CHAMBERLAIN -- Nash Hutmacher is exchanging one shade of red for another.
The Chamberlain senior officially signed his Division I National Letter of Intent to play football for the University of Nebraska on Wednesday, culminating a recruitment process dating back to his freshman year.
Hutmacher committed to Nebraska in July, but his desire to play for the Cornhuskers dates back to the beginning of his recruiting process. As a high school freshman, Nebraska was one of the schools on a list of schools he aspired to play for, the Huskers were the second school to offer him a scholarship during the summer of 2017, but playing in Lincoln is no longer a dream.
“It’s awesome to finally have this day done and it’s official,” Hutmacher said. “But in my head, it’s kind of always been official since the day I committed, just because I knew that’s where I want to be and that’s what I was going to do.”
Hutmacher’s recruitment began with a scholarship offer from South Dakota State during the spring of his freshman year and it was a whirlwind ever since.
An endless string of phone calls ensued from football and wrestling coaches seeking the services of the 6-foot-5, 310-pound defensive tackle, who has been a three-time state champion heavyweight wrestler and won Class A state track and field titles in shot put and discus earlier this year.
There were also times he received text messages containing a number he was instructed to call, which was typically followed by an unsolicited scholarship offer from a school with which he had never spoken.
The process was exciting for Hutmacher and his parents -- Joe and Laura -- but it was also stressful and arduous at the same time.
“It was a little nerve-racking sometimes, but really exciting in the same aspect,” Laura Hutmacher said.
Hutmacher powered his recruitment through three Class 11B all-state selections and 269 tackles and 13 sacks during his career, along with being active on social media, which paid off at times.
Florida State was among the first to follow him on Twitter and a trend began. An entire coaching staff would follow him and a scholarship offer usually came within a few days afterward.
Even though Nebraska -- which recruited Joe until a knee injury halted his Division I football hopes -- was high on the list of desired school for his parents due to the proximity of the campus, Hutmacher was given freedom to pursue the destination and sport of his choice.
“We wanted to empower Nash to go where he was comfortable without influencing him one way or another,” Joe Hutmacher said. “So, we tried to give him the tools to make his decision, because it’s his journey. As parents, sometimes it’s hard to do that.
“We all want to guide our kids. But I would say, ‘You need to talk to this coach.’ I wouldn’t want to talk to the coach. If you’re the one interested in going there, you need to call and talk to this coach.”
For most of the process, Hutmacher kept his decision to himself. Following official visits to Nebraska, Oregon and Wisconsin last year -- where he visited with wrestling coaches at each destination -- his parents felt he could pick any of the schools. Yet when he decided to pursue football rather than wrestling last summer, the decision was not hard, he said.
Even though his scholarship was offered by former Nebraska head coach Mike Riley, the transition to current coach Scott Frost and his staff has been seamless and Hutmacher has been loyal.
He declined visits to some Power Five conference schools over the years, and eventually, he stopped sharing his scholarship offers publicly because he claimed, “I have all the offers I want.”
It is also no coincidence that Nebraska and Wisconsin were among his finalists after being two of his first three offers. But since making his commitment five months ago, Hutmacher has not wavered on his decision and he made it clear to other schools that he could not be flipped.
“From that day I committed, it never crossed my mind to go to any other school,” Hutmacher said. “Nebraska is where I wanted to be. I was all-in after that day.”
It was fitting that Nebraska also provided the most memorable moment of his recruitment. While he went fishing on all his official visits, a recent pheasant hunt in Lyman County with Frost and assistants Tony Tuioti, Erik Chinander and Mario Verduzco.
“Not a lot of coaches do that,” Hutmacher said. “That was a lot of fun.”