Nebraska's fourth commitment for the class of 2013 came from A.J. Natter, a 6-foot-5, 240-pound defensive end from Wisconsin.
“He’s always been smart, grounded," Milton assistant football coach and track coach Matt Lee said. "He’s a great player. And he’s always competing against himself to make himself the best that he can be.”
According to Lee, who runs Milton’s offense, Natter was so disruptive at times during practices that the coaches would ask the talented defensive end to sit a few plays out.
After his junior year concluded, Natter got a head start on the recruiting process. He visited Nebraska’s campus four times before deciding to make a nonbinding pledge on the weekend of NU’s rained-out spring game. The Huskers beat out several suitors around the Midwest for Natter’s services, including home-state Wisconsin. And Natter never wavered.
“I just felt at home there, I felt comfortable and I knew Nebraska is the place for me,” Natter told Huskers Illustrated. “I didn’t necessarily know I was going to commit coming down here, but I knew it was going to be a good weekend. I had a pretty good feeling in the hotel on Friday night, came in the next morning and went into coach (John) Papuchis’ office and gave him the good news. It felt great, it felt like the world came off my shoulders. I can’t wait for the future.”
Natter, seeded 11th, finished third in the discus at the Wisconsin state track and field meet last summer. He had a throw of 167 feet, 8 inches, about five feet short of the state title winner. Natter also ran the second leg on Milton’s 400-meter relay team, which fell short of qualifying for the finals last year.
Our take: Natter brings some elite athleticism to the defensive end spot, which should help transform him into an effective pass rusher at this level. Nebraska’s not had much quickness and explosiveness off the edge at end lately, so the addition of Natter is important. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that he works into a specialized role this fall, either. Third-down pass rushing might be his niche.
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