Why couldn’t someone just tell him that Nebraska was the place he should be? He’s got two brothers, who both played for the Huskers. The walls of his house are literally covered in pictures and trophies from times with the big red. There’s such a legacy there, the Makovicka name etched in Husker history. Couldn’t someone just tell him that it was obviously where he needed to be? No, nobody was going to make it that easy. He had to do it for himself. And he did.
One night within the last week, Justin sat up, lights
ablaze throughout the house, shining down on a Makovicka, who had a serious
decision to make. It was one that two of his brothers made before him, but for
this Makovicka, he had a tougher choice than he thought it would be.
Iowa State or Nebraska. An offer that would start up his second season
versus walking on in Lincoln Nebraska. The Cyclones or the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
For us on the outside it’s an easy decision, but it wasn’t so easy for
him. He had gotten to know Iowa State head coach Dan McCarney and his staff very
well and like most people you will find, that staff made a very good impression.
Then there is Nebraska, and while the staff is certainly important, the
pressure to go to Nebraska comes from a legacy that spans far before Bill
Callahan and his staff arrived.
So, there he sits, the clock ticking
closer toward midnight thinking, but more importantly, looking at his potential
“I was just sitting up looking at all these scrapbooks, all the
stuff hanging on the wall and I just remembered when I was younger, following
those guys, that’s what I wanted to do,” Justin said. “It wasn’t easy, because I
really like coach McCarney and everyone there, but I felt it was what I needed
While Makovicka can now envision himself doing much of what his
brothers did, it will obviously not be real similar in the methodology. Joel and
Jeff were both workhorses in the backfield, carrying the ball frequently and in
Joel’s case, 1997 specifically, carrying it more than some of the pure running
backs on the team.
Justin will be more like an “H-back” and he’ll be
seen as a threat more frequently catching the ball than he will going up the
middle on one of those famous “48 traps”.
That will be a major break from
the norm for him as Justin’s career as a receiver while playing eight-man
football has been anything but prolific. “I caught two passes in my four years,”
Justin said, laughing. “And I think they were both in the same
Despite the fact that he’ll be coming out of the backfield more
than he’ll be a presence within it, Justin expects to gain the weight much like
his brothers, anticipating that like them, he’ll be somewhere around 250 pounds
when it’s all said and done. Unlike his brothers, that’s just a 20 to 25 pound
increase, because for Jeff and Joel, it would have been almost a 60 and 50 pound
No biggie for this Makovicka as he said putting
on that weight will be “no problem”, but he knows that unlike his brothers,
he’ll have to look at himself and his role a little differently. “I know I won’t
be used like they were, not exactly,” Justin said. “But you can see where the
fullback is an important part of the offense.:
“So, I’ll just do whatever
the coaches say and just do my best to fit in the best way I know
There will come a time when this Makovicka will have his own
pictures on the crowded walls at the Makovicka house outside of Ulysses,
Nebraska. He could even have his own trophies, awards and even rings. For his
young brother, Jordan, perhaps he’ll go through the same thing as Justin did or
perhaps it won’t be as big of an internal battle in the end.
Makovicka the battle is over and he’s feeling more relief now than he’s felt
even prior to all of this coming to a head. Now, he can concentrate on just
being who he is. “I am not really thinking too much about the future, because I
am just glad to have this decision over with right now,” he said.
exciting to know I will go where my brothers went and hopefully continue what we
have done. I’m just glad it’s over, because I can worry about other things