CRETE - Watching Tyson Broekemeier throw one perfect pass after another during the South team's morning practice on Tuesday in preparation for Saturday's 2011 Nebraska Shrine Bowl, it's hard to imagine how he's gone so unnoticed.
Looking at his resume and simply watching him make continuous plays with his arm and his feet, one would think the Aurora quarterback would have several Division-I offers to choose from. For some reason, though, Broekemeier didn't receive a single D-I scholarship offer.
That's why when he walks on at Nebraska this fall, Broekemeier could very well end up being the biggest surprise of the Huskers' 2011 class.
"You've got to remember, he's from Aurora, Nebraska," said Aurora coach Randy Huebert, who is also the head coach of the South team. "Now, if he was playing at a 6A school or 5A school in Texas or California, I really believe he'd have D-I scholarships. He's unbelievable.
"He goes down to the Nebraska Elite Quarterback Camp before his junior year and gets the MVP. He was the best quarterback, the most accurate thrower, won the distance ball contest, and yet he still doesn't get any attention because he's from Aurora, Nebraska. Personally, I think he's going to go out to Nebraska and surprise some people. He's going to have to have some resiliency and some determination to stick with it, and I believe he will. I believe he'll handle that atmosphere very well, too. I think he'll be successful at the college level."
At 6-1, 180, Broekemeier's size is one of the bigger reasons why he may have been overlooked by D-I schools in the recruiting process. Broekemeier said he sees his ideal playing weight at around 200 pounds, but his height will still be a hurdle he'll have to overcome at the quarterback position.
However, his career high school passing stats would seem to indicate he might not be at that much of a disadvantage. After winning the starting quarterback job at Aurora as a junior, Broekemeier threw 52 touchdown passes to just four interceptions over the last two seasons.
Beatrice receiver and Nebraska commit Daniel Davie has been nothing but impressed with Broekemeier's play the past two days of Shrine Bowl practices. In particular, it's been Broekemeier's ability to hit his receivers down the field in stride that has been the most notable trait for Davie.
"I've never had that before," Davie said. "I usually have to stop and jump up for the ball. With Tyson, he just puts it right there every time."
Broekemeier also boasts a winning reputation, as he led the Huskies to a perfect 24-0 record as a starter the past two years. Aurora's one loss came to Crete in last year's Class B state semifinals, when he was forced to sit out with a concussion.
If need be, Broekemeier said he would be open to a position change if it meant getting him a better chance at seeing the field at Nebraska.
"If there's a chance I could play faster somewhere else, I could do that," he said. "But right now I'm going to stick at quarterback and see how that works out first."
Huebert, on the other hand, doesn't think his quarterback will need to move anywhere.
"I think he can play quarterback," Huebert said. "That's my opinion. I don't think he's anything but that."
Broekemeier is following in the footsteps somewhat of his older brother, Joe, who walked on to the Nebraska football team after spending his first two years as a scholarship baseball player.
Because of his work ethic and determination, Joe ended up working his way into the Huskers' receiver rotation last season and finished as the team's sixth-leading receivers despite playing in just two games.
Tyson said he's been trying to get as much advice as possible from his older sibling, adding he feels far more comfortable heading into his freshman year as a result.
"I've sat down with him and had a lot of good talks so far and he's just kind of helping me out," Broekemeier said. "So I've got a good feel for what it's going to be like when I get down there. He just tells me to work hard and do things right, and you shouldn't be in trouble ever and the coaches will like you. Hopefully that all works out the way he says."
Broekemeier's path to Nebraska may not have been the most ideal, but he's just happy to get the chance to prove himself as a legitimate collegiate quarterback.
Considering NU's quarterback situation at the moment, Broekemeier's chances couldn't be much better. The Huskers' only have two scholarship quarterbacks on the roster following the pending transfer of Cody Green and losing Kody Spano to career-ending injuries.
It will obviously be an uphill climb, but for a player who hardly anyone even gave a chance to play D-I football, that won't be anything new for Broekemeier.
"I got the opportunity to walk-on, so I'm just going to go in there and see what I can do," Broekemeier said. "Hopefully I can get a little bit bigger and find some playing time in the future. My dream is to play at Nebraska, and that's something I'm looking forward to and one of my goals."
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