Boone Central graduate Wyatt Mazour is living the dream of every Nebraska Cornhusker fan. Every Saturday during the fall, Mazour runs on to the football field donning the scarlet and cream and wearing a block N on his helmet. It has been a long road that has led Mazour to this point, but it is a road Mazour has embraced and grown from.
Coming our of Boone Central, Mazour was a highly-touted high school recruit. Mazour led the Cardinals to a perfect 13-0 record and Class C-1 state title in 2014.
The Albion native threw for 1,863 yards and 25 touchdowns, while completing better than 56 percent of his passes. On the ground, Mazour rushed for 1,632 yards and 26 touchdowns, with eight 100-yard rushing games.
Mazour was the first-team Super State quarterback by the Lincoln Journal Star and first-team All-Nebraska by the Omaha World-Herald. Both the Journal Star and World-Herald named him the honorary captain of the Class C-1 all-state team in 2014. The Boone Central start had drawn the attention of college programs across the country.
“It was actually kind of tough,” Mazour said. “Growing up and watching Husker football, it was always a dream of mine to play here. I came on visits under Bo Pelini’s staff, but when his staff was let go, I was in limbo. Coach (Mike) Reilly’s staff had to get adjusted and settle down before they started looking at in-state kids. That was tough for me because I wanted to play football at the next level. I had schools like Iowa State, South Dakota State, NAIA schools and others all contacting me. I had to deal with that and heard nothing (from Nebraska) for a while and wondered if I might have to pursue (my college football career) at a different school. Then Kenny Wilhite (Director of High School Relations at UNL) gave me a call and offered me a preferred walk-on spot. That was the last week of signing day. It came down to my heart. I dreamed of playing here and I knew everyone wanted me to come play for the Huskers. I made a decision based on my heart and chances like this don’t come often.”
Despite being one of the top athletes in the state, Mazour had to deal with his share of growing pains, going from high school to college football.
“I remember my freshman year coming in and doing scout team against Maliek Collins and Vincent Valentine (current NFL players) and those guys,” Mazour recalled. “That was my holy crap moment. These guys are huge, but after that year I got the hang of things and how to approach things. I just had to work harder and had to have the mentality of getting better and building my confidence in the offseason. I built my confidence up in the weight room during offseason workouts. The past couple of years, I’ve been in the top-four of the most athletic guys in the power index.”
It was that work ethic in the weight room that started turning heads and got the former Cardinal noticed by the coaching staff.
“The talent level is so high that it’s really hard to standout at this level,” Mazour noted. “In high school, I had the quickness, speed and strength that separated me from other people. I got here and it’s really narrowed. I really challenge myself to always be the strongest and the fastest. I take pride in my strength and being able to perform in the weight room. The speed of the game is the big thing I’ve been focusing on. In this offense, speed kills and I’ve been focusing more on my running and conditioning. The workouts are 100-times harder. Coach (Zach) Duval has done an amazing job. That’s one thing that is a huge difference from high school to college is the weight room and workouts.”
After a year of busting his butt, Mazour finally saw his dream become a reality during his redshirt freshman season.
“I played against Wyoming, ran down on kickoff and that was one of those moments where it was a dream come true,” Mazour said. “I was awestruck. That play went so fast for me in my head. Against Wyoming, it was a home game, my first time getting in, with the crowd and in a game that actually counts as a win or a loss. I had a lot of first since then and I haven’t really felt like that since. I’ve been comfortable in the environment”
Unfortunately for Mazour, his next time out ended his season.
“The next game I had my concussion and I missed the rest of the season,” Mazour continued. “It was frustrating because I remember that year I was one of the only walk-ons to play in my class and I was traveling that next week. I had a lot of things going positively and then my season ended.”
Following the 2017 season, Riley was let go as Huskers’ head coach and former Nebraska quarterback Scott Frost was brought in to help turn the program around.
“Coach Frost says we need to believe in the system and ride or die for the guys that put in their all for this program,” the junior running back said. “That’s how it should be, especially here and looking back and seeing how successful we were in the 90s and the early 2000s. We had a lot of people playing with passion and you could see it on film. The people before us played their hearts out every single time and that’s what they’re trying to restore. As someone who has grown up from Nebraska, wanted nothing but the best for this program and always watching the games hoping this is the year Nebraska can be a national champion again. That’s always been a dream of mine. To be a part of bringing Nebraska back to its glory.”
In a blowout loss to Michigan, Mazour scored his first career touchdown for the scarlet and cream. The junior’s special moment was overshadowed by the score.
“It was a really big moment for me to score in the Big House (Michigan’s stadium), but we were getting blown out that game,” Mazour said. “If somebody was over-top really excited about that (scoring their first touchdown) and didn’t think about the team’s outcome, that would bother me.”
While starting to find success on the football field, Mazour has been a great example of what a student-athlete should be. The nutrition and health science major has been named to the Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll four times, a member of the Brook Berringer and Tom Osborne Citizenship Team in 2016, 17 and 18 and was named academic all-Big Ten in 2017.
“I didn’t think it would be quite the dramatic change that it is, especially with school,” Mazour noted. “In high school I was a 4.0 student, but didn’t really need to study. Then I came to college and that first semester was a huge wake up call. With football and wanting to do physical therapy in the future, I knew I couldn’t slack off. In my free time I study as much as I can and I’ve gotten pretty good at getting things done when I’m supposed to. I usually do my work way before hand and don’t wait till the last minute. My studying habits have gotten a lot better. When I was named to the academic all-Big Ten, it was one of my hardest semesters in college. It shows how much i’ve grown as a student and how to balance everything between football and school.”
Despite a rough start to the season, the Huskers are showing promise and have won ?. Mazour hopes before he hangs up the cleats, he can be remembered as one of guys who helped turn the program around.
“There are a ton of guys on the field that are playing with passion and pride for this program,” Mazour concluded. “This is a hard time, but this is a time that we can truly get this thing turned around and get on the right path like they want it. I try to set a great example of what a Husker player is supposed to be. My mentality has always been to give it my all.”