Academic All-America linebacker Chad Sievers (54) inspired the Long twins.
By Randy York
What’s the best recruiting pitch for a high school player to turn down a football scholarship and accept a walk-on opportunity at Nebraska? For junior walk-on brothers Jake Long and Spencer Long from Elkhorn, Neb., the answer’s easy. “The walk-ons I’ve always looked up to are the players I knew who played at Elkhorn and walked on to play at Nebraska,” said starting right guard Spencer Long. “It goes all the way back to Jay Moore and the Sievers brothers. Once I saw them make it, I always had the same thought in the back of my mind: ‘If they could work hard and play here, why can’t I?’ We all come from the same background.”
Moore was a three-year Husker starter at defensive end in 2004-05-06. Chad Sievers was an Academic All-American linebacker that played at Nebraska in 2002-03-04, and brother Clayton Sievers was a first-team Academic All-Big 12 defensive end that lettered four years (2005-06-07-08). All three played at the same Elkhorn High School from which the Longs graduated. The Long brothers also consider senior teammate Kevin Thomsen, another Elkhorn High School graduate, as a more recent role model that walked on as a defensive end before converting to tight end his last two seasons at Nebraska.
“Kevin was a senior when we were sophomores in high school,” Jake Long said. “We both looked up to him because he was always such a hard worker and real coachable. He did things right and what the coaches asked. He’s just an all-around good guy and set a good example for both of us. He’s good to be around, not only on the field, but off the field. He’s always been there for us. When we were debating whether to accept a scholarship or walk on, he talked to us about coming here. We asked him how it was, and he gave us really good information. He had nothing but good things to say.”
The Long brothers also consider themselves as products of a strong community. “Elkhorn is a smaller town where everyone knows each other,” Spencer said. “We had really good high school coaches that focus on hard work and effort. We were taught how to play the game the right way and had that same mentality in all of the other sports we competed.” Jake echoes his brother’s thoughts. “We grew up around other hard-working families that instilled those values in their kids,” he said. “It’s gotten us all through athletics, our school work and whatever we all decide to do in life.”
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