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http://www.omaha.com/index.php?u_np=0&u_pg=38&u_sid=1284294
NEW YORK (AP) - While teams such as Southern California and Oklahoma were dominating the Associated Press All-America football team, Nebraska linebacker Barrett Ruud was selected as a third-team All-American on Monday.
Ruud, who became Nebraska's all-time leading tackler during the Huskers' 5-6 season, finished this season with 143 tackles, including 18 that went for losses of 30 yards. He also had three quarterback sacks.
USC tailback Reggie Bush, defensive lineman Shaun Cody and linebacker Matt Grootegoed joined their quarterback, Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart, on the first team. Bush, a Heisman finalist, was picked as the all-purpose player.
Oklahoma tailback Adrian Peterson, the Heisman runner-up who has run for 1,843 yards and 15 TDs, is the first freshman AP All-American since North Carolina cornerback Dre' Bly in 1996. Peterson was joined on the first team by Sooners tackle Jammal Brown.
They'll line up against Leinart and USC in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 4.
Oklahoma quarterback Jason White, a first-team All-American and the Heisman Trophy winner last season, was a third-team selection. Utah quarterback Alex Smith was the second-team QB.
USC also had a third-teamer in defensive tackle Mike Patterson for a total of five players on the three AP All-America teams, tying Oklahoma for the most. The second-ranked Sooners (12-0) also put wide receiver Mark Clayton on the second team and defensive end Dan Cody on the third team.
Michigan matched USC for the most first-team All-Americans with four: wide receiver Braylon Edwards, center David Baas and defensive backs Marlin Jackson and Ernest Shazor.
Jackson and Edwards were among 20 seniors on the first team, and two of those who decided to delay an NFL career and return to college for their final seasons. Texas linebacker Derrick Johnson and Florida State tackle Alex Barron returned to school after being All-Americans last season and ended up repeating.
http://www.omaha.com/index.php?u_np=0&u_pg=38&u_sid=1283876
Nebraska lands junior college offensive tackle
BY MITCH SHERMAN
WORLD-HERALD BUREAU
LINCOLN - It couldn't have been the night life or enthusiastic sporting atmosphere that lured Nebraska's latest football recruit.
Marcus Gordon missed all that.
The 6-foot-6, 320-pound junior-college offensive tackle was sick all weekend. He left his downtown hotel only to tour Memorial Stadium and attend the Huskers' football banquet Saturday night. And still, Gordon said, he saw what he wanted.
Actually, Gordon heard what he wanted - from the mouth of Offensive Line Coach Dennis Wagner.
"He told me that as soon I get there, I'll be starting," Gordon said.
Originally from Memphis, Tenn., Gordon graduates this month from Highland (Kan.) Community College and will verify his oral commitment during junior college signing period that begins Wednesday.
He is the 22nd known player to join the highly rated NU recruiting class of 2005 and the fourth Kansas juco prospect expected to enroll for the spring semester next month. Quarterback Zac Taylor of Butler County CC, who also committed over the weekend, is coming in January, along with linebacker Dontrell Moore of Coffeyville CC and defensive tackle Barry Cryer of Dodge City Community College.
Gordon, who signed with Arkansas State out of high school in 2003, was an all-league honorable mention as a sophomore at Highland, where he was a two-year starter. He will have three years to complete two seasons of eligibility at NU.
"Marcus was an outstanding player for us," said Highland Coach Marty Allen, whose team finished 2-7 this year. "He's a kid that has a lot of athletic ability. He works hard, and he has a great attitude and personality. Everybody in school and around the program really liked him."
Gordon played left tackle in a passing offense in junior college. The Huskers lose Mike Erickson, Darren DeLone and Nick Povendo, three of their top four offensive tackles, after next season. Starter Seppo Evwaraye returns, along with Cornealius Thomas and a group of promising redshirts.
But it's clear Wagner is looking for immediate help.
"I'm looking forward to being there in the spring," Gordon said. "It will help a lot with learning the plays and making sure I get the spot I'm hoping for."
NU went more than 30 years without recruiting a juco offensive lineman before DeLone and Thomas joined the program the past two years. Neither has made a significant impact.
High school linemen Craig Roark and Rodney Picou also plan to sign in February.
Roark was among the visitors to Lincoln who attended the NU-Creighton basketball game Saturday. Highly rated defensive backs Adam Myers-White of Hamilton, Ohio, and Reggie Smith of Edmond, Okla., also visited NU over the weekend, as did touted defensive end Raymond Henderson of Oak Creek, Wis.
Offensive tackle Chris Scott of Lovejoy, Ga., canceled his visit, eliminating Nebraska from contention, and junior college receiver B.J. Vickers postponed his trip.
http://www.journalstar.com/articles/2004/12/15/huskerextra/doc41bf6850e03e1263015993.txt
Pilkington to leave Cornhuskers

BY BRIAN ROSENTHAL / Lincoln Journal Star

Ross Pilkington, a team captain and Nebraska's leading receiver in 2004, said Tuesday he's not returning for his senior football season with the Huskers.



Pilkington has one year of eligibility remaining, but said he's not transferring. Pilkington, business administration major, will stay in school in Lincoln until he graduates.



"I'm just going to finish off school," he said, "and then move on with my life."



Pilkington said he's been contemplating leaving the team since midseason. When asked why he didn't want to play one more year, Pilkington said it was "a big decision" just to come back last year, after Frank Solich had been fired as head coach, and Ron Brown fired as his receivers coach.



"When I decided to come here three years ago with Frank and Coach Brown, it was just a great sense of family feeling here," Pilkington said. "After Frank was fired and the way he was fired, it was almost like losing a dad, and then with losing Coach Brown, too.



"I never got that feeling back that I had before they were gone. I think it was just time for me to step aside and let the new coaches have the new talent they want in here to run their new offense."



Pilkington met with Nebraska coach Bill Callahan on Monday and informed him of his decision. A Nebraska sports information official said Callahan was on the road Tuesday and not available for immediate comment.



"He understood," Pilkington said of his meeting with Callahan. "He was positive about the whole thing and wished me the best of luck."



Nebraska's No. 1 receiver at the "X" position, Pilkington led the Huskers with 27 receptions despite enduring a five-game stretch in which he caught no passes. Pilkington played with a sore foot and a pulled hamstring during part of that time but said his health wasn't the reason he barely saw the field in a loss at Oklahoma.



"I think they were looking for another way to spark the offense, and Isaiah did a great job when he came in," Pilkington said, referring to sophomore Isaiah Fluellen, who caught nine passes during Pilkington's five-game drought. "He had a couple of touchdowns and really played well. That was fine. I supported the decision and supported the team during that time."



Pilkington said he "caught a break" when he caught seven passes for 71 yards in Nebraska's season-ending loss to Colorado.



Pilkington said he believes Nebraska football has a bright future.



"There's been a change in tradition, a tradition that's been built up for however many years," he said. "But I think there's a new tradition in the making. I think the talent they're bringing in is going to be unbelievable. They're going to press forward and have a lot of championships in the future.



"It's just a different level of players compared to the past and a different philosophy. That's life. For those who were here in the past, it's a lot different for us."



Pilkington originally signed with Nebraska in February 2000, then opted out of his scholarship and signed a professional baseball contract with the Colorado Rockies. He played two years of minor-league baseball but struggled with an arm injury and decided to return to football. He played in 14 games as a true freshman in 2002, catching 14 passes for 301 yards.



In 2003, Pilkington and tight end Matt Herian tied for the team lead in receptions with 22. Pilkington was voted by his teammates as one of three team captains in August — something that he said made his decision very tough.



"I wish nothing but the best for every one of (my teammates)," he said. "I still had that family feeling for them. I love them to death and I'm going to miss them, but at the same time I have to do what's right for me, and that's stepping aside."
http://www.theomahachannel.com/cfoot553/3997541/detail.html
TheOmahaChannel.com
Huskers Land Linebacker

POSTED: 5:49 pm CST December 14, 2004
UPDATED: 5:51 pm CST December 14, 2004

LINCOLN, Neb. -- The University of Nebraska apparently has landed another junior college football player.

Linebacker Steve Octavien out of Naples, Fla., said he has accepted a scholarship offer from the Cornhuskers. He said he made the choice over North Carolina, Iowa and Central Florida.

The 6-foot-1-inch, 230-pounder is reportedly the 23rd member of the Husker recruiting class. He also is the sixth junior college player to give a verbal commitment to Nebraska.

Octavien said he will sign early. Junior college players can sign commitment letters beginning Wednesday.
http://www.theomahachannel.com/cfoot553/3995454/detail.html
TheOmahaChannel.com
Solich Reportedly Interviews For Ohio Job

POSTED: 8:55 am CST December 14, 2004
UPDATED: 9:14 am CST December 14, 2004

After playing his high school football in Ohio, Frank Solich may be returning to the state.

According to the Associated Press, the former Nebraska coach is interviewing for a job at Ohio University. The Bobcats have an opening after firing Brian Knorr last month.

The program is known for running an option offense, which Solich ran in Lincoln.

Solich was in Athens, Ohio, on Friday. He was expected to interview over the weekend.

He's one of several candidates -- including another former Husker assistant , Tony Samuel.

Another former Husker coach, Bo Pelini, is reportedly being considered for an opening at Pittsburgh. The Panthers lost Walt Harris to Stanford over the weekend.
http://www.omaha.com/index.php?u_np=0&u_pg=38&u_sid=1284555
WORLD-HERALD BUREAU
Published Tuesday
December 14, 2004
Onatolu, Woodhead lead way
BY ROB WHITE AND MARJIE DUCEY
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITERS
Watching North Dakota advance to the NCAA Division II playoff semifinals was bittersweet for members of the UNO football team.
The Mavericks dominated North Dakota in the next-to-last weekend of the regular season but wound up staying home for the playoffs - despite being the North Central Conference's outright champions - when they lost their season finale to Minnesota State-Mankato.
"I followed every game they played on the Internet, just to see how they were doing," University of Nebraska at Omaha linebacker Taiwo Onatolu said of North Dakota. "I was proud of them, but it's kind of upsetting because we knew we were just as good or better and we should have been there fighting in the playoffs, not sitting home watching."
That talent is demonstrated on The World-Herald's All-Nebraska NCAA Division II team, in which Onatolu is one of 11 UNO players. The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder from Papillion-La Vista is recognized as the honorary captain of the defense.
Chadron State freshman running back Danny Woodhead, who led all Division II players in rushing (184 yards per game), all-purpose yards (208.7 per game) and scoring (16.2 points per game), is the captain of the offense.
Chadron Athletic Director Brad Smith, who will no longer coach the football team, said it was an honor to coach Woodhead for a year.
"His contribution to our football team was above and beyond on the field," he said. "The amazing thing about it was he did this all as a freshman."
Running back Eric Moody of Hastings College and lineman George Parker of Nebraska Wesleyan captain the NAIA squad.
Onatolu is one of four UNO players who were named the best in the NCC at his position group. The others are wide receiver Chris Denney, running back Jamar Day and defensive lineman Corey Petersen. All earned spots on the All-Nebraska team.
Of the 25 players selected, 18 were first-team all-conference selections and five more were second-team picks. The All-Nebraska team is based on voting by coaches and observations of World-Herald staff writers.
Onatolu led UNO with 98 tackles, 54 of which were unassisted. He returned three of his five interceptions for touchdowns, blocked three kicks and registered four quarterback sacks.
Hastings Coach Paul Mierkiewicz said Moody, who helped lead the Broncos to a 9-3 record and to the NAIA Division II quarterfinals, was exactly what a coach wants.
"He's a hard-working guy who you can trust," he said. "He's always going to compete regardless of the situation or what the score is."
Moody, of Auburn, Neb., was the Great Plains Athletic Conference offensive player of the year. He rushed for 1,639 yards this season on 339 attempts, with 23 touchdowns and a 136.6-yard average.
"He had a lot of after-first-contact yards that you don't really keep," Mierkiewicz said. "We really worked him hard."
Wesleyan's Parker, who had 31 unassisted and 18 assisted tackles in nine games, was quite a combination of strength and speed, Coach Brian Keller said.
"He's not real big - 6-1, 250 - but he has tremendous lower body strength," Keller said. "He couples that strength with very good quickness. He's tough to block. We don't have anybody here who can block him in practice."
Parker, a senior from Tucson, Ariz., also had 17 tackles for losses, eight sacks and a fumble return for a touchdown.
Division II
Offense
WR-Chris Denney, UNO.........................Jr.
WR-Richie Ross, UNK.........................Jr.
TE-Zac Herold, UNO.........................So.
OL-Brett Hodge, UNO.........................Sr.
OL-Scot Jorgensen, UNO.........................Jr.
OL-James Poynter, UNK.........................Jr.
OL-Layne Sievers, Chadron St..........................Sr.
OL-Jeremy Slaughter, Chadron St..........................Sr.
QB-Brian Masek, UNO.........................Jr.
RB-Jamar Day, UNO.........................Jr.
RB-Danny Woodhead, Chadron St..........................Fr.
K-Jessup Pfeifer, UNK.........................So.
KR-Garth Mins, UNK.........................Sr.
• Honorary captain: Danny Woodhead, Chadron State.
Defense
DL-Casey Haldeman, Chadron St..........................Sr.
DL-Danny Ostransky, UNK.........................Jr.
DL-Corey Petersen, UNO.........................Sr.
LB-Kenny Onatolu, UNO.........................So.
LB-Taiwo Onatolu, UNO.........................Jr.
LB-Aaron Rodgers, Wayne St..........................Jr.
LB-Randy Stella, UNO.........................Sr.
DB-Mitch Barry, Chadron St..........................Sr.
DB-Paul Jimenez, UNK.........................So.
DB-James I. Johnson, UNO.........................Sr.
DB-Jeremy Neill, Wayne St..........................Sr.
P-Josh Armon, Wayne St..........................Fr.
• Honorary captain: Taiwo Onatolu, UNO.
• Honorable mention: Eric Barker, Shawn Eisenreich, Bryce Flammang, Evan Halchishick, Ryan O'Dea, Jeff Rusher, Chadron State. Jered Butts, Akil Davis, Ross Gardner, Mike Miller, James Rosenbaum, UNK; Tom Cramer, Shawn Ostlund, Jeremiah Scott, UNO; Zach Molacek, Adam Peterson, Jake Robinson, Clyde Soappman, Wayne State.
NAIA
Offense
WR-Scott Beveridge, Peru State.........................Sr.
WR-Dan Irwin, Dana College.........................Jr.
TE-Jeremy Chizek, Hastings College.........................Sr.
OL-Brian Delaney, Nebraska Wesleyan...................Sr.
OL-Scott Negrete, Midland Lutheran.........................Sr.
OL-Andy Pfeifer, Hastings College.........................Sr.
OL-Luke Siems, Hastings College.........................Jr.
OL-Terrance Gillian, Concordia.........................Sr.
QB-Casey Trambly, Hastings College.........................Sr.
RB-Eric Moody, Hastings College.........................Sr.
RB-Chris Strehle, Midland Lutheran.........................Sr.
K-Zac Gradoville, Midland Lutheran.........................Fr.
Defense
DL-George Parker, Nebraska Wesleyan.................Sr.
DL-Justin Hanneman, Concordia.........................Sr.
DL-Joe Radke, Doane College.........................Jr.
DL-Ryan Tietjen, Nebraska Wesleyan.........................Sr.
LB-Mark Hemje, Hastings College.........................Jr.
LB-Keith Wilson, Midland Lutheran.........................Sr.
LB-Jack Galusha, Concordia.........................So.
LB-Jason Long, Peru State.........................Jr.
DB-Jordan Crawford, Doane.........................Jr.
DB-Johnson Lawson, Midland Lutheran...............Sr.
DB-Jacob Bauer, Concordia.........................Jr.
DB-Brandon Carrera, Hastings College...................Sr.
P-Matt Egger, Concordia.........................So.
• Honorary captain: George Parker, Nebraska Wesleyan.
• Honorable mention: Nick Cavalliero, Phillip Elder, Concordia; Mitch Bowhay, Steve Costello, Ricky Lebeda, Tom Lensch, Joe Sweeney, Dana; Jeff Luebbe, Mark Rogge, Doane College; Daniel Woodburn, Jered Kempf, Hastings College; Kyle Connot, Zach Parr, Gabe Smith, Midland Lutheran; Tyler Gingery, Jackson Seim, Steve Wiota, Nebraska Wesleyan, Travis Buskirk, Mark Brown, Luke Page, Dan Strobel, Peru State.