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Published Monday
June 16, 2003

Huskers land first recruit for 2004

BY ELIZABETH MERRILL

 

WORLD-HERALD BUREAU

LINCOLN - Nathan Swift was supposed to pile in a car with some buddies Sunday morning and head to Minnesota's football camp.

He called Frank Solich instead.

And by the end of a short conversation, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound receiver from Hutchinson, Minn., orally committed to Nebraska. Swift is the first known commitment out of the Class of 2004, and his entry into Husker trivia probably wouldn't have happened Sunday if one of his buddies hadn't gotten the flu.

"I talked to my parents and my coach and asked them if it was even worth going," Swift said. "I decided I'd probably choose Nebraska over Minnesota even if I went to the camp. I called Coach Solich and told him I'm just going to verbally commit. He was happy."

Is it a coincidence that Nebraska's first commitment just happens to be a receiver? Maybe not. In January, new Offensive Coordinator Barney Cotton vowed the Huskers would throw the ball more this fall, and it is Cotton who recruits Minnesota.

Swift said his future coordinator promised the Huskers would throw the ball "20 to 25 times" a game.

"He wants to get the receivers involved," Swift said, "and I want to take a chance with them."

Swift said Nebraska offered scholarships to six receivers but only plans on taking two. He quickly snatched up one of them after attending NU's first camp of the summer last week.

The two-time all-state pick returned three kickoffs for touchdowns last season and had 530 yards on 49 carries as an I-back. Swift also played safety and turned in a 40-yard dash time of 4.6 seconds at the Nike camp in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Nebraska's camp was rather low-key for Swift. He was offered a scholarship two weeks earlier, then had a chat with Solich in his office Saturday when the camp broke up.

Solich told Swift he could commit anytime; Swift said he wanted to talk to his parents.

His commitment undoubtedly eased a few nerves in Nebraska. Other Big 12 schools such as Texas have been piling up recruits lately. The Huskers typically pick up the pace during camp season.

"Minnesota is obviously my home team," Swift said. "I'd play for the Gophers any time. But Nebraska is all about football. It's just my dream shot to play for the Cornhuskers."




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