Thomas Grayson was home. He knew it, his father knew it, and he was ready to tell the world about it.
But first, he needed to tell the man responsible for bringing Grayson home — Ryan Held. So before he left the Huskers’ junior day last Saturday, he made sure to find the Nebraska running backs coach to tell him he was ready to commit to the Huskers.
“His reaction was actually more surprise than anything, because it was at the end of the day,” Grayson told Land of 10 on Monday, about four hours after he announced his decision on Twitter. “He was just like, ‘Really?’ and I was like, ‘Yeah.’ ”
Various events throughout the day led Grayson to making the commitment. The 3-star running back participated in the tunnel walk, which Nebraska players do before every game at Memorial Stadium.
“I just had goosebumps,” he said. “That’s when I just knew, right when I walked through the tunnel. That was the deal-breaker.”
After spending time on the field, Grayson’s father, who accompanied him on the visit, asked him how much he liked Lincoln and the program.
“A lot,” he said.
The decision was made with the father’s blessing.
Nebraska coach Scott Frost had to take off after the junior day event and Grayson couldn’t catch his future coach before he left. Held got him on the phone for their newest commit, though.
“He was excited,” Grayson said. “I could tell, hearing it in his voice.”
By Monday night, he wanted the world to know.
“I was just excited to officially put it out there,” he said. “I was overwhelmed with excitement.”
Grayson made his choice with the total support of his family and friends.
“They’re happy for me,” Grayson said. “It’s been a long journey.”
Grayson committing to Nebraska happened expeditiously — from the first contact with Held, to the offer, to the visit, to the commitment.
“I actually wasn’t planning on committing for a while,” Grayson said. “It’s just, when I got there, this all just feels right.”
Grayson’s mother always told him that if it felt right, then it probably was. There was another huge factor in his decision, too. He watched Frost throw balls to receivers. He looked on as Held inserted himself into the middle of running back drills to demonstrate the proper footwork. It all spoke to him.
“The coaching staff also helped,” he said. “Coach Frost and Coach Held, they care about me as a person, not just a player. I really appreciate that about them. I really do believe that they’re going to turn around the program. I want to be a part of it.
“They’re all about it and I really admire that.”
The relationship with Held was another significant factor.
“It’s his attitude about the game. I could tell he’s very passionate about it,” Grayson said. “He really knows what he’s talking about. That offense he runs with the running backs speaks for itself.”
To a similar point, Grayson said his fit in the Huskers’ offense was appealing as someone who can make plays in space, in both the passing and rushing attack.
The two Power 5 programs in Grayson’s home state — Oklahoma and Oklahoma State — never followed through with offers, opening the door for Nebraska. According to the 247Sports composite rankings, Grayson is the No. 100 running back in the class. Grayson rewarded the Huskers with a commitment.
“For someone like Nebraska to reach out to me,” he said, “I was like ‘Man, that’s big time.’ ”
Grayson also said he is shutting down his recruitment.
“This is 110 percent,” he said.
He wants to be a part of the turnaround Nebraska hopes to undergo in the coming seasons.
“It’s just a feeling that you have,” Grayson said. “Just the vibes what they’re bringing to the table. I saw what [the coaches] did at UCF, and I was just like ‘Man, I want to be a part of that.'”
Now, he is officially a part of the revival.
“I’m proud to be a part of the Husker family now.”