The sweat and pain is worth it, at Nebraska

It says something about a program when a young man gives up a scholarship chance to walk-on to a place and give his dream a try. You would have to be pretty enamored with not just the school, but the people. Steve Heiman did it yesterday as he will transfer from the University of Nebraska at Omaha , and now Millard North's Brian Thorson adds himself to the ever-growing list of walk-ons to NU.

I know a lot has been said about the walk-ons in recent years. Mostly because people have thought, and probably accurately, that while a lot was being talked about in regard to treating walk-ons the same as scholarship players, there wasn't a whole lot of proof to back that up.

Sure, walk-ons might get some time on special teams, but more often than not, they didn't see the field that much and if they did get a scholarship, it was more than likely going to happen their last year with the program.

That's not bad, necessarily, because they were a walk-on, and even just one year of paid college is a lot of money you can keep in the bank. It's a respect deal, though, a pride-deal and all kids want to know going in isn't about promises to play, but simply coaches who will give them every opportunity to prove they can get the job done.

That was part of the mind-set of Millard North lineman Brian Thorson. He was already in a good situation with an offer from South Dakota , and his trip this last weekend to Nebraska was just for one day, and perhaps it was more just a formality, because Thorson himself didn't seem to be all that optimistic about what he might hear.

Today he's singing a whole different tune.

It's a continuing trend we have seen with this staff, and because of everyone who was involved with recruiting a young man who was asked to walk on, Thorson came out of that Saturday visit believing something entirely different than he did going in.

"I got to speak to coach Osborne. I got to speak to coach Pelini, and I got to speak to coach Cotton. I asked all the questions I felt were important and with every single one of them I got the same answer," Brian said.

Basically putting it, Thorson wasn't looking for anyone to tell him how good he was. And he wasn't wanting someone to placate him and tell him what he wanted to hear. He wanted to truth, as ideal as it would seem, and that would be good enough for him. He believes in his heart that he got it, and what he got was good enough for him to turn down a full ride and walk onto his dream team.

"Whether it was part of the two-deep or just being part of the rotation, all of them let me know that the way coach Pelini did things, you were going to be treated the same, whether you were a scholarship player or a walk-on," Brian said. "Coach Pelini is a great, great coach, an honest person and just a great person to be around. I heard what I needed to hear, and I honestly couldn't be happier. This is what I have always wanted to do."

The last time I talked to Thorson, he had a very logical approach to his situation, thinking that a full ride to a school, wherever that school may be, was a pretty darn good deal. You can imagine that his parents probably felt even stronger about that particular sentiment. With the idea now that he would give up that full ride and walk on and pay his own way, Thorson said his parent's reaction was perhaps not what you would expect.

"They were absolutely thrilled when I said I was going to walk on. They know this is what I have always wanted to do, so they are very happy right now," he said.

That's typical, isn't it? I think you could write a form letter of sorts, talk about the dream that is to play Husker football, and at various spots where it seems the most appropriate, just enter the name of the person you are talking about.

It's the same dream for so many kids in this state, it seems like if they all had a chance to do it, the Huskers could have a thousand walk-ons a year.

Probably more

For Thorson, it is that, and just like each kid in this state, no matter how similar in how they look at the program, he puts his dream in his own special way.

"I have been playing football since the third grade, and since that time, I have always wanted to play for Nebraska . It's where I have always wanted to be," Thorson said. "All the sweat, all the pain and everything you have to do just to play the game at a really high level, I knew in my heart that it simply wouldn't be worth it, unless I was doing it at Nebraska."

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