Nebraska Two-Sport Star Getting Attention

It's been just one month since college football coaches announced their 2008 recruiting classes, but that doesn't mean they're not already setting their sights on next year's top prospects. One player sure to be included among the top-ranked prep stars in Nebraska next fall is Matt Sterup, and he's already garnered the interest of a bevy of Division I powerhouses…

Basketball season couldn't have gone much better for Matt Sterup and his teammates.

The 6-foot-6 junior helped lead Hastings St. Cecilia to a 23-2 record in 2007-08, and he scored six points yesterday—including five clutch free throws in the fourth quarter—to help lift the Bluehawks to a 50-43 victory in the Nebraska Class C1 State Championship game. It was St. Cecilia's first state title since 1969.

But football is Sterup's forte, and as dominant as his team was on the hardwood this year, St. Cecilia's gridiron resume was nearly as impressive.

Sterup anchored an offensive line that helped the Bluehawks roll up 431 points in just 10 games in 2007. St. Cecilia posted a perfect 5-0 record in league play and racked up nine straight wins before losing 29-15 in the second round of the state playoffs.

Sterup, a 275-pound tackle, has seen plenty of interest from Division I schools ever since.

"I don't have an offer yet," he said yesterday, "but I've got a lot of stuff coming in."

And when Sterup says "a lot," he means it.

The all-state selection has seen interest from Nebraska, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa, Iowa State, Wyoming, Colorado, Colorado State, Michigan, Texas, Florida State and Vanderbilt, to name a few.

"My goal is just to do the best I can and be the best player I can be," Sterup told last week. "It's nice to have the attention I have now, but I'm going to work hard to see just what kind of opportunities there are.

"Just going to college is a great opportunity, but being able to go to college and play football, it's hard to ask for more than that. I'm just excited for the future."

And with more than a year of high school remaining to continue developing an impressive combination of size and athleticism, Sterup's football future is looking brighter all the time.

The big junior has been clocked at 5.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash and reports a max bench press of just less than 300 pounds, along with a max squat of nearly 500 pounds. He shed some weight during his team's state championship run in basketball, but he hopes to come back even stronger when football season rolls around.

"I lost 25 pounds just this year in basketball," he said. "I've always dropped a little bit, usually about 10 pounds, but this last year we got a new coaching staff, and we conditioned and ran a lot, so I ended up losing a little bit more.

"I'm hoping to put it back on but more muscle.

On the recruiting front, Sterup lists Nebraska as his early favorite, but several other programs close to home have also caught his eye.

"I went to Nebraska's Junior Day," he said, "and I was at all their home games this past year.

"They're (Nebraska) an instate school, and I grew up watching them. But then I really liked Iowa, too, and Coach (Kirk) Ferentz seemed pretty cool, so that's up there too."

Sterup attended an Iowa home game in 2007 and said he talks to the Hawkeye coaching staff "a lot." He also said Kansas and Iowa State have showed him heavy interest.

He's not ruling out any of the other programs in contact with him, however, which is good news for Wyoming fans.

"(The Cowboys have) a pretty good program as far as I know," Sterup said, "and it's close to home, so that's nice. And I like that (Laramie) is not a big town, so it's definitely a possibility.

"They've talked to me quite a bit."

Wyoming returns all five starters on its offensive line in 2008, and the Cowboys landed a trio of OL recruits this offseason, including Wyoming native Jim Downs, Indiana all-state tackle Kyle Magnuson and Helena (Mont.) High School star Josh Leonard.

But while Sterup said the opportunity to earn playing time early in his college career will be a factor when it comes time to pick a school, he isn't exactly worried about the depth the Pokes have in the trenches.

"It just kind of depends because probably wherever I end up going, that first year I'll probably end up redshirting because, especially with the linemen, there's just a lot of developing you have to do within the program," he said.

But once that development happens, Sterup's versatility should give coaches several options at the next level.

"I started at tackle the last two seasons," he said, "but then I started some my freshman year at center and a little bit of guard, so I can play all three."

Sterup could see several offers come his way early in the summer when he begins attending camps.

"This year I hope to camp at Iowa, Iowa State, Nebraska, Kansas and maybe a couple of more. And I will attend a combine in Ohio, too," he told last week.

Sterup added yesterday that Wyoming's coaches would like to see him pay a visit to Laramie this summer, but he doesn't know how many schools he'll be able to make it out to.

"I'm not sure which camps I'm going to yet because there (are) numerous ones I'd like to attend," he said.


While football is Sterup's first choice, it's not his only post-high school option. His performance on the basketball court—while not likely to attract the attention of any Division I powerhouses—has turned a few college coaches' heads.

"Some people talked to me, just like some smaller schools, but I just kind of let them know that I'm going to play football."

Along with location, Sterup listed a few other key ingredients in his college decision.

"Playing time is a pretty big factor," he said, "and just the overall view of where the program's going and how they've been in the past. And then just the connection with the coaches."

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