Take Brian Thorson for example:
Standing 6-4 and weighing right around 290, the standout two-way player helped Millard North to a state championship runner-up finish this last season. It's almost old hat for Thorson as he and his group of Mustangs have been perennial competitors in the state-final game. Not bad, and for Thorson, who felt like there were certain aspects to his game he wanted to improve, he felt pretty good on that end, too.
"I guess it's like anyone, but I went into the summer just wanting to get bigger, faster and stronger, and I think I did that and it was a pretty good year," he said. "I played both ways full-time and I really think I took a couple of steps up as far as my play."
It's any young man's hope, who competes in athletics at the prep level, that he would get recognized for such. Not necessarily by awards and honors, but by what you might consider the ultimate compliment- a scholarship to play for a school.
Well, he got that, this coming from the University of South Dakota . Here in Nebraska , that might not seem like much, but to Thorsen and probably and most especially, his parents, that's not a bad deal at all. "It's a full ride. It's kind of hard to argue with that," Thorsen said. "And it's something to know that a school wants you bad enough to give you a free education to come and play football at their school."
Thorsen will be making a one-day visit this weekend to Nebraska , Brian expecting his visit to take place this Saturday. He's already been asked to walk-on, so this visit might be almost a moot point. Thorson has his hopes, though, because like anyone or most anyone in this state, he grew up seeing nothing but scarlet and cream himself. "Nobody is a bigger Husker fan than me and my family. I dreamt about playing there since I don't know when," Brian said. "But like I said, a full ride is a full ride and I know some may think that I should still go to Nebraska anyway, they aren't the ones who have to pay for it."
The walk-on tradition is obviously historical at Nebraska . The list of famous walk-ons is long and the prestige of being a walk-on at Nebraska, or perhaps the prestige that used to be there, was such that some kids would indeed skip an offer from a perceived lower-tier school to take the opportunity to come out of that tunnel donning the helmet with the simple, but power "N" stenciled on the side.
That probably still is Thorson's dream, and part of that dream could be that he would visit Nebraska this weekend and they would better the offer of walking onto the team. We'll keep you up to date how it goes, but while some may not think much of South Dakota when it comes to the grand tradition of college football, this Millard North standout could have the opportunity to play football there and get his education for free.
I know I couldn't say that, and statistics show that the majority of kids who play high school athletics, can't say that either.
Thorsen thinks it's a pretty good deal. "It's a good program with good people and I get my education for free. It's hard to beat that," he said. "Sure, my dream was to play for Nebraska , but if that doesn't happen, this isn't a bad way to go. South Dakota thinks enough of me as a player to offer me a scholarship. That means a lot, to me and my family.