Well, cornfields and cows
OK, cornfields cows and…ummm…more cornfields
Growing up in Florida, there's no reason for kids like Miami natives like Josh Reese to even think about Nebraska, much less what would be there. But the closer his official visit came to reality, the more he kind of wondered at just what he would see.
But you can imagine what he heard. "I was actually surprised. I just thought it would like this little town, and there wouldn't be many people. It was a lot bigger than I thought it would be," Reese said.
Then you get into why he made the trip in the first place.
After all, he already had double-digit offers from schools like Central Florida, Florida State, Tennessee and West Virginia. All those places nicely tucked into regions which didn't have a history of being cold during the months where he's used to 70 degrees.
And, Reese even admitted that before he got to Nebraska and seen the offense for himself, he wasn't convinced that for a wideout like him, a speedster-type, coming off an almost 800-yard performance last year along with 10 touchdowns, this Midwestern offense was going to offer him anything close to what he was looking for. "I didn't think they threw the ball that much. I just figured it was more of a running team, because that's kind of what you hear about them," Reese said. "But now that I have seen them play a game for myself, I know that they do throw the ball as much as I like."
The 22-for-26 for 300 yards and two-touchdown performance was enough to make Reese look at Nebraska a lot different going out than he thought coming in. But it was the events which surprised him as well. While many Husker fans may think that some recruits who visited this last weekend simply came in to experience the 300th consecutive sellout, Reese said it was news to him. "No, I didn't know that it was their 300th sellout. I didn't know it was Homecoming. So, all that was kind of just a cool thing I wasn't expecting," he said.
One thing he was expecting at least a little, was the feeling that when you walked into Memorial Stadium or even around campus, you got a sense that when it came to the state, you knew the Huskers were it. Reese said that he had been told that coming in, but you didn't have to tell him that once he got to see the actual game. "It's all about football there. You can tell that just looking in the stadium. Everyone is wearing the same thing," he said. "It's pretty cool. I mean, it's just one of those things you hear about, but you don't really know until you see it. You can definitely see it."
Like any Florida kid, if there happens to be another Florida kid on the team, that's the guy you want to ask when it comes to the adjustment between here and back home. And, like usual, the staff matched up Reese with another Floridian, junior quarterback Latravis Washington being his host. Reese said that he had plenty of questions for the Bradenton, Florida native. "First, I asked him what made him come here, because he had like 30 offers, a bunch a lot closer to Florida than here. And then I asked hi how hard it was leaving Florida and coming here, being so far away and the big change in the weather," Reese said. "He just said that when it came to the weather, you'd get used to it. A year would go by, and then when you head home and it's like 50 and everyone has a coat on, he said he would be walking around in a tank top."
All this has been an experience for Reese, much of it surprising to him. But he said that the trip was worthwhile, because a school he wasn't thinking much about and really didn't have all that great of feelings for knowing what he knew then, suddenly finds itself square on his list. It's one which fluctuates, and Reese said that while he doesn't have a top five, if he did, Nebraska would be in it. "I'm just going with the schools who are recruiting me, and coach Beck is recruiting me real hard," Reese said of running backs coach Tim Beck. "He was actually at my school this week, so I know they definitely want me there."
There's no timeframe for his decision, but as his season goes along, the interest will no doubt follow. But a school which resided in a part of the country he never expected to see as a kid, is now amongst those he considers enough to think they are going to be in it for the long haul. "I learned a lot about them, and I learned how much different it is than I thought it would be. It was definitely a good trip to make," he said. "I am looking at schools where I could see myself playing, and I'm telling you, I never thought I would say that about a place like Nebraska.
"I just didn't know that much about them, but I know a lot more now. They are definitely in it with the rest."