The first Nebraska junior day of the 2019 recruiting cycle provided an opportunity for dozens of high school juniors and sophomores to check out the Huskers, and for Nebraska’s coaches to get a better look at them.
But it also allowed for future Nebraska teammates Ethan Piper and Garrett Snodgrass — currently two-thirds of the 2019 recruiting class — to meet. Piper also had his first face-to-face interaction with his future position coach, Nebraska defensive line coach Mike Dawson.
Piper called Dawson “a great guy” but had only talked with him several times on the phone. Their first in-person meeting did not disappoint.
“He just seems like a down-to-earth kind of guy,” Piper said. “High-energy and just a great overall person.”
Watching practice was one of the many highlights of Saturday for Piper.
“It was pretty great, going down there to see the coaches,” Piper said. “It was pretty awesome. Seeing the practice, the food was great, it was an overall awesome day.”
Piper mostly watched the defensive line during the practice, envisioning himself being in the pads and lining up, which will eventually become a reality. The way Dawson coached his unit through even the simplest of drills impressed him.
“It was high-intensity,” Piper said. “It showed that the coaches really know what they are doing.
“From what I saw, they were getting after it.”
Another thing that stood out to Piper about going to Nebraska was seeing the chemistry of the coaching staff, both on and off the field.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like that in my life,” Piper said.
This was the first time the 3-star defensive tackle from Norfolk (Neb.) Catholic had been on campus since he committed on March 5.
Piper said it was a surreal feeling.
“It was the first time it somewhat hit me,” Piper said. “I was like, ‘Man, someday I can play for the Huskers and really make a difference out here.’ Every minute of [Saturday] I was extremely blessed and humbled that I have an opportunity to be a part of the Nebraska Cornhusker tradition.”
Piper said he hung out with Snodgrass for most of the day and used the event for a chance to get to know each other even better.
“That was really cool,” Piper said of building the bond with Snodgrass, a 3-star athlete from York, Neb.
In addition to meeting Snodgrass, Piper interacted with several Nebraska natives he’s opposed on Friday nights during the last three seasons.
“I got to reconnect with some of those guys,” he said.
Piper estimated there were about 15-20 in-state kids. He said it was cool to talk to the out-of-state recruits about their perception of Nebraska versus what they were actually experiencing on campus and around the city that day.
“All I gotta say is [Saturday] was just pretty awesome,” Piper said. “It just makes me want to play Nebraska football right now. I can just feel the energy Scott Frost and this crew brings to Nebraska and I’m just really excited to see what we could do in the next couple of years.”