The Student News Site of University of Nebraska at Kearney

The Antelope

The Antelope

The Antelope

Loper football welcomes 27 new recruits on signing day

UNK ATHLETICS Lincoln Lutheran senior Wyatt Marr signed with UNK, who has played as an offensive lineman.

National Signing Day took place on Feb. 3 all across the country. Many high school athletes made decisions on where they would further their athletic careers. 

The UNK football team was hard at work this year recruiting new players, most of which came from within the state of Nebraska.

“Our in-state class this year was really, really good,” said head coach Josh Lynn. “We only signed five out of staters.” 

Keeping that Nebraska connection is important for the UNK football team. Five Nebraskan recruits come from the city of Kearney, and one of those five recruits is running back Miko Maesssner, a freshman transfer from Princeton University.

“Miko’s a bigger back; he’s also extremely fast,” Lynn said. “We play anywhere from three to four running backs each game. We felt like he’s a kid who could come in and develop to be one of those three to four running backs.” 

UNK also signed a couple of other mid-year transfers in former Southwestern College outside linebacker Atoa Fox and Iowa Western cornerback Javeer Peterson. 

Peterson feels like UNK was the perfect choice for him. 

“I made the decision for myself because I felt that Kearney was a really great place to come to,” Peterson said. “I really just wanted to come somewhere where I feel safe and could feel at home.” 

Coach Lynn really likes the size that Peterson brings to UNK’s cornerback position. At 6’2” 185 lbs., Peterson will be one of the larger cornerbacks for the Lopers. UNK’s coaching staff also felt that they needed to add more depth to that position as well.

“I think I’m a great overall athlete,” Peterson said. “I can do anything you need me to do. Catch, run — put me on O-line and I’m gonna block.”

COVID-19 has impacted the NCAA and the organization’s athlete eligibility rules. With the NCAA granting an extra year of eligibility early in the school year, UNK had a limited number of scholarships that they could give to this incoming class. 

“The team that you have on roster for this last year will hopefully be the same exact team that you have next season,” Lynn said. “That affects scholarship money as there’s no money moving out. Normally we sign anywhere from a 25 to 35 person class, and this year we signed about 11 kids to scholarship money.”

COVID-19 also had an effect on the process of getting the out-of-state recruits that the Lopers signed. Players like quarterback Sean Johnson Jr. from Orlando, Florida, and offensive lineman Darius Thomas from Peoria, Illinois had unique recruiting experiences. 

“We Zoom call with [our out of state recruits],” Lynn said. “We usually like to get those kids out on visits and let them see the campus; however, COVID restrictions affected that this year. Some of these signings will be sight unseen until they get here.”

The team also focused on signing offensive linemen with five new recruits at this position, with three coming from Nebraska including Wyatt Marr of Lincoln Lutheran, Nolan Olafson of Millard South and Preston Welch of Bellevue East. 

“You always start with the front,” Lynn said. “Every class that we’ve signed since we’ve been here, we’ve always made sure that our front is taken care of. Those were some of the top offensive linemen on our board. They just happened to be from the state of Nebraska.”

All in all, it was a unique and successful recruiting year for the Loper football team. The team signed 27 players with 13 defensive players, 11 offensive players and three special teamers. The team is looking forward to having all of the incoming freshmen arrive in the fall. 

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Antelope

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Nebraska at Kearney . Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
GRANT TIGHE, Sports Editor
Donate to The Antelope

Comments (0)

All The Antelope Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *