Opportunity was just too much

Every story of a Nebraska walk-on, particularly the ones about a native Nebraskan, is very similar. All grow up with the dream or the goal to be a Husker. However, that doesn't make each individual story refreshing. Dwight Jones had a dream to one day be a Gretna (Nebr.) Dragon and then head down I-80 to Lincoln to one day be a Husker. He is going to get a chance to live that dream.

Dwight Jones is a two-sport star for Gretna (Nebr.). A star in the fall on the gridiron, he doubles on the hard court and is a big part of the reason why Gretna is a top 10 team in the state in Class B.

"Yes I am," Jones said. "We are 16-4 going into districts. We are rated. Not sure where, but we are in the top 10. I average seven points and about five rebounds. We have a first round bye in playoffs."

Stats in basketball are a little easier to keep in comparison to stats of an offensive lineman. Jones wasn't aware of how he graded out or if he allowed any sacks, but he did pick up a pretty nice honor last year.

"We don't keep track of any lineman's stats. I don't know what I graded out at or if I allowed any sacks. I was an honorable mention all-state selection. I know that."

The Huskers are looking at Jones to remain on the offensive line at the next level. However, the position along the line might change in comparison to where he grew up playing at Gretna.

"Nebraska is looking at me to play offensive line. I will play anywhere along the line that they need me. I played tackle at Gretna, but it doesn't matter to me where Nebraska puts me."

At 6-foot-5 and 240-pounds, Jones enjoyed a size advantage most times at football. What also helped is that he is athletic for a guy with his size and he credits his time playing other sports for that.

"I think my size helps. Being in Class B ball in Nebraska, it really helped. Hopefully it will carry over sometime to the collegiate level after I hit the weight room.

"I would say that I have pretty good feet from playing basketball. Also, I think that it's helped that I throw shot and discus. I am sure that playing other sports has helped."

The Huskers were in some competition to get Jones to come and walk-on. He was just returning from an official visit the weekend before getting a letter from Nebraska inviting him to come to Lincoln to talk about walking on.

"I was really choosing between walking on at Nebraska and Nebraska-Omaha. I had just got done taking an official visit there and was in some competition to get a scholarship offer there.

"The day after I got back from my official visit, I got a letter. It was a letter to learn more about the walk-on program and so I went down there to listen to what the coaches had to say.

"We got to talking and the coaches extended the offer for me to walk-on. They said that it wouldn't be on the table very long. So, I had to act quickly on it and take them up on the offer."

Like so many other walk-ons, there is a dream to be a Husker one day that they ultimately sacrifice something to take advantage of the opportunity to walk-on. Jones couldn't say no to the dream.

"Growing up in Nebraska, it's always been a dream to be a Husker. I thought I would at least go for the dream. The dream to me was worth more than getting some level of financial support."

Beyond the dream came the opportunity. The other dream about a team he wanted to play for had already come true. Growing up a Husker fan really fed the dream to one day play for the Huskers.

"The opportunity was just too much to pass up. That really sealed it up for me. When I was growing up, my cousin went to Gretna and played football. From that point on, I wanted to be a Gretna Dragon.

"Going to some of the Nebraska games, when I was younger, I grew up wanting to be a Husker. When this opportunity came around I had to take it."


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