Huskers offer 2011 LB

The 2011 offers are tricking out and while the Nebraska coaches were in Dallas last week, before a game in Waco, they were out looking in the area. At least one player picked up an offer and it was a special one. Yes, this player knows a little bit about Nebraska, but it was also the first offer that he had received with more sure to follow.

At 6-foot-3 and around 190-pounds, Nico Ornelas has been trying to get Richland Hills (Texas) Richland into the playoffs. With a win this coming weekend it's a pretty good guess that they will get in.

"We're doing pretty good," Ornelas said. "We've had a lot of injuries and don't have a lot of bodies to help out, but we have been fighting. We are 6-3 and this is our last regular season game this Friday.

"From a site that I was on earlier it said that we have clinched a playoff birth, but I am not sure if that is final or not. We are in second place in the district and we play our cross-town rivals, Haltom, this week.

"They beat a team that we lost to and we beat a team that they lost to, so it should be a pretty good game. We also both lost Abilene this season."

Ornelas has been having a solid year averaging around seven tackles a game. More than that, he's getting into other statistical categories and is having an impact on special teams as well.

"I had 56 tackles before the game this Friday. I don't know how many I had Friday night though. I had a punt block that I also returned for a touchdown, four forced fumbles, one sack and eight pass break ups."

Offenses had better find Ornelas because Richland will line him up all over the field. Typically you can find him as a linebacker. Other times he will be in the secondary or on the line of scrimmage as a DE.

"When we are stacked I am outside at the WILL. When we are in nickel and dime I am sometimes at the nine technique. Also, sometimes, I am also playing rover. Sometimes I am just outside in open space. I played rover all last season."

Ornelas is long and has room to fill out. More than that, he's athletic for a man his size. But he says that his instinct about the game is really what sets him apart from other players.

"I think that I am just smart, football smart. I take all of the right angles and make good tackles. I am able to read plays really well."

It seems that Ornelas really projects to play that WILL position and he would even tell you that getting after the quarterback is something that he enjoys to do. "I think that I am the best coming off the edge. I also think that I am at my best in open space."

Ornelas didn't have to wait until after the season to get his first division one offer. This past Friday some college coaches were by his school saw some film and offered.

"I got my first offer on Friday. The coach from Nebraska, Mike Ekeler, extended me an offer. We weren't able to talk. My coach told me about it that night."

The first offer is always a relief. It means that you are going to get your chance to play college football. It was also a shock to Ornelas.

"It was a complete shock to me. I mean, I had received some recognition but I didn't think that I was very well known. It was good to get that first offer."

There has been a lot of national media coverage about Nebraska this year, some good and some bad, but Ornelas knew about both sides.

"I know that their defense is really good this year, but that their offense has been struggling lately. I don't do anything but watch college football all day Saturday after practice."

This spring and summer will be different than last year when Ornelas was recovering from a knee injury. His coach has said that they will do a lot this spring and summer.

"I didn't do any camps this past summer because I had knee surgery. I just had some loose bodies in my knee so I didn't think that it was a good idea to do that sort of thing without being 100%.

"My coach said that this summer we were going to get out, do some camps, some combines and everything later on in the spring."

After missing some time in the weight room because of the surgery, Ornelas is looking forward to some time working on his leg strength this off-season.

"I would say strength, mainly my legs. Really it's because I couldn't do anything with my legs since that injury and surgery this summer."

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