Nebraska Football: Here's How We Wish the Recruiting Cop Story Went Down

Adam JacobiBig Ten Football Lead WriterJanuary 22, 2013

Police Officer Herbie reporting for duty.
Police Officer Herbie reporting for duty.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

There's a delightful story from the Quincy Herald-Whig (via the USA Today, which we admit to reading slightly more often than the Quincy Herald-Whig) about Nebraska picking up a transfer kicker named Pat Smith in a rather unusual manner: by having a police officer do the recruiting.

Well, sort of. Here's how the story went down:

Last weekend, while on his way to visit the Lincoln, Neb., campus, Smith was pulled over by a Nebraska state trooper shortly after crossing the border from Iowa.

Asked where he was headed, Smith explained he was exploring the possibility of transferring from Western Illinois University and making this his official visit to the Big Ten Conference school.

"He took my insurance card and went back to his car," said Smith, a kicker and punter who recently completed his junior season at WIU as one of 10 finalists for the Fred Mitchell Outstanding Place-Kicker Award. "He then waved me back to his car. We spent about 15 minutes talking about the Huskers."

Smith then walked away with a written warning and an idea of what the rest of the visit would be like.

"It made an impression," Smith said.

That's neat...if you believe everyone's story.

We're not inclined to take any college kids at their word, however, and we've been arrested more than enough times to know how cops do things. So with the caveat that everything that follows is completely incorrect and not to be taken as truth, here's how we think things really went down—or at the very least, how we'd like to believe it happened. 


Cop: License and registration, son.

Smith: Yes, sir.

Cop: Pat Smith, eh? From Illinois, eh? What brings you to this part of America?

Smith: Well, sir, I'm a college kicker from Western Illinois, and I was thinking about visiting the Nebraska Cornhuskers as a graduate transfer!

Cop: I see. Well, I'm just going to run your license and insurance quickly to make sure it's okay for you to drive.

Smith: Yes, sir.

The police officer returns to his vehicle and finds that yes, everything is in order. So now it's time to put on the hard sell.

Cop: Son, could you come back to my cruiser real quick? Front seat, you're not in trouble.

Smith: Yes, sir.

The two men enter the car.

Cop: Nebraska football is a special part of this state. Are you aware of that, son?

Smith: Yes, sir.

Cop: It means a whole lot to every citizen of the great state of Nebraska. It's basically the only show in town. We don't have a pro team or another major college football program. The basketball team's crap. So's basically every other sport on campus. It's all Husker football, all the time. And we take it very seriously.

Smith: Yes, sir.

Cop: So since it's the only thing we've got in this state, that means everyone's a fan. Heck, I'll tell you right now, I'm a Nebraska football fan.

Smith: Okay.

Cop: And Otis is a Nebraska football fan.

Smith: ...

Cop: Have you met Otis?

Smith: No, sir.

The police officer draws up his pant leg and reveals a firearm that he takes out of his leg holster.

Cop: Otis is my friend, the gun. He's not standard police issue—hell, I'm pretty sure my boss doesn't even know about him. We don't ask about each other's friends. But Otis is a big time Nebraska fan. Bigger than me, even.

Smith: Yes, sir.

Cop: And if Otis here thought you might be thinking about going anywhere but Nebraska, he might think you're an enemy.

Smith: I'm no enemy, sir.

Cop: Well, that's very good news, son! You see, I'd like to think I'm a responsible man—I'm a man of the law, after all—but I can't be expected to be responsible for the behavior of every single one of my friends. That'd be unreasonable, now wouldn't it?

Smith: Yes, sir.

Cop: And if Otis here got upset about you betraying Nebraska football by kicking for someone else, well, there's only so much I can do to control Otis. He has an explosive personality, after all.

Smith: Yes, sir.

Cop: And by that I mean he's a gun that would shoot you.

Smith: I gathered that, sir.

Cop: And we don't want Otis to do that. Especially since Otis here has had his serial number shaved off, and he's very good at making things look like accidents.

Smith: No, sir. We don't want that.

Cop: Now, where were we?

Smith: Nebraska football, sir?

Cop: Yes, Nebraska football! As I was saying, it's a big deal around these parts, and we'd just love it if you joined the Cornhusker family.

Smith: I don't believe I even have a choice, sir.

Cop: That's the spirit, son! So if you're on your way to Lincoln, why, I'd be happy to even provide a police escort all the way to town.

Smith: Oh, that won't be necessary, sir. But thank you, I'd rather just be on my way.

Cop: I see. Problem is, Otis here thinks it'd be a real swell idea if you took the escort.

Smith: Yes, sir.

Young Mr. Smith walks back to his car the way a convict walks to the electric chair. The police officer picks up his radio.

Cop: Yeah, Coach Pelini? Just got that kicker you were wanting. Yep. Mm-hmm. I'll see you later. Go Big Red.