It wasn't so long ago Jamin Graham thought his athletic future was in basketball. Then he was leaning toward joining Scott Frost's football revival at UCF.
But a face-to-face meeting with Frost last week in Alabama and an official visit to Lincoln over the weekend made up his mind — he's all in on Nebraska.
"Coach Frost really wanted me and had a high motivation," Graham told The World-Herald. "That was a big factor. I was already liking them a whole lot. Then Coach Frost coming to the school and me coming up there solidified it."
The high three-star pass-rushing prospect will start working at outside linebacker for Nebraska after playing there and at defensive end at Attalla (Alabama) Etowah High School. The 6-foot-4, 223-pounder is coming off a season in which he recorded 85 tackles (37 for loss and 13.5 sacks) along with 18 quarterback hurries and three pass breakups on a 12-1 team.
Nebraska's need for QB pressure was evident throughout the fall, with called blitzes getting home sporadically and three- or four-man fronts rarely affecting the pass game. NU finished tied for 92nd nationally in tackles for loss (63) and 64th in sacks (25). The Huskers are still in on a variety of other rushers, most notably prep defensive end prospect Ty Robinson out of Arizona and numerous junior-college options.
Etowah coach Drew Noles said Graham is actually a bit taller than 6-4 and has the kind of length and athleticism that allowed him to recently finish a pair of putback dunks in his first basketball game of the season. On the football field, he scored two defensive touchdowns on fumble recoveries in one game this fall and improved drastically in stopping the run.
"He had so many interceptions (in his career) while rushing the passer with balls that he would tip and be able to go and get," Noles said. "Tremendous athlete."
Graham chose the Huskers over finalists UCF and Southern Miss and said he is canceling an official visit he had scheduled for USM. Minnesota also offered him in early November, and he drew others from the likes of Louisville and Mississippi. Nebraska extended an offer in March.
Graham said he officially told Nebraska coaches he was committed during his visit — "they were excited," he said — and also saw in-state commits Ethan Piper (defensive lineman, Norfolk Catholic) and Garrett Snodgrass (athlete, York). He traveled to Lincoln with his mom and brother.
Said Graham: "I met a whole bunch of great people."
The standout will sign on Dec. 19 during the early period and plans to graduate in May. He becomes Nebraska's 22nd commit in Frost's first full class, which is ranked 18th nationally by Rivals and 22nd by 247Sports. Frost has said he plans to sign more than 25 players in this cycle, and it could be as many as 30.
Noles said Graham will fit in well as a playmaker. But he's also an "unbelievable character kid," a guy who has a leadership role in the community youth ministry and doesn't gloat on the field even with superior talent.
"In today's society you see kids that sack the quarterback and want to get up and let everyone know they sacked the quarterback," Noles said. "He picks the quarterback up, pats him on the back and goes back. He's not about show. He plays hard and is kind of old school."?
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