|High schoolOmaha North|
Omaha North offensive lineman Michael Decker committed to Nebraska on April 9, becoming the Huskers' first recruit from an OPS school since 2007 (Vikings receiver Niles Paul). But Omaha Central defensive end DaiShon Neal was quick to follow.
The local is the first in-state recruit of NU's 2015 class and the second offensive lineman, joining Kansas offensive tackle Christian Gaylord. He became the eighth known member of the Huskers' class.
Decker is ranked as a three-star prospect by the four major recruiting sites, and he could end up playing guard or center in his career at Nebraska. Scout lists Decker as the seventh-ranked center nationally in the 2015 class.
The Huskers, under then-head coach Bo Pelini, made Decker an offensive line priority before the 2015 cycle had officially started. He attended Junior Day and enjoyed it. He held offers from Kansas State and Wyoming, and was hearing from a lot of other coaches who figured, well, he was eventually going to commit to Nebraska.
Decker said he did because NU "was the one that showed the most interest in me as a person. That's important." Decker lauded the academic support program.
A visit to Husker spring camp before spring break also helped sealed the deal. Decker liked watching then-NU assistants Barney Cotton and John Garrison, his recruiters, in action. Husker offensive lineman Alex Lewis made a point to connect with Decker and make the hard sell.
"He told me there's nowhere else that's better than Nebraska," Decker said.
Heading into the 2013 season, Omaha North coach Larry Martin knew Decker was special.
"The thing I feel that separates some kids on the line is that they like to finish blocks," Martin said. "That's what Michael has."
Decker went on to pave the way for Vikings running back Calvin Strong, who became the state's first 3,000-yard rusher.
Before the 2014 season, The World-Herald's Sam McKewon projected that Decker could turn into "one of the top guards in the country" noting that "few get to the second level better than he does."
Once the recruiting dead period ended after Mike Riley was hired, the new Husker coach's first stop was Omaha to meet with Decker and Neal.
Martin said one thing that struck him was how comfortable Decker was with Riley as they talked.
Martin said Riley got to see the Vikings’ state championship trophy and also meet some North personnel before sitting down in Martin’s office.
“His overall message to me was how happy he was to be here, how important this chapter of his life would be,” Martin said. “He said he was happy where he was before (at Oregon State), but then this opportunity presented itself.”
Decker joined The World-Herald for a live chat with Husker fans, read the transcript here.
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Coachspeak: “He loves and embraces competition. And when he fails, which all kids do, he knows how to get back in a competitive mind in a hurry.” — Larry Martin, North head coach
Our take: Could be a good investment for the Huskers with his character, ability and homegrown roots. Decker said his last attempt to play center didn’t go so well in junior high, but Nebraska could at least take a look. Decker will come into the program with a fearless attitude and a bit of a mean streak on the field, which should serve him well as he tries to hurry up the ladder.
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Video: Michael Decker's signing-day ceremony
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