The Omaha World-Herald   //

Super Six

Division I offers, battles in the trenches and big-city skylines backdrop this year’s Super Six team, The World-Herald's annual showcase recognizing the area's top high school football players. Selections are based not only on the players' performances on the field, but also for the attention they’ve received from college programs. Hover over (or tap) each of the players' letter boxes to reveal key information about each member of this year's team.

» Photo Showcase: Meet the Super Six

» Video: Q&A with the team

» Feature: Metros produce state's top players

Also, see every article from The World-Herald's 16-page high school football preview section, complete with class rankings, key stats, feature stories and more. Click here »

D.J. Foster

G   //   Lincoln Southeast
Height: 6-2    Weight: 307    40-yard dash: 5.4 (E)

» 2012 in review: Foster was arguably the state's top offensive lineman last year, nabbing All-Nebraska honors as a guard. He also played defensive tackle for the Knights, who advanced to the quarterfinals of the Class A playoffs. If there was an opposing defensive lineman several yards downfield, there was a good chance Foster was the guy blocking him.

» Outlook for 2013: Foster will again play both ways at guard and defensive tackle, as he's spent a good chunk of this summer conditioning himself for the grind. Southeast has to replace several offensive stars, so Foster's blocking will be even more important than it was last year.

» Academic standing: Foster is on track to graduate and be eligible for college.

» College plans: Foster turned down offers to Florida, Georgia and other schools to play with his older brother, Trey Foster, at Nebraska. NU worked hard for Foster's commit, including a sit-down with the entire NU coaching staff this summer.

» Coach Ryan Gottula: "He's been starting since he was a sophomore, and he's been on varsity since he was a freshman. He's a tremendous finisher. He does a great job of finishing off blocks. He's good in every area of the offensive line. He's very experienced and a hard worker."

» Foster: "I've been working on my footwork because I've had a couple coaches tell me I need to work on that. I've definitely been in the weight room. That's a guarantee right there. And I know everybody else’s positions on the offense and defense. I'm committed. I really love the game — and I’ll be happy to do it on such a high level in high school and college. I'm definitely looking forward to playing both ways. I want to be able to tackle the opposing quarterback and save my own."

— Sam McKewon

Luke Gifford

QB/S   //   Lincoln Southeast
Height: 6-4    Weight: 204    40-yard dash: 4.54 (E)

» 2012 in review: Gifford was a second-team All-Nebraska safety last year, a rangy, dependable back-end guy who also played some tight end. One of Southeast's best overall athletes, he played basketball for the Knights, as well.

» Outlook for 2013: Gifford moves to quarterback for his senior year and will remain at safety. The Knights have had two straight excellent quarterbacks in Derrius Vick and Najee Jackson, so Gifford has big shoes to fill. His future in college is on defense, and he's been putting on weight to reach that goal. Protein shakes and a cup-and-a-half of cottage cheese every night have been on the menu. "It wasn't my favorite," Gifford said. "But I had to suck it down and gain the weight. I've been eating a lot."

» Academic standing: Gifford is on track to graduate and qualify to play in college.

» College plans: Gifford was the first commit for next year's Nebraska class. NU sees him as a hybrid athlete who could play safety or linebacker. Gifford has been calling other potential recruits to try to add to NU's class.

» Coach Ryan Gottula: "He's really physically gifted, but he's a great leader for our team. He focuses on it. And he's a vocal leader when he needs to be."

» Gifford: "I've put on a little weight, and when I get to Nebraska, they'll help me put on a little bit more weight. I've been focusing on getting stronger and faster, and my footwork at safety. We'll see how it plays out. If I get bigger, I'll be a linebacker. If not, I'm a safety. My physicality and my tackling ability is something I pride myself on and I'm confident in."

— Sam McKewon

Mick Stoltenberg

DE   //   Gretna
Height: 6-5    Weight: 265    40-yard dash: 4.75

» 2012 in review: Stoltenberg flashed his pass-rushing skills with nine quarterback sacks, playing his junior season at around 230 pounds. There was little to no postseason recognition, but Gretna coach Chad Jepsen said that probably had to do with Stoltenberg not playing both ways full time, something that will change this season.

» Outlook for 2013: Stoltenberg said the main focus he takes into his senior year is to be a more complete player — "definitely not as one-dimensional as I was last year." That will come with a challenge, however, because the Nebraska commit is bound to see an increased number of double teams. He also will be looking at a heavier workload with plans to play him at offensive tackle and even tight end in some packages. "I definitely welcome the extra work," he said. "Anything to help the team." There will be a chance to become more of a leader, too: The Dragons lost several seniors.

» Academic standing: Stoltenberg carries a 3.85 grade point average and scored 27 on the ACT.

» College plans: Committed to Nebraska

» Jepsen on Stoltenberg developing and realizing his potential: "Every time I look at him, I'm kind of amazed. He's kind of exceeded where even I thought he might be. Over the 16 or 17 years I've been coaching, you don't get a lot of kids like that come through."

» Stoltenberg on football: "It's definitely always been my favorite sport, because of the physicality and just that it's more of a team sport than any of the other sports I've ever played."

— Rich Kaipust

Harrison Phillips

DL/OT   //   Millard West
Height: 6-4    Weight: 251    40-yard dash: 4.87-4.94 range

» 2012 in review: Phillips made his biggest splash defensively, accounting for 90 total tackles and recording 11.5 sacks with help from his relentless pursuit. His play landed him on The World-Herald All-Nebraska team, but Phillips said the biggest disappointment was seeing his team miss the Class A playoffs. Phillips said his philosophy then and now is "to play every single down like it's my last down of football." He's also already a two-time Class A state wrestling champion for the Wildcats.

» Outlook for 2013: Phillips said he has watched more film than ever as he prepares to play a number of positions and eliminate some fundamental mistakes. Defensively, he said, he could play inside or outside on the line, as well as standing up at outside linebacker, depending on matchups. Offensively, he wants to know left and right tackle as well as the guard spots, and Millard West coach Kirk Peterson even has him long-snapping. The plan is to play this season at about 260 pounds, then be 275 to 280 next season when he gets into the Stanford program. His goal for the Wildcats? "It's not to be a playoff team, but a state championship team."

» Academic standing: Phillips holds a 3.84 grade point average after logging a 4.0 through his junior year. He is set to retake the ACT after scoring a 25 the first time.

» College plans: Committed to Stanford

» Peterson on Phillips' knowledge of the game: "When he went through this whole recruiting process and all the camps, he's really learned a lot from a lot of different people, and he's even brought some of that back to us."

» Phillips on the possible target that comes with being a Stanford recruit: "If anything, I like it. Yeah, kids are going to know who I am, and maybe it gives them a competitive edge or makes them want to go even harder. But that's what I want. I hope kids are gunning for me."

— Rich Kaipust

Easton Stick

QB   //   Omaha Creighton Prep
Height: 6-2    Weight: 210    40-yard dash: 4.6

» 2012 in review: Stick started last year with a statement, leading Prep to a 31-28 overtime win against Omaha Burke by throwing for 210 yards after halftime. He finished the regular season with 13 touchdowns and one interception, completing 86 of 150 passes. Stick's 63-yard run against Omaha Central sealed a win in the Class A quarterfinals. But the Junior Jays' playoff run ended one game later.

» Outlook for 2013: At an Under Armour combine for Nebraska prospects this offseason, Stick completed the three-cone drill in 6.5 seconds, cleared 34 inches in the vertical jump and recorded a broad jump of 10 feet, 2 inches. More designed running opportunities this fall (Prep is experimenting, Stick says) could help him showcase his ability a bit more. Iowa and Nebraska coaches have told Stick they still want to evaluate him through the first few weeks. So there's plenty of pressure. But Prep brings back All-Nebraska receiver RJ Urzendowski, who had a school-record 1,089 receiving yards last year. So that'll certainly make things easier on Stick.

» Academic standing: On track to meet NCAA academic requirements

» College plans: Undecided; offers from North Dakota State, South Dakota State and Akron

» Creighton Prep coach Chris Nizzi on Stick's demeanor under pressure: "He has that poise, he has that presence about him. We saw that from the beginning. He's blessed with those gifts."

» Stick on his evaluations from college coaches: "They all tell me, 'We love your athleticism.' I like to think I'm a pretty good athlete. I'm at my best when things break down -- that backyard, recess football."

— Jon Nyatawa

Trey Carr

DB/WR   //   Omaha Burke
Height: 5-10    Weight: 170    40-yard dash: 4.4

» 2012 in review: Carr was one of the most electric players in the state last season, catching 51 passes for 843 yards and scoring 13 touchdowns. On defense, he had five interceptions and 13 pass breakups. But Carr and the Bulldogs lost twice to the eventual state champion, Millard North — the second defeat coming in the first round of the Class A playoffs. Carr was a first-team All-Nebraska honoree.

» Outlook for 2013: Calls from college coaches have slowed, but that hasn't kept Carr from continuing to work. One more year with a veteran group of teammates is plenty of motivation. He spent the summer trying to improve his top-end speed. Picking the brains of track coaches. Running with parachutes. Anything to better complement his quick burst and explosiveness. He's liked the results. Carr hopes to increase his role even further — he'll try out for the long-snapping job.

» Academic standing: On track to meet NCAA academic requirements

» College plans: Committed to South Dakota State

» Coach Paul Limongi on Carr's new responsibilities this season: "He can do a lot of things for us. But the biggest role he's going to have to partake this year is to be a senior leader. And he's doing a better job of commanding great effort and great toughness from others, making everybody better."

» Carr on his mindset when the football's in his hands: "If I touch the ball, I'm going to score. Why are you on the field if you don't want to score every play?"

— Jon Nyatawa