Nebraska Walk-on: David Pillen

There are already a few last names in the recruiting class that are recognizeable to Nebraska fans as sons of former players: Fisher, Cotton, Kreikemeier and Steinkuhler. The last name Pillen will ring a bell for a lot of Nebraska fans. David, son of Clete and nephew of Jim Pillen, will get a shot at his dream to play at Nebraska as a walkon.

David Pillen is one of nearly 30, rumored walk-ons for Nebraska in 2008. The last name of Pillen alones carries with it some nobility though. The son of Clete and the nephew of Jim, David is excited to get the chance to follow his dad and uncle to Lincoln.

At 5-foot-11 and 230-pounds, Pillen has 4.9/40 speed in the 40-yard dash and played offense and defense his senior year at Sugar Land (Texas) Stephen F. Austin.

"I started on varsity as a sophomore at fullback," Pillen said. "I started all three years as a fullback and then my senior season I also started as a defensive end.

"I also practiced at linebacker, and played there as a freshman. The coaches at Nebraska like me as a long snapper immediately and then work my way in as a fullback."

Pillen knows that a future on defense isn't in the cards for him at Nebraska. Like most fullbacks, Pillen doesn't have great offensive stats. However, he was all-district this year and had academic honors as a fullback the past three years.

"I know that I won't be playing defense in college, but my offensive stats this year weren't great because the fullback rarely runs the ball. I think that I had two carries.

"I was all-district as a fullback my senior season and was academic all-district for the past three years. I carry about a 3.2 GPA, our school is pretty hard, but I scored a 1600 on my SAT (all three sections)."

Like so many other walk-ons, Pillen had a chance to probably get financial assistance to play football at a smaller school. However, those opportunities dried up faster than rain puddle in Texas in July when he gave them the news about Nebraska.

"I had some smaller schools show some interest, but I didn't get a lot of interest after I basically told everyone that I was going to Nebraska.

"I've known since the end of my junior year. I was up there for the Colorado game the end of my junior year and I gave them my tape. I basically knew since then I would be a Husker."

Being a Cornhusker is in Pillen's blood. He was born there. His dad played there. His uncle played there. Pillen's father still holds a lot of records at Nebraska. The most tackles in a game may never be beat.

"I was born in Nebraska and lived there for about 12 years. My father played for Nebraska, Clete. He played linebacker. My uncle Jim played there as well.

"My dad played there from 1976-1979. He still holds the record for the most tackles in one game, 30, and he's second with 27. He's also in a six way tie for 7th with 19 tackles in a game.

"My father is fifth and is tied for seventh all-time in total tackles in a season with 129 and 125. He's also fifth in unassisted tackles in a season with 65."

Clete and Jim were from around the Monroe, Nebr. area and attended Columbus High School. Both are still in the state, still in Columbus in fact, and working together at the same company.

"My father and my uncle Jim are both in Columbus, still. They work together at the same company in Columbus. My uncle is known for falling on the Billy Sims fumble that sealed the win in 1978."

Pillen might not have gotten a scholarship at Nebraska, but it wasn't necessary. Just the opportunity to get to play at where he wants to play at is enough for him.

"The opportunity is huge for me. This past week has been amazing for me. I have wanted to be a Husker since I was a little kid, basically since I was born I guess.

"I know that guys get a lot of attention, all of the offers and everything, but I know that I am going to get a chance to play at the place where I want to play at. I know that Nebraska is on its way back.

"It blows me away. I see all of these amazing coaches back in Lincoln, guys like Ron Brown, Barney Cotton and Bo Pelini, and it are just a wonderful opportunity for me."

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