LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska's Ryker Fyfe has turned his frustration over being a walk-on into positive energy.
To the surprise of many, but certainly not Fyfe, the redshirt sophomore has passed heralded 2013 recruit Johnny Stanton on his way to the No. 2 quarterback's job behind Tommy Armstrong Jr.
It's been quite the ascent for Fyfe, whose only scholarship offer coming out of Grand Island High was from Division II Nebraska-Kearney.
"It does fuel your fire," Fyfe said. "I thought after my senior year I'd have a bunch of offers. I was like, 'I feel I'm a D1 player.' "
Fyfe accepted Nebraska's invitation to walk on and brought with him an "I'll-show-them" attitude. He hopes to be among the players awarded scholarships at the end of the week.
Offensive coordinator Tim Beck said Nebraska didn't have a scholarship available for Fyfe after Armstrong verbally committed to the 2012 recruiting class. That Fyfe wasn't offered by any Division I school surprised Beck.
"I thought he was a good enough player," Beck said, "but we didn't really have enough to take two. Getting him was like getting two."
It's helped Fyfe that he has a year's more experience than Stanton, who was on the scout team last year, and that the roster isn't packed with quarterbacks. Four-year starter Taylor Martinez and backup Ron Kellogg III exhausted their eligibility. Four-star recruit Bubba Starling signed in 2011 but decided to pursue professional baseball, and Brion Carnes and walk-on Bronson Marsh transferred.
That left Fyfe the presumptive No. 3 QB last spring almost by default. Stanton led one of the nation's top teams at Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) Catholic High and was ranked among the top 30 quarterback prospects. With those credentials, he was considered the front-runner to be the top backup or maybe challenge Armstrong for the starter's job.
Fyfe ramped up his underdog approach to compete with and pull even with Stanton.