It’s not like Nebraska doesn’t have a great tradition. Five national titles, three Heisman Trophy winners, countless Outland winners, conference titles and Academic All-Americans. That’s a lot, but with the youth that are looking at schools right now, just ten years ago might as well have been fifty.
So, when Oklahoma goes against Nebraska for a prized recruit like Fort Morgan defensive lineman Seth Jensen, on-paper, especially recently, you’d think that it’s going to be a no-brainer for the recruit.
Well, you would be right, but the answer might surprise you.
“I chose Nebraska,” Seth said. “I actually wanted to commit when I was at camp there, but I wanted to go home, talk it over with my family and make sure that everyone knew how I felt.”
“So, when we came back, I guess I didn’t really notice, but I had all this Nebraska stuff on, so I guess it wouldn’t have been hard to tell how I felt.”
Not for him, clad head to toe almost in Husker gear, but for the coaches at Nebraska, it took a second or two. Actually, Seth had to commit twice before anyone realized just what had happened.
“I was talking to coach Callahan and he said something like ‘So, are we going to make this happen?’, Seth said. “I just said to him ‘You got yourself a defensive lineman.’, but I don’t think he heard me.”
“So, I stood up, put my Nebraska hat on and said it again and coach Blake, he went crazy.”
After everyone realized just what Seth had said, Jensen described defensive line coach John Blake’s euphoria as a little surprising, but after watching the joyful coach flail about happily and after the hug, Jensen admitted that, that was part of the reason he opted for the Huskers.
“You saw him and he was so excited and happy and for me, that was just the best feeling in the world,” Jensen said. “You didn’t have to ask if these coaches wanted you, because it was there, you could see it and that’s just part of what I love about this place.”
Seth may like the hominess of the Huskers, but there is little doubt as to what the Huskers liked about him, at least after first review. With a 6 foot, 4 inch frame and 270 pounds of weight, coupled with cat-like quickness off the line, Jensen had star rush end written all over him.
We saw it personally at the first session of the Nebraska summer camps, Seth taking on and beating soundly another Husker recruit; Washington lineman Cody Habben. It was quickness that Habben simply couldn’t compete with, but Jensen has become used to that.
Not from football mind you, but Tae Kwon do, a sport that Jensen has been proficient at far longer than he’s been on the gridiron. Try black belt proficient, a national champion at the age of eight and the son of a fifth degree blackbelt as well.
Yeah, it runs in the family.
“I think we all have awards nationally,” Seth said of most of his family in the sport of Tae Kwon Do. “My dad got me started when I was three and it was kind of my life until I stopped doing it at around age 14.
Stopped doing it, to Seth meant retirement, barely a teenager, but already the holder of two national titles and more state awards than he can count. From the age he stopped that discipline, though, he found that it helped when he started to pick up something else. “It’s really helped with my hand and feet quickness on the football field,” Seth said. “You just learn to do things very quickly and for me, I got used to being patient, waiting for the other guy to make mistakes.”
“On the football field, you can’t do that, but it makes seeing their mistakes a lot easier.”
That’s what has made Seth one of the Midwestern darkhorses for top honors at the rush end position. The quickness, the motor and the aggressiveness that seems part and parcel to the position. It’s also made Seth optimistic about what he can do once he arrives in Lincoln, even though he tempers that with the reality of who he’s going against once he’s arrived.
“I want to start like any freshman, I guess,” he said. “But, I know that if I am going to fulfill the potential coach Blake says I have to get out there my first year, I have to work and work very hard to make that happen.”
“That’s what I plan to do and with this recruiting out of the way now, I can concentrate on being with my team, helping to lead the defensive line and finishing up my high school career in style.”
The recruiting trips for Jensen are done, save for an official visit to a game yet to be determined at the home of the Big Red. So, that means recruiting in general is over, Jensen more than happy to move on to bigger and better things.
He’s already thinking about those, though, even so far from when his Husker career will start. Perhaps he’s been thinking about it much longer than just after his decision today. “I was wearing a Nebraska blackshirt t-shirt today,” Seth said. “I know what that means and I know that, that is one of my goals after I arrive.”
“Nebraska, for me, it’s just the perfect place to be, because it is everything I wanted in a school. But, to be a blackshirt to, well, what else could a guy want?”