Position: Offensive Lineman
Height/Weight: 6-foot-4, 305 pounds
High School: Elkhorn (Neb.)
Long started every game at the offensive guard position, and had an amazing season, to solidify himself as one of the best offensive lineman on the team.
He helped lead the Husker run game to a 217.2 yards per game average, good enough for 15th best in the nation. The husker offense was able to reach 200 yards on the ground in seven different games, and surpassed the 300-yard mark on three different times.
His individual games also provided him with a bunch of honors.
In the 2011 season he earned Second-Team All-Big Ten by the Media and Phil Steele, Honorable-Mention All-Big Ten by the Coaches, Academic All-Big Ten, and the Nebraska Walk-on of the Year honors.
All-in-all Long might define a Nebraska football player better than anyone. He was an in-state prospect that chose to walk-on to the team, then after hard work and perseverance was able to earn a starting job, and excel, earning multiple post-season honors.
Long is expected to have an even better season than last year, and is already earning honors from multiple publications, including Preseason First-Team All-Big Ten by Phil Steele.
The success is not going to be getting to his head, or affecting his game though, partially because assistant offensive line coach John Garrison won’t let it happen.
“I wouldn’t let him slack off,” said Garrison. “When he got that award I said all right no sophomore slumps, I’m not going to let you do that. Its been addressed and he isn’t resorting back to the stuff he did last year as far as just thinking that’s ok, he is taking it to the next step, so I am really proud of what he is doing.”
Long’s hard work in always trying to improve and get better has really helped him emerge as a team leader, he is not the most vocal guy on the field, but the way he goes about his work has really made him a lead by example type of guy.
“I have had to step-up a bit,” said Long about becoming a leader. “But I’m not a real vocal guy so I try to just lead by example.
“We had three big leaders leave in Marcel Jones, Mike Kaputo, and Yoshi. They were pretty talkative guys and real good leaders, so someone has to fill those shoes, I mean I’m trying, but we’ll see.”
How he ended up in Lincoln:
Long was a two sport athlete, playing both baseball and football for Elkhorn High School. He excelled on both sides of the line on the football team, playing both offensive and defensive line. His play on the gridiron earned him honorable-mention all-area honors.
- Josh Harvey -