JD Spielman grew up in a football family.
His dad, Rick Spielman, is the general manager of the Minnesota Vikings. Spielman is one of six adopted children by Rick and Michele Spielman, includinghis biological brother Ronnie.
JD stands for James Donald, and he was adopted when the Spielmans lived in Chicago.
Rick's brother, JD's uncle, is Chris Spielman, who played at Ohio State before embarking on an 11-year NFL career. Chris is now an analyst for ESPN.
But football wasn't the only sport Spielman loved growing up. He was also an exceptional lacrosse player. He made All-State as a freshman and committed to Ohio State in 2013 to play lacrosse.
Spielman eventually realized, though, that football was his ticket. Nebraska noticed that too and extended him a scholarship offer in March 2015 after he visited for the Huskers' Junior Day.
Spielman fell in love with Nebraska then, and he returned a few months later to show it off to his mother.
“Once I knew she liked it as much as I did, I was all in," Spielman told The World-Herald after he committed on Aug. 15, 2015. Spielman chose the Huskers over his other finalist, Minnesota, the hometown school.
With his college decision behind him, Spielman continued to excel on the football field. His school, Eden Prarie, fell short of its fifth straight state championship in 2015, but Spielman was named Minnesota's Mr. Football. He was also named by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune as the Metro Football Player of the Year.
Spielman rushed for 1,259 yards and 19 touchdowns on 102 carries as a senior, averaging 12.3 yards per attempt. He also added 63 tackles on defense with four interceptions and three sacks. He finished the season with 25 total touchdowns, with 16 of them covering 30 yards or more.
Spielman also played in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl, where he was considered one of the top performers throughout the week of practices and the game.
Spielman projects to be a slot receiver and return specialist at Nebraska. He's a consensus three-star prospect and a Top 40 athlete nationally, according to the 247 composite.
Spielman is the first commit from Minnesota since 2010 (Tobi Okuyemi). The last Husker pass-catcher to hail from Minnesota was NU record-setter and 2004 recruit Nate Swift, a native of Hutchinson — about 50 miles west of Eden Prairie.
Compact, fast and tough, Spielman is special, combining elements of Ameer Abdullah and De’Mornay Pierson-El into a similar-sized package. That doesn’t mean Spielman will be as good as those players, but he does have excellent lateral quickness and good acceleration and he warms to contact on the field. Spielman won’t be able to run away from guys the way he did in high school, but don’t underestimate his skillset and his ability to contribute as a true freshman.
Below is the tweet from when Spielman announced his commitment to the Huskers and a video featuring JD early in high school for his lacrosse skills:
Photo: Kyndell Harkness/Star Tribune
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