But Andy Birkel, after a December falling out with Bill Callahan, is taking his fleet feet to Northern Colorado.
The Lincoln Southeast graduate and 2003 World-Herald high school athlete of the year hopes for a fresh start at the Division I-AA school. Birkel said moving down a division was key because he won't have to sit out a year under NCAA transfer rules.
\"At Nebraska, I kind of got unlucky and sat almost all of the last two years,\" said Birkel, who played in five games in two years, including just one in 2004. \"(Northern Colorado)'s looking for receivers and it seemed like the right fit for me.\"
Birkel, who also received scholarship offers from Ohio, Wyoming and Northern Iowa, will move to Greeley next week and start practice in August.
Birkel, a Frank Solich recruit, left the Huskers in December after playing just seven snaps all season. He voiced his displeasure with Callahan, calling the coach \"unprofessional.\"
\"He's always saying 'My door is open,' and I tried to take advantage of that,\" Birkel said in December. \"That's their job, if a player asks a question, to tell them what the deal was. He wouldn't even give me five minutes.
\"I was really shocked when I left, but I also was really relieved when I got out of there.\"
Birkel wishes it would've worked out with NU, but is excited about a change of scenery.
\"I'm trying to bury it, trying to start over,\" he said Tuesday. \"Things didn't go my way and I look forward to moving on.\"
The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Birkel still holds the second-fastest 400 meter time in state history. He considered running track at NU but said football has always been his first love. He'll join a UNC team that went 2-9 last year.
The Bears lost wide receiver Vincent Jackson, who caught 80 passes, to the NFL. Birkel sees an opportunity to make an immediate impact.
\"I have to prove myself again,\" said Birkel, who has two years of eligibility remaining, \"but I think I have what it takes to be good out there.\"