Things looked bleak for Nebraska early this recruiting cycle as potential quarterback commitments pledged to other schools left and right. That was before the Huskers reeled in a young man from Rancho Santa Margarita, CA who may help get the Big Red back to where they've been trying to return.
Johnny Stanton hadn't seen much outside of larger city life before visiting the Cornhusker State and noted how beautiful the ride from Omaha to Lincoln is.
Yes, the University of Nebraska offers Memorial Stadium, gorgeous facilities, everything an FBS football player could want, but he sees an even bigger opportunity within the university.
"The Life Skills area. It’s definitely something I want to get involved with next year. I want to do more community service. At our school, it’s more of an obligation. At Nebraska, it’s something I really want to do," Stanton said.
He had the opportunity to play at several Pac-12 schools. Even fellow Big Ten school Wisconsin came calling. What ultimately swayed Stanton to become a Husker is truly unique.
Stanton picked Santa Margarita Catholic High School out of eighth grade because it felt like home. The beginning of his career there was grim to put it mildly, but it didn't matter. He was where he belonged.
Upon visiting Lincoln, it was deja vu.
"You hear about the great tradition, the great fan base, but I don’t think it’s anything that I can put into words. It was the feeling that I had with the football program, the coaches and the players."
Who says Nebraska has nothing in common with California?
He's had a long road to recovery after tearing his ACL and meniscus during the fifth game of his senior season, but his perseverance continues to pay off. "My physical therapist said I’ve been recovering very fast. I’m a half month to a month ahead of schedule."
Stanton mentioned that by the time he's cleared for contact, he'll still have two months to get back into game shape before he arrives in Lincoln this summer. He'll be more than ready for fall camp.
Nebraska offensive coordinator Tim Beck, his lead recruiter, is apparently very excited about what he brings to the table, and rightfully so.
As a junior, he rushed for 1,428 yards and 21 touchdowns. He put up plenty of passing yards, but still had work to do through the air with 13 touchdowns against eight interceptions. Things did improve the next year, though.
"I was hurt in the fifth game of my senior year and that point, I had 11 touchdown passes."
Has Stanton achieved perfection as a passer? No. Has he shown the ability to grow at a rapid pace? Absolutely. With his practice and film study habits, that comes as no surprise.
More recently, he found himself watching a game that most Husker fans probably would've preferred he missed: the 2012 Big Ten Championship Game.
"I want to get to Lucas Oil Statium and the Rose Bowl. I was talking to (fellow Nebraska commit) Josh Banderas during the game and that’s something we’re definitely aspiring to do."
Looking to begin pre-medical courses at Nebraska, he's clearly not adverse to a challenge or three.
There seems to only be one truly simple thing about Johnny Stanton: the mission statement for his Cornhusker career.
"Husker fans can expect me to be someone they want to represent them."