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Preps

Cougar plans to play QB for Cornhuskers

By BOB PUTNAM
Published June 10, 2004

Harrison Beck did not want to spend his senior season fielding phone calls, responding to letters or answering questions about where he will be playing college football in 2005.

For the past six months, the Countryside quarterback had drawn a lot of attention among recruitaholics anxious to know what school he will attend. The buzz ended as Beck made his plans official with a oral commitment to Nebraska.

"This is something that just felt right to me," he said. "Now, I can concentrate on football."

Beck informed Cornhuskers coach Bill Callahan of his decision via phone Tuesday night. The news made the former Raiders coach pull off the side of the road. "He went nuts," Beck said. "I don't know exactly what he said because he was talking a million mph."

Since taking over for the ousted Frank Solich on Jan. 9, Callahan has brought sweeping changes to Nebraska, the biggest coming on offense. Callahan is replacing the option, Nebraska's bread-and-butter attack since 1977, with the West Coast system he ran in the NFL.

To make that system work, Callahan needed a marquee quarterback. He worked tirelessly over the winter to assemble players who were familiar with his brand of football. Beck fit that model perfectly. Directing coach John Davis' pro-style attack, Beck threw more than 2,300 yards and 21 touchdowns as a junior.

His performance got the attention of the Huskers' staff. In February, Beck became the first quarterback from the class of 2005 to receive an offer from Nebraska. A month later, Beck flew to Lincoln for an official visit and again in April for the spring game. "They take football seriously up there," Beck said. "There were more than 61,500 people at that game."

Beck put the school at the top of a list that included elite programs such as Florida, Florida State, Miami, N.C. State, Michigan and LSU. But the biggest selling point was knowing he would be the only quarterback the Huskers would bring in on scholarship.

"I was their No. 1 guy," Beck said. "(Callahan) told me they wouldn't go after another quarterback. They'd shut down the recruiting trail on quarterbacks if I came there."

Beck's decision was big news in Lincoln. He was on the front page of the Lincoln Journal Star and the message board on the Huskers' Web site was filled with more than three pages of comments regarding his commitment.

"Man, that spread so fast," Beck said. "I was on the phone with Callahan and minutes later I got calls from all kinds of recruiting services. It's been wild. I've been on radio stations, including ESPN. But at least it's all over."

[Last modified June 10, 2004, 01:27:19]


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