Noah Vedral’s transfer from the University of Central Florida to Nebraska was treated as a one-day story from the Huskers media. It did generate lots of chatter from the usual talking heads about improving the ‘quarterback room’ and how Vedral’s presence will assist other quarterbacks in learning the Frost system.
These are all valid points. After all, Vedral learned his film study from one of the best quarterbacks in the nation, UCF’s McKenzie Milton.
While the improvement Vedral brings to the ‘quarterback room’ is a certainty (about as much of a lock as Vedral’s ‘2018 Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year’ award is), Vedral’s transfer was treated as if his sole responsibility at Nebraska will be closer to a quarterback coach than as a player.
Too often, and I’ve been guilty of this myself, we assign attributes to recruits that we assume they will have. The star-rating system, where Vedral was labeled a “two-star” talent, evaluates performance mainly on the field and in camps. But there are still unknown factors (heart, passion, commitment, football IQ) that are difficult to measure but become more pronounced once someone hits campus, starts attending classes and lifting weights.
We assume high school players will all make a seamless transition from living at home with their parents and being kings of their high school to the rigors and demands of playing big-time football. The road is littered with hotshot four-star, can’t-miss prospects who could never make the transition from high school to major collegiate football.
At Nebraska alone, Bubba Starling, Harrison Beck, and Cody Green (just to name a few), were more effective at selling recruiting service subscriptions than they were at winning football games.
With Vedral’s transfer from UCF to NU, we now have a small (but very relevant) sample size that should provide Nebraska fans with hope and optimism for the future of the quarterback position.
Having a successful and quick start to his college career shows that Vedral is as close to a proven commodity at the college level as you can get from a freshman.
The recruiting system was definitely wrong when Vedral, ranked as the 49th best dual-threat quarterback in the nation, outperformed the 19th ranked dual-threat quarterback Darriel Mack from the same recruiting class.
Thanks to intense study and preparation (and not early enrollment), the Wahoo native made a quick impression on Scott Frost. In just one month of fall camp, the unheralded recruit leapfrogged not only the higher-ranked Mack, but two veteran UCF quarterbacks.
Frost burned Vedrals’ redshirt in the first game, indicating that Frost and his coaching staff were all-in on Vedral making an early impact on the Knights. In fact, the only two quarterbacks to take snaps during the 2017 Knights season were Vedral and starter McKenzie Milton.
“I thought Noah Vedral, the last three days has really stood out,” Frost said. “I think he’s picked it up really fast and the offense hums when he’s in there with the right tempo and he’s making good decisions with the football.
“I give Noah and his family credit: I’ve seen few people who work as hard as he worked in the offseason to know the offense when he came in. That’s really helped him to stand out in these last few practices.”
Maturity box. Check.
Adaptability box. Check.
Coachability box. Check.
Don’t forget, when his eligibility starts in 2019, it will be his third year in Scott Frost’s system.
Being an unheralded recruit can also motivate the right player.
We should all remember Joe Ganz was a lightly recruited two-star quarterback from Bill Callahan’s 2004 class. He came to Nebraska with no fanfare or hype. Compare that with Harrison Beck from the 2005 recruiting class. Beck had all the hype, but couldn’t put it all together once he stepped on campus. This isn’t the only Husker case in recent history. Taylor Martinez was not recruited as a quarterback by major universities, but he beat out the much-hyped Cody Green.
In the era where quarterback camps and high school games are nationally broadcast on the World Wide Leader, Noah Vedral checks off something that can’t be measured in a star system. He was a proven multi-sport competitor at Bishop Neumann, a well-rounded athlete that coaches like Urban Meyer and Dabo Swinney covet.
(Dabo) Swinney contends there is much to be gained by playing multiple sports, even if an athlete does not become the next Devon Allen, the Oregon receiver who finished fifth in the 110-meter hurdles at the Rio Olympics. In Swinney’s view, the participation is its own reward. “I just think that the cross-training, the different types of coaching, the different types of locker rooms, the different environments that you practice in, the different challenges — I think it develops a much more competitive, well-rounded type person,” he said.
At Bishop Neumann, Vedral was named First Team Nebraska Class C-1 All-State as a defensive back and was also selected as All-Omaha Area Captain. On the basketball court, he led Neumann to three state championships, was named to the All-Nebraska third team, and is Neumann’s all-time career leader in steals.
We also cannot measure the impact of Vedral’s family legacy, considering he’s the latest in a long line of Vedral’s to play football at the University of Nebraska. If he needed any more fuel, it probably also burns the Wahoo native that he’ll spend the 2018 season as a walk-on and not a scholarship athlete.
If you want to throw a final log on the motivation fire, it is a real disgrace that Noah Vedral even left the state of Nebraska in the first place without a full court recruiting press from Mike Riley. Riley and his band of assistants were more concerned about keeping the quarterback room ‘small’ than adding “gettable talent” right in his backyard. Unpardonable.
Luckily, the ship has been righted, but the bridge between Nebraska and the Vedral family was almost permanently burned.
While all this adds up favorably, odds are Vedral will have to unseat an incumbent quarterback heading into the 2019 season. This will not be an easy task, but with three years of eligibility, it’s very likely Noah Vedral will get an opportunity during his tenure at Nebraska to prove his mettle.