Former Montini star Westerkamp just doing what he needs to do at Nebraska

  • Nebraska wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp celebrates a touchdown in September 2014 in Lincoln, Neb. The little boy who grew up to become the Cornhuskers' mustachioed master of the circus catch wasn't sure the sport was for him when he showed up at a suburban Chicago park for the first practice with his third-grade team. Now, he's just doing what he was brought up to do.

    Nebraska wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp celebrates a touchdown in September 2014 in Lincoln, Neb. The little boy who grew up to become the Cornhuskers' mustachioed master of the circus catch wasn't sure the sport was for him when he showed up at a suburban Chicago park for the first practice with his third-grade team. Now, he's just doing what he was brought up to do. Associated Press

 
By Andres Martinez
amartinez@dailyherald.com
Updated 8/10/2015 10:11 AM

Nebraska's Jordan Westerkamp won over plenty of national pundits with his behind-the-back catch against Florida Atlantic last season.

But he struggled to win over one specific critic: his older brother, Christian.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"I was like 'Did you see that?'" Jordan Westerkamp said at last week's Big Ten Media Days.

His brother's reaction?

"Average."

Why was it tough to win over his brother?

Because the Westerkamp brothers would spend much of their summers growing up trying out various circus catches in their backyard.

They'd actually do it whenever they could.

Before practice in high school at Montini, the two would try making any number of highlight-reel catches.

"It was funny, because (there were) one-handers, backhanders, whatever," Jordan Westerkamp said.

But the younger Westerkamp will probably get bonus points for making the catch in a real game.

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"It was kind of crazy to do that and to happen in a game, it's just a crazy deal," Jordan Westerkamp said.

As ridiculous as some of those wacky catches might have been, they have paid off for the junior-to-be.

"Just doing that over and over again, it makes catching the ball so much more natural," Jordan Westerkamp said.

His dad, Bob Westerkamp, played a big role, too.

"Growing up, my dad, in the summertime, he would make me catch like 100 balls a day," Jordan Westerkamp said.

All the practice and, what might have seemed at the time like goofing around, has made Jordan Westerkamp one of the more popular players, not only at Nebraska, but in all of college football.

His teammates took notice this spring, too.

Westerkamp was selected as a team captain for the upcoming season.

"To me, being elected as a captain, it means the world to me, it's such an honor," Jordan Westerkamp said. "To see that my players feel that way about me, it's an honor, it's an absolute honor. I love those guys and I'm going to play my heart out for them."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

He'll also have to impress a new coaching staff.

Bo Pelini was fired at the end of last season and Mike Riley was named the new head coach in December.

"It's kind of been a crazy process with everything that happened, but our guys have bought in," Jordan Westerkamp said. "Going through a whole spring ball, now summer, we trust these guys 100-percent and we love coach Riley, we trust him, we respect him and I'm really looking forward to going out there and playing for him."

One game Westerkamp will look forward to a little more than the rest is the game in Champaign against Illinois.

It'll be Westerkamp's first game back at Memorial Stadium since the 2011 IHSA State Championship game, a game Montini won 70-45 over Joliet Catholic.

In that game, Westerkamp set numerous IHSA records with 12 receptions for 353 yards and 5 touchdowns.

Could a similar type performance be on tap?

"Yeah, fingers crossed," Westerkamp said with a laugh.

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