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Spielman Chosen for Paul Hornung Award Watch List

Nebraska wide receiver JD Spielman picked up his second watch list recognition on Thursday, as the junior was named to the 2019 Paul Hornung Award presented by Texas Roadhouse.


Spielman was tabbed for the list for the second consecutive season and is one of 44 players, including eight from the Big Ten, on the initial watch list. The award is presented to the most versatile player in college football. Players on this year’s watch list accounted for 15,343 rushing yards, 18,538 receiving yards, 14,401 kickoff return yards, 2,897 punt return yards and 323 total tackles in 2018. Reminiscent of Hornung during his playing days, members of the watch list demonstrated a knack for scoring numerous ways. Last season, the watch list players combined for 316 total touchdowns in six different ways – rushing; receiving; passing; and returning punts, kickoffs and interceptions.


Spielman, a 5-foot-9, 180-pound wide receiver, has a chance to finish his junior season as the most prolific receiver in school history and has ranked in the top five in the Big Ten in all-purpose yards per game in both seasons as a Husker. He enters his junior campaign needing only 68 catches and 1,099 yards to break NU career records in both categories.


Last season, Spielman hauled in 66 passes for 881 yards and eight touchdowns, despite missing the final two games of the season. He finished on NU’s top-10 single-season list in catches (third), yards (ninth) and touchdowns (seventh). He ranked among the Big Ten leaders in receptions per game (6.6, second), receiving yards per game (81.8, fourth) and all-purpose yards per game (111.5, fifth) en route to earning All-Big Ten honors for the second straight season.


His best performance came against nationally-ranked Wisconsin, when he shattered Nebraska’s single-game receiving record with 209 yards. He is the only player in school history with a 200-yard receiving game. Spielman hauled in 10 passes for 135 yards against Purdue and is the only receiver in school history with multiple double-digit reception games.


Spielman will look to be NU’s first-ever winner of the honor, while Ameer Abdullah was a finalist in 2014. The last three winners have come from the Big Ten, including 2018 recipient Rondale Moore of Purdue. The award will announce five finalists in November with the winner being selected in early December.


Stille Nominated for Wuerffel Trophy

Lincoln – University of Nebraska defensive linemen Ben Stille was announced Thursday as one of the candidates for the 2019 Wuerffel Trophy. The Wuerffel Trophy is awarded to the FBS player that best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.


It is the second watch list for Stille, who was named to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® watch list last week. Stille is one of seven Big Ten players on the 86-member list.


Stille has been active in the Huskers’ Life Skills program, volunteering his time with the FCA, Husker Heroes, TeamMates, the Nebraska Football Road Race and local hospital visits. For his efforts, he received the Sam Foltz Hero 27 Leadership Award earlier this spring, and was named to the Tom Osborne and Brook Berringer Citizenship teams for the past three years. Earlier this year, he was also involved in the Husker football team’s efforts for raise money for flood relief victims following the spring floods across Nebraska.


The semifinalists for the award will be announced on November 5 and finalists will be announced on November 18. The formal announcement of the 2019 recipient will be made at the National Football Foundation's festivities in New York City on December 10.


Frost Named to Dodd Trophy Watch List

Area athletes took part in the NCA All Star games this week in Lincoln. We got the perspective of Kearney Basketball Coach Drake Beranek and Blue Hill Volleyball Coach Kristi Allen on those contests. 

Drake Beranek

Kristi Allen

The Home Federal American Legion Seniors saw a 15 year state tourney appearance streak come to a close with a 9-1 loss to Gretna in the A6 semifinal. Gretna scored two in the first and three in the second to take command. 

The Five Points Bank Juniors are headed back to state after a 5-4 win over Gretna. They'll open state tourney play in Lincoln on Saturday. 

Jake Ritzdorf after Gretna

Pitcher/3B Javi Cruz player profile

Grand Island Home Federal rallied for four runs in the fifth inning for a 4-3 win over Columbus in the A6 Area American Legion Tournament.

Noah Halsey had an RBI single. Blake Leiting's two run single tied it. Jack Friesen scored the go ahead run on a balk. Carson Cahoy and Javi Cruz each had two hits. 

Halsey picked up the win with three hitless innings behind Trevor Johnson. 

Home Federal (18-22), plays Gretna at 4pm Wednesday in Columbus. Pre-game at 3:45 on AM 1430 KRGI/105.5 FM. 

If Fremont beats Gretna tonight, Fremont would earn a spot in the championship game at 7pm and play the Gretna/Home Federal winner. 

If Gretna wins. there will be just two teams remaining and Home Federal would have to beat Gretna twice for the A6 title. The top two finishers qualify for the state division tournaments.

The Five Points Bank Juniors took out Columbus 9-2 at the A6 tourney in South Sioux City. Five Points plays Gretna today at 4:30 needing one win in two games to claim the championship.

Coach Jake Ritzdorf after Columbus

Home Federal IF/P Rans Sanders


Former Nebraska volleyball national champion setter Kelly Hunter will join the coaching staff as a graduate assistant for the 2019 season.

Hunter, a two-time national champion with the Huskers in 2015 and 2017, will help coach the setters while finishing her accelerated master’s degree in business administration. After graduating from Nebraska in 2018, she played one season professionally in Turkey with Beylikduzu.

“One of the greatest joys in coaching is having a former player come back and coach in your program,” Head Coach John Cook said. “Kelly has decided to finish her master’s degree and work with our program this season. Nicklin (Hames) and Nicole (Drewnick) are two of the luckiest setters in the country, as they’ll be able to train with her. Not only will Kelly be in the gym every day, she’ll also be helping us develop leaders in our program. She was one of the best captains we’ve ever had, and now after her experience being away from the program and playing professionally, she’ll have a lot of wisdom to share with our players.”

“I’m so excited to be back with Nebraska volleyball and working as a graduate assistant,” Hunter said. “It’s awesome to be a part of a program that supports their former athletes so much. I’ll be working every day with the setters at practice. I’m looking forward to a great season.”

Hunter was named a first-team AVCA All-American, the Big Ten Setter of the Year and an All-Big Ten selection for the second time in her career following her 2017 senior season. She received numerous honors from volleyball publications, including National Player of the Year and All-America first-team honors from and Hunter was also named co-Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Championship with teammate Mikaela Foecke after the Huskers beat Florida in the national title match in 2017.

Hunter earned CoSIDA Academic All-District first-team accolades and was named a semifinalist for the Senior CLASS Award. She ended her career with 4,125 assists, the second-most in Husker history, and she totaled 699 career postseason assists, the highest total in school history. Hunter finished her career with a 16-1 record in the NCAA Tournament as Nebraska’s starting setter, posting the most wins and highest postseason winning percentage by a starting setter in Husker history.


Lincoln – University of Nebraska senior linebacker Mohamed Barry was honored Monday morning, as he was chosen to the Butkus Award Watch list.

Barry is one of 12 linebackers named to the 51-member watch list, as the 51 watch list members honor the No. 51 that Butkus wore during his Hall of Fame career. It is the second watch list Barry has been named to, as he was on the initial Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list released earlier in the summer.

Barry, a 6-foot-1, 230-pound linebacker, returns to anchor the Huskers’ defense after an outstanding junior campaign. The Grayson, Ga., native led the Huskers and ranked second in the Big Ten with 112 tackles, including 55 solo tackles, and added 11 tackles for loss and two sacks from his inside linebacker position. His 112 tackles were the most by a Husker since NFL All-Pro Lavonte David totaled 133 stops in 2011.

Barry, a 2018 All-Big Ten selection by both the coaches and media, led NU in tackles in nine of 12 games, including seven double-figure efforts. He posted a career-high 12 tackles against Colorado and had 11 stops six other times as a junior. For his efforts, he was chosen by the Husker coaching staff as the team’s defensive MVP last season.

The finalists will be announced on Nov. 25, and the winner will be announced on or before Dec. 10. Trev Alberts is the only Husker to win a Butkus Award, as he was honored in 1992.

Formed in 1985, the Butkus Award was expanded in 2008 to honor linebackers at three levels while supporting causes important to the Butkus family. They include the I Play Clean® initiative promoting training and nutrition instead of performance-enhancing drugs, and the Butkus Takes Heart™ initiative encouraging early cardiovascular screening among adults.

Sunday's games at the A6 Area Senior Legion Tournament have been postponed to Monday. We'll have Grand Island Home Federal vs Columbus at 7pm. Pre-game 6:45 on AM 1430/105.5 FM KRGI.

#1 Fremont 7, #6 Norfolk 1
#2 Gretna 7, #5 Grand Island 4
#4 Waverly 11, #3 Columbus

Grand Island 3, Norfolk 1
Columbus 3, Fremont 0
Gretna 4, Waverly 3

Fremont vs Waverly 4pm
Grand Island vs Columbus 7pm

Fremont/Waverly winner vs Gretna

Wednesday TBA

Here are Jake Ritzdorf's post game interviews from the weekend.

Jake Ritzdorf after Gretna

Jake Ritzdorf after Norfolk

New Husker Golfer Caleb Badura was in studio for the Huddle on Thursday. After spending his freshman year at Northwestern, IA, The Aurora grad will get his crack at D1 golf beginning in the fall. 

Caleb Badura

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