LINCOLN, Neb. — Noah Vedral was on a flight home to Nebraska on Tuesday, Jan. 2. He and the Central Florida Knights had defeated Auburn the day before in the Peach Bowl, so there were plenty of smiles as Vedral sat with his parents on that flight out of Atlanta.
Vedral didn’t yet know it, but he soon would make the decision to transfer from UCF to Nebraska. It was an idea he started to kick around in his mind over Christmas, but it wasn’t until the days following the Peach Bowl that the decision was made.
“There was always a part of me that wanted to play here,” Vedral said following practice Tuesday. “All of those stories I heard growing up [about] the relationships, my uncles, and everything I’d heard is that this place is special. I wanted a chance [but] through my recruiting, it never really opened up. I wanted a chance to be here and to be a part of that just like they had.”
The Vedral family ties to Nebraska are strong. As the fifth member of his family to play for the Huskers, Vedral joins his dad Mike Vedral (three-year letterwinner at tight end from 1990-92) and uncles Jon Vedral (1994-96), Mark Vedral (1998 to 2001) and Matt Turman (1994-96).
The opportunity to play for Nebraska was too great for Vedral to pass up, even if transferring meant he would have to sit out the 2018 season due to NCAA transfer rules. He’ll have three seasons of eligibility remaining beginning in 2019, but he’s not taking a break in the meantime.
Vedral has stepped into the role of a teacher, offering advice to the other quarterbacks on Nebraska’s roster. Knowing Scott Frost’s offense, that knowledge had been especially helpful for the team through spring practice.
“Every offense has those areas that are a little harder to grasp than others,” Vedral said. “Some things come natural to [some over others]. Everyone’s mind also learns different so it’s different for most guys. … Patience is a big thing I want to remind them not to beat themselves up too much.”
It wasn’t until Week 8 or 9 of the 2017 season when Frost’s offense started to click for Vedral. In fact, it may not have even fully clicked until the postseason. However, Vedral had UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton to lean on and that made all the difference.
Milton has continued to help Vedral in that he uses his former teammate’s style of teaching with his new Nebraska teammates. Milton helped speed up the learning process for Vedral, so now Vedral is trying to do the same for sophomores Partick O’Brien and Andrew Bunch, redshirt freshman Tristan Gebbia and freshman Adrian Martinez.
Having had the ups and downs of learning at UCF and experiencing success with Frost also has allowed Vedral to grow significantly as a player. He prides himself on trying to learn something new every day, which has helped him along his unconventional journey.
There are still times where it hits Vedral, though. One year ago, he was a senior at Bishop Neumann in Wahoo, Neb. He was throwing out winter clothes and preparing for a new life as a Floridian. Nine months after he arrived in Orlando, things look more different than he could ever have imagined.
“There have been small lulls where you get the chance to think, ‘How am I sitting here?’ ” Vedral said. “There are even days in class where I’m walking around UNL and I’m like, ‘How did I get here?’ If you had asked me a year ago, this would have [never happened].”
But in that year, Vedral experienced an undefeated season with UCF and a Peach Bowl victory. He feels very lucky for that opportunity and he feels just as lucky to be at Nebraska.
And while he didn’t know what his future would hold while flying home in January, Vedral feels especially lucky that he didn’t throw away every winter coat he owned.
“I left a few at home,” Vedral said. “I was walking around my first week in a hoodie because it was blizzarding and I didn’t have a coat yet, so I had to kind of wear three long-sleeve T-shirts and a hoodie when I was trying to get to class early on until I was able to get home.
“I [thankfully] didn’t throw it all out.”