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Minnesota WR first to commit to NU

The Nebraska football program picked up a commitment from wide receiver Nathan Swift on Sunday, leaving the University of Minnesota’s football camp with one less enrollee.

“I was supposed to leave for (Minnesota’s) camp (Sunday) morning,” Swift said by phone from his home in Hutchinson, Minn.

Instead, Swift, who is the Huskers’ first known commitment, had to tell the Golden Gophers he was off the market. Swift, who attended NU’s football camp last week, said the Huskers made him an offer two weeks ago. Apparently, NU’s coaches, who can’t comment on recruits until they sign their letters of intent, were impressed with Swift’s ability to catch everything in sight.

“If he can touch it, he’s usually going to catch it,” said Hutchinson football coach Andy Rostberg.

Swift, 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds, is preparing for his senior year at Hutchinson High, where he has scored a total of 61 touchdowns the last two seasons. Rostberg uses Swift as a wideout, tailback, free safety and return man.

“He’s a phenomenal football player, but he’s even a better young kid,” Rostberg said. “He’s just an ultimate competitor. He’s going to compete every minute of the game or practice.”

Rostberg said Swift, clocked at an electronic 4.79 in the 40, attracted interest from programs throughout the Big 12 and Big Ten. But on the seven-hour drive back to Hutchinson after the Nebraska camp, the two agreed Nebraska was the best fit.

“The coaches are all amazing,” said Swift, who was recruited by NU offensive coordinator Barney Cotton. “Coach Cotton came to our school. He’s a really nice guy.”

Rostberg said he and Swift have no concerns about Nebraska rebounding from last year’s 7-7 season.

“Around here,” Rostberg said, “when you talk about Nebraska football, it’s one of the top programs in the entire country. It’s such a classy outfit.”


Also in SPORTS:
JOHN MABRY'S PRESS BOX VIEWS: Crouch still leaves us dazed, confused
Former Huskers carry painful reminders
T-Bones hold off Saltdogs
Gerch just wild enough as Union Bank gets shutout victory
KARL VOGEL'S WIRE WATCH: Coming back and swingin' for the fences
Ken's Corner
  

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Press Box Perspective
Has there ever been a more anticipated season opener in Nebraska football history?

Probably not -- at least not in recent memory.

Somehow, the days of Akron and Northern Illinois coming to Lincoln for a glorified preseason game just don't compare to what Husker Nation is preparing for this season.

Oklahoma State. Memorial Stadium. Aug. 30. National TV.

The last time these two teams met to open the year, NU ran away with a 64-21 road victory en route to a national title in 1995.

Funny how things change. This year, nobody's talking about being No. 1. (At least not on NU's side).

Now, folks are just eager to see whether the Big Red of old can resurface after the Huskers trudged through a 7-7 mark a year ago.

And not just NUfans, either. The national media will shine its spotlight, scrutinizing the Huskers like never before. More importantly, key recruits will keep a watchful eye on Nebraska's success this season, particularly early.

Will the new coaching staff be on the same page?Will Jammal Lord show improvement in throwing the ball?Will the defense fly around?

Can Nebraska regain a little of its swagger?

No, not all of these questions will be answered Aug. 30.

Still, a solid start is extremely important. The Huskers need to make a statement, and they have a chance to do it, at home, against a tough team that carries lofty expectations -- and one that beat Nebraska last season.

Remember the last time NUstarted the year in such a scenario?

Didn't think so.

-- Brian Rosenthal