Matt Sterup's Summer-camp experience

Summer camps are a chance to learn for some, a potential proving ground for others. For Hastings St. Cecilia offensive lineman Matt Sterup, he doesn't have an offer from Nebraska now, but as you can imagine, this was another chance to show that he could make some noise with the big red.

Camps are what they are. For most of the some 400 kids in attendance, it's a chance to learn techniques they might not have known and simply to compete with and against other kids from around the state and country.

You could say the same for Hastings St. Cecelia's Matt Sterup. But being a legit Division 1-A recruit, he's got some bigger fish to fry, so to speak. It's his chance to show this new group of coaches what he can do and maybe show them some things they didn't know about what be brought to the table.

For Sterup, he thought the experience was good and at times, frustrating. "Overall, I felt like I did good, but when it came to the one-on-ones, I was just thinking too much. Even coach (Barney) Cotton said that I looked like I was thinking too much out there," he said.

Hard to blame the young man. Going to a football camp in your home-state, showing what you can do in front of the first-year coaches of the team. You are trying to make an impression, trying to prove you belong and doing everything you can to show them that you deserve an offer to play at that school.

Call it an enjoyable time, but a stressful time as well.

"Yeah, I guess it's the best of both worlds when it comes to the enjoyment and the stress. I had a great time at the camp, but you know that you are trying to prove to the coaches you have what it takes," he said.

The one-on-ones are the fun part, the aspect of these camps which is pure machismo, everyone not wanting to get shown up by the other guy. Unfortunately for Sterup, one of those "other guys" happened to be a good friend of his and oh yeah, a future Husker.

Just as a by-product of the size difference between the two, future Husker Cole Penisck going at about 6-1, while Sterup goes at around 6-6, Matt knew there were going to be issues. But because he has some familiarity with the Lincoln Northeast standout, he had a feeling that this was going to be a tough nut to crack. "He's just so strong, and he can obviously get under your pads pretty easily, because we are pretty different in size," Sterup said of the future Husker DT. "We'd come off the line and for maybe a second or two it would be a stalemate, but then he'd just muscle me around."

It's no shame getting muscled around by the likes of Pensick, because he is, after all, a scholarship Division 1-A athlete. But as you would expect, Sterup wanted to dominate everyone he faced. "Oh, you want to be perfect, but one of my strengths has always been pass-blocking and where I learned the most in this camp is from the run-blocking side of things," he said. "Getting your pads down, coming out low and having a solid base – those aren't all things you are really taught to do in high school. But it's obviously something you have to know when you get to that level of play."

This Nebraska camp follows up the Kansas camp he attended last week, which he said seemed to go really well based on what the coaches told him following the event. "They want to see me in my first three games this season, but told me that they expected I would have some offers coming my way after that," he said. "So, they are just evaluating me, looking at what they have and need and we'll see how all of that goes. It sounded really positive though."

As for Nebraska, Sterup takes what he learned and stows it away as he prepares for another camp, this one at Iowa on June 19th, with another camp a possibility, a late-July one-day session at Iowa State.

It's a good time, but a stressful time and Sterup is simply taking things as they come. "I am learning a lot about what I do well and what I could work on, and that's what camps are about," Sterup said. "I am obviously trying to show these schools that I can compete at the next level, too. But it's been fun, challenging and it's another chance to compete. That's really the most fun of it all. And you hopefully get better each time you do.

"That's my goal."

We'll catch up with Sterup following his camp at Iowa and keep you up-to-date on his auditions, if you will, as he continues to show that he's not just worthy of a look from Division 1-A schools, he's worthy of an offer.

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