Anytime a high school athlete receives an offer from a major D-1 college, the feelings of joy and excitement are sure to follow. And for Cody Kessler his most recent offer also came on a pretty special day.
"I got the offer from Nebraska today, on my Birthday, how sweet is that?"I wasn't really expecting it at all, but what a nice surprise to get. I'm really excited that a school like Nebraska would be interested enough to offer me.
"One of the players on my team is like a diehard Nebraska fan, so he was jacked up about it too. He was like ‘man, the offer came on your Birthday, that's a sign right there'. He makes it no secret that he thinks I should commit there", laughed Kessler.
How did you find out about the offer from Nebraska?
"I just talked to coach Watson earlier today. He called my coach first and told him, and then I called coach Watson soon after that. He said that after watching my film, he thought I was one of the best passers he has seen this year in the nation. He said he liked the way I move on film and my ball placement is really good.
"He said that he was offering me right then and the offer was being sent in the mail that day, it should be here later this week. He also gets one call here pretty soon and he said he wants to call me at home and talk to me and my family and get to know us a little better."
Now that the Huskers are in the mix, they join several other programs that have already extended Cody an offer.
"With Nebraska now, I've got offers from Alabama, San Diego State, Washington, Pittsburgh, Oregon State, New Mexico State, Fresno State, Boise State, Washington State, Arizona and Arizona State. I got Washington and Boise State early on, but most of the others have come in since signing day. It all started blowing up a couple months ago."
Growing up in California, what college did you root for as a youth?
"My dad liked UCLA, so I always kind of pulled for them. But I liked Notre Dame too after Jimmy Clausen went there. But now I wouldn't really say I have favorite school or anything like that. I just like watching college football in general now."
What if UCLA or Notre Dame offer you tomorrow, are you off the market?
"No, I honestly can't see that happening. There is no school I can see like that. I have to see these schools first before I do anything."
When you study Cody (6-2/218) on tape you see a player with solid arm strength, good mobility, and great touch on the intermediate routes. But if you ask him to describe his skill sets as a player, he prefers to talk about the intangibles you just can't measure.
"My biggest thing, I'm a leader out there on the field and I'll do anything to win", said Kessler with conviction. "I hate to lose at anything, nothing is worse than losing. I just love to compete and try to win every time we step on the field.
"I also think I manage the game well, and that's a credit to my head coach. He was a great quarterback back in the day at Montana State. He has drilled some things into me like, lets get first downs, move the ball consistently and touchdowns will come, just don't try to force things that aren't there. You have to know those big plays will come if you just do your job, and not try to be a hero on every play.
"I think being a quarterback is about being a leader on and off the field more than anything else, and of course you have to love to compete."
And to illustrate that competiveness, Cody said he has no problem with the efforts of Nebraska to take two signal callers in this class.
"I know they already have a quarterback in this class, but that doesn't matter to me at all. You have to compete for your spot no matter where you go. I'm sure he is a great player, but I have a lot of confidence in my abilities. They could take five quarterbacks this year for all I care."
Let's jump back into your recruitment for a minute. I know you just received the offer, but do you have any familiarity with the Husker program as of yet?
"Oh yeah, I know Jacob Hickman pretty well, he is from my high school. He graduated awhile back, but he always comes back to the school to talk to the students. He asked me a few months ago, ‘hey, do you have interest in a school like Nebraska?'.
"I was like yeah, I'm very interested in them. Jake always talked about how great it is there, and so does my coach, so it's a place I would really like to check out. Soon after that we sent Nebraska my film, and here we are.
"But I don't know a ton about the school yet. I know they've sold out their stadium every year for a long time and have great football tradition. I've heard game days there are amazing too. I'm going to be making some visits over the summer and I hope I get out to Nebraska. But if I can't, I'll get out there later on an official. I don't want to make a decision before I see Nebraska, I want to see that place for sure."
Do you have a desire to stay on the west coast for school, or could you see yourself leaving the area for college?
"I can definitely see myself leaving, but I'm not saying it's going to be easy. We have a close family and it would be easier for them to come to games if I stayed on the west coast. But my parents know this is my decision, and they just want me to be happy.
"I told my mom that if I found a school on the other side of the country that I fit in with, then I could care less about distance."
If distance from home isn't a major sticking point, what are some of the things you're looking for in a program?
"Number one would be, can I see myself living there? Like at the end of the day, if I didn't have football would this be a good place to be?
"Next would be how well do I get along with the coaches, and what's their style of coaching. I want to get a vibe for the players too, and what they are like to be around. The other thing would be early playing time. Am I going to get a chance to compete for the starting spot early on? As a player that's all I can ask for, give me a chance to compete."
As a junior Cody passed for more than 2,100 yards and 14 touchdowns, to go with another 12 touchdowns rushing. He is also a standout basketball player, but that could be coming to an end his senior year.
"I don't think I'm going to be able to play basketball my last year. I'm looking to graduate early, depending on which school I go to. If the school that I commit to wants me to graduate early I will. I'd like to get in there before the rest of my class and get comfortable with everything. I don't expect to play my first year, but enrolling early will help me get a chance to compete for that top spot."
We'll continue to keep you updated on the status Cody Kessler, as the attention from Nebraska heats up.