Tristan Gebbia, Tyjon Lindsey and Jaevon McQuitty were three of Nebraska’s top four signees in the 2017 recruiting class.
Each had a different path in their first year on campus. Lindsey played, Gebbia redshirted, and McQuitty sat out with a knee injury.
One thing that kept them together through an up and down year last year – rooming together.
“Daily, Tristan talks about football,” Lindsey said after Saturday’s spring game. “Sometimes, I’m just trying to rest, and Tristan will be telling me, ‘Do you want to go run routes?’
‘No, Tristan! Just chill for a little bit.’ But Tristan, I love Tristan, because he’s always been on my head since I got here. You know, without Tristan, I wouldn’t be where I am, because he has that mentality to go 110 percent every time. He always wants to work.”
That mentality also helped McQuitty keep his head up in 2017.
In fall camp, McQuitty was a true freshman who quickly emerged as a contender for playing time. Then on August 10, he was shelved with a difficult injury. He hurt his knee on a blocking drill. It was an injury that Mike Riley described as “freaky.”
McQuitty actually got hurt while blocking for his roommate.
“It kind of made me feel a type of way, because that’s my brother,” Lindsey said. “I heard about all of the things he wanted to do that year and all that.”
McQuitty’s season-ending injury in the second week of fall camp was one of the first in a series of blows for the Huskers in 2017. But for Lindsey and McQuitty, they gained a new perspective from the experience.
“(Tyjon’s) always been a good friend to me, supporting me through my injury and everything,” McQuitty said.
McQuitty said he and God “had long talks” when he was sidelined. He’s thankful for the opportunity to come back, and wasted no time throwing himself back into the conversation of playing time.
On the first play of the spring game, Gebbia found McQuitty for a 37-yard completion. The play was negated due to an illegal formation penalty, but the six-foot receiver from Columbia, MO finished the day with three catches for 33 yards, highlighted by a 25-yard touchdown received from Adrian Martinez.
.@Ameerguapo: "What I'm seeing from these backs and quarterbacks today is definitely a good sign."
— Nebraska On BTN (@NebraskaOnBTN) April 21, 2018
“I’m ready to see what (McQuitty) is going to do,” Lindsey said. “Like out of any player, I know his mentality is right right now.” You see first play, he went up there and caught a ball. It got called back, but it still tells you that his mind is right. He’s hasn’t lost a step yet. You guys still haven’t seen it, but you’ll see this year I promise you.”
Lindsey and McQuitty first met at Friday Night Lights in June 2016. Gebbia was there, too.
Nearly two years later, things have changed immensely around them. All three of them could have taken their talents elsewhere, like many talented players do after a coaching change.
But in the end, Frost’s offense was too appealing to pass up.
“I’m real excited,” McQuitty said four days before the spring game. “The offense just frees a lot of guys up. A lot of guys can make plays and just put people in the right position to do the right things.”
It’s still early, but Lindsey, McQuitty and Gebbia all showed samples of what can happen in Frost’s offense when people are in the right position to do the right things.
“I was really glad that they got to show what they could do (in the spring game),” Gebbia said. “We have a lot great play makers on this team and they’ve been working really hard. I’m really proud of them.”
You can contact Tommy at 402-840-5226, or you can follow him on Twitter @Tommy_KLIN.