Walk Ons Huskers' Edge

A fascinating look at the long history of the University of Nebraska's "walk-on" program, which allows native Nebraskans to play for the Cornhuskers football team without a scholarship.

“The more people you bring into a culture that have strong beliefs about something and have a strong commitment and want-to, it's going to make you stronger in the future.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Coach Bo Pelini

Husker walk ons: Alex Henery, Jake Wesch, and T.J. O'leary

Whether from Alliance to Auburn, or Ogallala to Omaha, there is a never-say-die, hard-working attitude that unites Nebraskans. That attitude is exemplified by the special way football is played at the University of Nebraska and the honored tradition of the Big Red walk-on program.

Athletes from mostly rural Nebraska towns walk-on to play football for their home state without scholarships, sometimes turning down scholarship to other schools, just to get a chance to perhaps one day make the team.


A new NET Television special, “Walk Ons: Huskers’ Edge,” tells the story of the University of Nebraska’s football walk-on program, following the young men raised with Nebraska values and dreaming of becoming Huskers and playing in Memorial Stadium.

“Walk Ons” looks at the history of the walk-on program at Nebraska, including Langston Coleman, who in the early 1960s became the first Husker walk-on when he joined Bob Devaney’s squad. The official institution of the walk-on program began in 1973, the first year of Tom Osborne’s reign as Husker head coach, because of a NCAA reduction rule in the number of scholarships that could be offered.

Husker walk on: Joel Makovicka

In addition to Coleman, former Husker walk-on greats Jeff and Joel Makovicka, Jeff Jamrog and Jason Peter talk about their walk-on experiences, and Osborne, current Husker coach Bo Pelini and sportswriters discuss the past and present impact of the fabled program.

Utilizing both vintage and contemporary footage, “Walk Ons” demonstrates how the walk-on players have contributed to Nebraska’s success on the gridiron. Viewers also meet two current Nebraska walk-ons as they aspire to become part of the Big Red team.

What is consistently voiced throughout the program is how the walk-on athletes exhibit a hard work ethic, loyalty and the concept of never giving up -- attitudes representative of Nebraska’s tradition of blue-collar values