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9 Cards in this Set

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Huskers receive $5 million donation
LINCOLN - After hearing months of Steve Pederson bashing, a little-known Omaha philanthropist made a statement Wednesday that the world isn't against the Nebraska athletic director.

A $5 million statement.

Pederson announced that Charles and Romona Myers are writing a $5 million check for the stadium expansion project, a gift that is being called the largest single donation in the history of the athletic department.

Charles Myers, who is called "Charlie" by Pederson, ponied up the money just two weeks after the Cornhuskers completed a 5-6 football season.

"When your friends are on the line, it's time to stand up and try to help them a little," Myers said. "I think they're taking a lot of heat, and they're handling it well. I guess time will tell us if they're right or wrong."

Charles Myers is chief executive officer of the Omaha-based Myers Group, which includes the Freezer Services cold storage warehouse company.

Myers is known in Iowa for writing a $7 million check to the University of Dubuque when it looked as if the school would go bankrupt.

He said he shelled out that money on a "gut feeling," just like he's doing with a football program with a new coach and a season that failed to produce a bowl trip for the first time in 36 years.

Pederson said the money will go for the Myers Performance Center for Student-Athletes, which will house the strength complex, locker rooms and training facilities.
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Myers, from Davenport, Iowa, has been a longtime season ticket-holder at NU, and his ties to the program go back to the Bob Devaney era. He met Pederson during the A.D.'s earlier stint as recruiting coordinator, and they became friends when Pederson returned to NU in late 2002.

Pederson called the money a "tremendous shot of momentum" for the project, which has a $50 million pricetag. He said the Myers gift raises the donation total to more than $20 million.

An evening press conference was called at the Bob Devaney Sports Center to announce the donation, and a framed football jersey with Myers' name on the back was placed near the podium.

Myers splits his time between Omaha and Scottsdale, Ariz., and said he climbed to the top of his profession by making tough decisions, much like Pederson.

Myers compared the A.D.'s firing of Coach Frank Solich to the time he had to fire a plant manager.

"It wasn't much fun," he said. "If things aren't clicking, you have to do something about it."

After the press conference, Myers answered a cell phone call from Bill Callahan. The NU football coach said he was out recruiting but appreciated the donation.

Myers, who has never met Callahan, cracked a joke.

"I'm drunker than a hoot owl," he told Callahan.

The two laughed, and Myers left, hoping his gift inspired others to open their pockets.

"I believe in this, obviously," he said.
Huskers hope to woo lineman from Georgia
LINCOLN - Look no further than Oct. 17, the day offensive tackle Chris Scott watched the Nebraska football team beat Baylor at Memorial Stadium, to find the Huskers' biggest oversight in recruiting this year.

Somebody forgot to show him the weight room.

Scott, a four-star prospect from Lovejoy, Ga., rated by rivals.com as the nation's No. 92 player overall, is coming back this weekend. The second time, he won't be denied.

"I go to other schools, and I hear about the Nebraska weight program," Scott said. "It's legendary. Me personally, that's the biggest thing I'm looking forward to about my whole visit."

Basically, the man likes to lift weights. It's how he packed 300 pounds on his 6-foot-5 frame, earned a pair of all-state honors in Georgia's largest class and was invited to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl next month.

Scott paid his own way to Lincoln in October for an unofficial recruiting visit. He left with Nebraska atop his list of favorite schools but has since seen Georgia, Tennessee and LSU. NU has ground to make up now on LSU, he said, the school at which he "felt the most comfortable so far."
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His official visit to Nebraska coincides with those of about 10 other top prospects, including cornerback Reggie Smith of Edmond, Okla., defensive end Raymond Henderson of Oak Creek, Wis., defensive back Adam Myers-White of Hamilton, Ohio, and receiver B.J. Vickers of Santa Monica (Calif.) City College.

Friends and teammates at Scott's suburban Atlanta school call him "Big Easy" for his laid-back attitude away from football.

On the field, Coach Al Hughes said, Scott is intense. The coach knew as much four years ago, when Scott ran onto the field for an offensive series without his helmet.

"If somebody hadn't said something," Hughes said, "I think he would have played like that."

In four seasons, Scott has grown wiser to the ways of football. He started at left tackle on a team that threw the ball about 90 percent of the time.

"He is a great pass-blocker," the coach said, "somebody your quarterback can depend on to protect the back side. Chris is a leader. I could very well see him being a captain someday."
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Scott dabbled in past seasons with basketball or track and field. Not this year.

He's training regularly at Velocity Sports Performance in Peachtree City, Ga., to ready himself for the All-American Bowl. At the Jan. 15 game in San Antonio, Scott will play on the East squad - opposite the sideline from NU recruits Phillip Dillard, Craig Roark, Marlon Lucky, Leon Jackson, Rodney Picou and Jordan Congdon.

"I just think I'm real athletic for my size," said Scott, who has planned his final visit to see Florida next month. "I'm agile, quick on my feet."

Scott has known John Blake since the Nebraska assistant began to recruit him while at Mississippi State last year. The scholarship offer from Nebraska came in February, and Scott has stayed close with Blake.

Offensive Line Coach Dennis Wagner visited Scott last week.

Hughes admits he would like to see Scott stay close to home, perhaps at Georgia.

But the coach does not plan to influence his star player's decision. He's sent 36 of his players to play college football over the past four years, with another nine set to do it this year.

"They've all got to make their own choices," Hughes said. "I'm not so sure he'll stay around here. He wants to go to a place that has great tradition, great support and will give him a chance to win a national championship. To me, that sounds a lot like Nebraska."
New recruit adds depth to Huskers at quarterback
LINCOLN - When spring comes and Nebraska's quarterback race becomes officially intriguing, perhaps Coach Bill Callahan will thank a youngster in the stands of Saturday's Nebraska-Creighton game, a rather nosy kid who approached Zac Taylor and asked if he was the quarterback he'd read about in the paper.

"It was kind of neat," Taylor said. "It made me realize how big of a deal football is to these Nebraska fans."

The junior-college star said yes to the Cornhuskers Saturday, becoming the 21st commitment out of the Class of 2005. Taylor will start school in January, compete in spring practice, then battle incumbent Joe Dailey and hotshot freshman Harrison Beck for the job in the fall.
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If you ask at least one recruiting expert, Taylor's commitment could be one of the most significant in the Huskers' top-ranked recruiting class.

"It's a very good catch. I thought it was a necessary catch," says ESPN recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. "I mean, Coach (Bill) Callahan took a ton of heat this year for trying to put option guys into a passing offense. If something happened to Harrison next year, they'd be in the same boat.

"Harrison is the golden boy. He'll be given every opportunity to start. But I'm not quite sure that's ready. Taylor is more than insurance. He has two years on Harrison, and I think he's one of the top juco quarterbacks in the country."
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Taylor pledged to Nebraska in the middle of his recruiting visit, just after the basketball game, ending a courtship that lasted less than three weeks. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound pro-style quarterback caught Callahan's eye after he threw for more than 2,600 yards and led Butler (Kan.) Community College to an 11-1 record this fall.

Memphis, Maryland, Marshall, Illinois and Troy were also interested in Taylor, whose father, Sherwood, played defensive back for Oklahoma in the late 1970s.

Taylor's parents accompanied him on the recruiting trip, and they attended NU's football banquet Saturday night.

"My dad loves it," Taylor said. "It's always been a respected rivalry. It's just weird being on the opposite end of the spectrum."
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Taylor said he knows of Beck, one of the top prep quarterbacks in the country, and said he's "obviously a very talented player." He also knows Callahan and Offensive Coordinator Jay Norvell wouldn't have recruited him if they didn't think he could play.

The quarterback situation was the subject of consternation among Husker fans in 2004. Dailey, a true sophomore, was thrust into a new West Coast Offense and experienced growing pains. He threw 19 interceptions. His little-used backup, freshman Beau Davis, had four picks in one game.

"They expect me to come in and compete or the job," Taylor said. "They believe I'm good enough to come in and start if I beat everybody out. I think I have the potential to start if I do all the things I need to do.

"I like the opportunities they're giving me. I don't think there's any added pressure. Pressure comes with being a quarterback."