josh that was slated to be the workhorse out of the backfield. "We had a good tight end last year and our coach wanted to get us on the field at the same time", Josh stated. "He asked if I would go to I-back and it would help with my run-after-the-catch ability, so I said ok."
Josh Mueller will be clad in Scarlet soon. His versatility, athleticism and dedication have made what you can only assume is a dream, come true. Not to be lost in the moment however, Josh has clear goals for the future in mind. "I want to play", Mueller stated. "I want to get in there and get going and to tell you the truth, I want to see how far I can take myself."
So Husker fans, add Mueller to the list of guys you will be following like the rabid spectators you are. Many might not have confidence in Josh right now, simply because they don't know him, but that's what he will be out to change. "I want to perform." Josh stated. "I want to go out there and prove myself. I have all the rankings and I have everything in place, so now I have to just out there and do it. That's what I want to do."