Category Archives: Huskers News

After questions of his commitment lingered for a month, Andrew White decides to transfer from Nebraska

LINCOLN — After a month of behind-the-scenes uncertainty, Andrew White III, Nebraska basketball’s top returning scorer and rebounder, is expected to leave the program as a fifth-year graduate transfer.

Husker coach Tim Miles said Saturday evening that he talked to White during the day Saturday and expected another conversation on Saturday night. During that gap, Miles said, White contacted Nebraska Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst to request a transfer.

Miles, with disgust in his voice, declined other comment.

The World-Herald asked Eichorst on Saturday night if White’s release would be granted, and if so, would it be a full release or restrictive of movement to certain teams?

Eichorst’s reply text: “Coach Miles will get back to you regarding Andrew’s transfer situation when he knows more.”

Neither White, who transferred to Nebraska from Kansas and played just one year, nor his father responded to multiple calls and texts. The 6-foot-7 wing was an honorable mention All-Big Ten pick after averaging 16.6 points and 5.9 rebounds a game.

White entered the NBA draft this spring and stayed in until the final day (May 25), pulling out just a few hours before the deadline.

Sources close to the program said even after White withdrew, they felt uncomfortable with his commitment to returning to Nebraska following his graduation in early May. More uncertainty bubbled up periodically for the past month, even as Miles and assistant Kenya Hunter kept in communication.

Two World-Herald sources elsewhere in college basketball said they had heard AAU coaches and handlers in other parts of the country talk as if it were fact White would leave Nebraska this summer for another school.

When asked about those reports, Andrew White Jr. recently told The World-Herald:

“Those rumors aren’t coming from our camp. We’re not looking to leave. He’s sold. He’s ready to come back. He loves Nebraska and he loves the people and he loves the coaches.”

Yet the older White wouldn’t commit to guaranteeing his son would return.

Now, White III appears on track to play for a third Division I program in five years. He originally was a top-50 recruit from Richmond, Virginia. In his two years at Kansas, he played almost entirely as a backup. For Nebraska, he started all 34 games.

One possible issue for White’s departure might involve the family’s perception of Nebraska’s prospects for success.

Something that lingered from White’s conversations with NBA people was a question about why his team didn’t have a better record if he was NBA caliber. Nebraska finished 16-18 overall last season and 11th in the 14-team Big Ten at 6-12.

“Andrew desperately wants to win,” his father said. “There’s a correlation between winning and getting to the next level.”

Nebraska, in 2016-17, likely would have been picked to finish in the bottom third of the Big Ten even before White’s announcement. Now, the Huskers have an 11-scholarship roster of one senior, three juniors (one who must sit out as a transfer), four sophomores and three freshmen.

White, because he had graduated, received permission by Nebraska coaches to spend June at his parents’ home in Virginia.

All of his teammates other than senior Tai Webster and freshman Jordy Tshimanga are in Lincoln working out together. Webster is playing with the New Zealand national team. Tshimanga graduated from boarding school too late to enroll in NU’s first summer session.

In May, White worked out for the Utah Jazz, Detroit Pistons, Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls. About 10 days before the draft-decision deadline, The World-Herald asked White if he was picking only between Nebraska and the NBA.

“As of right now, yes, that’s all I’ve really considered,” he said.

With the departure to graduation of White, plus second-team All-Big Ten forward Shavon Shields and guard Benny Parker, Nebraska has lost 53 percent of its scoring and 38 percent of its rebounding. The two returning starters are Webster, a combo guard, and sophomore forward Michael Jacobson.

Fans, Top Prospects Show Up in Force for Huskers’ Friday Night Lights Camp

LINCOLN — After about two hours of clapping and impromptu “Husker Power” chants from fans watching practice drills, Nebraska football’s final, star-studded Friday Night Lights camp boiled down to its main event.

Bookie vs. the five-star.

That was 2018 cornerback prospect Brendan Radley-Hiles — a top 100 prospect who goes by the nickname “Bookie” — pitting himself against 2017 receiver Joseph Lewis, the top wideout in the nation according to one recruiting service, and a no-brainer five-star prospect. Both are California kids Nebraska desperately wants to land as recruits.

A reported-estimated crowd of 2,500 focused on the matchup as current Husker players — working the camp — surrounded the scene.

Top prospects from California, working out in late June in the middle of Nebraska. Was this happening? It was. And fans weren’t disappointed.

On one deep route, the shorter Radley-Hiles jammed the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Lewis just enough to slow his stride a bit. Lewis got a step, but Radley-Hiles kept pace and, in the south end zone of Memorial Stadium, timed his leap just right, swatting away the ball from Lewis’ hands.

“Oh!” the crowd gasped.

On the next deep route, Lewis didn’t play around, bolting hard toward the middle of the same end zone. Radley-Hiles wasn’t far behind, but the pass was on target and Lewis, with just a step, snatched it for a touchdown.

And so the battles went for roughly a half-hour. Quarterback commit Tristan Gebbiatossed darts. Receiver commits Keyshawn Johnson Jr. and Jaevon McQuitty caught every pass they could track down. Four-star receiver Tyjon Lindsey — a cousin of Radley-Hiles and the target of a heated recruiting battle between Nebraska and Ohio State — caught a slant pass, streaked for a touchdown, then did a couple of gymnast-high backflips. Four-star cornerback Jaylen Kelly-Powell, from Detroit, looked stingy in his reps. Arizona running back commit Nathan Tilford worked out. A 2017 Missouri wide receiver commit, four-star Da’Ron Davis, showed up as a surprise camper. A 5-foot-11, 245-pound Florida prep running back with a truckload of offers, three-starJamari Peacock, caught passes.

Several other prospects — such as 2017 tight end Reese Leitao and 2018 defensive tackle Trevor Trout — didn’t work out, but just watched the evening unfold. At some point, Nebraska basketball assistants even strolled into the stadium with a prospect of their own. The more the merrier.

“The best camp I have ever been a part of,” Kelly-Powell wrote on Twitter. “Hands down.”

“GO BIG RED,” tweeted Lindsey. “That’s all I have to say.”

“Best damn fans in AMERICA,” Johnson said in part on Twitter.

Nebraska coach Mike Riley couldn’t have imagined the night going any better.

“That was a crowd!” Riley said. “That was a crowd! That was really fun.”

He signed autographs and took pictures for part of the night as players were timed in the 40-yard dash. There was still a line when he pulled away from fans.

“I have to go do my job!” he quipped.

Nebraska fans did theirs. “Go Big Red” and “Husker Power” chants. Clapping each time Lewis, Lindsey, McQuitty or Johnson caught a pass during drills, which prompted a few current Husker players to look back and wonder why fans were clapping. Once they caught on, a few of them — NU wideout Stanley Morgan and tight end Cethan Carter — started leading the clapping themselves.

Fans kept trying to come down to the fence for a closer look, and security kept gently asking them to return to their seats.

Riley was amazed by it.

“I’ve coached over 40 years and I’ve never seen anything quite like tonight,” he said. “That’s what I told the kids: Only in Nebraska will you see stuff like that. That was fun. Really, really appreciate the fans. I’ve just come to realize — over the last six months, probably, more than ever — how much we are really all in this together. They join in and help and I think that’s real. I’m not being dramatic. I know it.”

Riley said the fan base was a major key to landing NU’s top recruit in the 2016 class, safety Lamar Jackson of California.

“One of the main keys on getting kids to come here,” Riley said, “is getting them to visit.”

On Friday night, some of the best prospects did visit. Fans did, too. In the middle of Nebraska. In late June. At a Big Ten school.

Talented Wideouts Headline Star-Studded List of Recruits Attending Friday Night Lights

LINCOLN — When it comes to recruiting the best wideouts for the 2017 class, future Nebraska quarterback Tristan Gebbia is just as ambitious as Husker coaches. What quarterback wouldn’t want the best possible group of receivers for targets?

So Gebbia, a top-100 national prospect, will throw at NU’s third and final Friday Night Lights camp at Memorial Stadium. He’s doesn’t have to, but he wants specific prospects — notably top-100 wideouts Tyjon Lindsey and Joseph Lewis — to be on the receiving end of his passes.

“I want to show them I’m one of those guys who can get them the ball, and Nebraska is a great place to be,” Gebbia said.

Two more committed wideouts — four-star prospects Keyshawn Johnson Jr. and Jaevon McQuitty — also plan on attending.

It’s the most star-studded camp of the FNL events. Gebbia’s fine with that. The way he sees it, NU’s in the mix for receivers coach Keith Williams’ top targets.

“We’ve got a great shot at all of them, honestly,” the 6-foot-3, 180-pound Gebbia said. “They know this is a great place and the coaches are great guys. This is somewhere we can come and make a difference. I’m definitely working toward getting them because, with guys like that, the game comes easy. They’re so talented that you put the ball in their hands anywhere on the field and they’re going to go and get it done.”

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Lewis, from Los Angeles Augustus Hawkins High School, had originally planned on attending June 17, but he rescheduled for Friday. He’s a five-star prospect who is considered the nation’s top receiver by Scout.

“A specimen,” Gebbia said of Lewis, who’s being pursued by most of the nation’s best programs, including hometown UCLA and USC. Gebbia doesn’t know Lewis too well, but current NU quarterback Patrick O’Brien does — he was part of Lewis’ 7-on-7 team last spring and summer.

Lindsey, who is 5-9, 180 pounds, will likely end up a unanimous five-star prospect, but he already is one according to the 247Sports composite rankings. Lindsey had 45 catches for 1,117 yards and 14 touchdowns for Las Vegas Bishop Gorman as a junior, but he transferred to Corona (California) Centennial for his senior year. Gebbia said he and others are close friends with Lindsey, but Lindsey’s former quarterback at Gorman, Tate Martell, is committed to Ohio State.

The Buckeyes and Huskers are considered the top teams for Lindsey. OSU receivers coach Zach Smith and NU’s Williams have been engaged in a kind of social media Cold War — originally started by Smith — over the last few months. Nebraska and Ohio State offered scholarships to Johnson, who picked the Huskers over Clemson and the Buckeyes, among many others.

Lewis and Lindsey are part of what Nebraska calls its “Calibraska” recruiting movement. T-shirts combining palm trees and corn stalks have been printed. The Huskers held a satellite camp in conjunction with coaches from Calabasas (California) High School, where Gebbia, Johnson and another five-star prospect, cornerback Darnay Holmes, play football.

Gebbia said football players he knows are now asking him more and more about Nebraska — including an incoming freshman to Calabasas.

“A lot of people are taking notice,” Gebbia said, noting specifically Nebraska’s presence on Twitter.

Fans are again welcome to Friday Night Lights. According to recruiting sites and World-Herald confirmations, other potential unofficial visitors for Friday Night Lights and/or the following Big Red Weekend include:

» Jaylen Kelly-Powell, a defensive back from Detroit prep power Cass Technical, where Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State often battle over prospects. The 6-foot, 175-pound Kelly-Powell is a four-star prospect.

» Reese Leitao, a 6-foot-4, 230-pound tight end out of Oklahoma prep power Tulsa Jenks. His dad, Dave Leitao, is the coach of DePaul’s basketball team. Reese Leitao has offers from a slew of Big Ten and Big 12 programs.

» Jamari Peacock, a back out of Yulee, Florida, who recently took visits to Virginia and Louisville. He ran for 1,239 yards and 16 touchdowns last season for Yulee, the former high school of Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry.

» Robert Porcher IV, who plays at Orlando (Florida) Phillips. The 6-foot-3, 245-pounder boasts a lot of offers — including Virginia Tech and Arizona State — and is the son of former NFL player Robert Porcher.

» Brendan Radley-Hiles, part of the Calabasas contingent. A 2018 prospect, Radley-Hiles, a 5-10, 175-pound athlete who could play either cornerback or wideout, was a reserve wideout/defensive back for Bishop Gorman last season, but has transferred to Calabasas. He’s the cousin of Tyjon Lindsey.

» Ambry Thomas, a 5-11, 175-pound corner from Detroit King. He, like Kelly-Powell, is a four-star prospect being heavily recruited by Michigan and Michigan State.

» Nathan Tilford, who at 6-1, 205 could play running back or linebacker. NU is recruiting Tilford, who plays for Ontario (California) Colony and is committed to Arizona, as a running back.

» Anthony Payne, a 6-foot-3, 250-pound defensive end from the Kansas City area who just received an offer from Michigan. He had 61 tackles and four sacks for Raymore (Missouri) Peculiar.

» Gretna center Patrick Arnold, a 6-2, 285-pounder who impressed at a recent Big Man Camp and returns to try out for the Huskers at Friday Night Lights. Arnold has offers from Navy, Air Force and Wyoming, among others.

» Adam Boselli, a 6-4, 210-pound tight end, is the son of former NFL and USC offensive tackle Tony Boselli, who played for coach Mike Riley when Riley was an offensive coordinator at USC. Adam Boselli plays at Jacksonville Episcopal in Florida, and has an offer from Duke, among other schools.

Not all players may work out, and unofficial visit plans can change based on travel schedules.

Friday Night Lights is open to the public and starts at 6 p.m. inside Memorial Stadium. Fans can enter the stadium on the west side, through Gate 11.

Huskers to Host Champion Penn State Next Season

The Nebraska wrestling team released its 2016-17 schedule, and many of its top duals will be contested at the Devaney Center.

The Huskers have duals against seven teams that placed in the top 20 at nationals last season — NU finished eighth. Nebraska hosts defending national champion Penn State on Jan. 8; Ohio State, which placed third, on Feb. 10; and No. 9 Michigan on Jan. 15. The Huskers also end their Big Ten season at Iowa on Feb. 12.

Nebraska, which expects to have seven starters return, has six home dates in all.

Nov.: 4, Coaches Clinic/Intersquad meet, TBA; 6: at Daktronics Open, Brookings, S.D., 9 a.m.; 13: at Cyclone Open, 9 a.m.; 18: West Virginia, 7 p.m.; 20: at Wyoming, 1 p.m.

Dec.: 3, Husker Quad (Michigan State, 2 p.m.; Drexel, 4; Princeton, 6); 9: at North Carolina State; 10: at North Carolina; 29-30: at Midlands Championship, Evanston, Ill., TBA

Jan.: 8: Penn State, 2 p.m.; 13: Wisconsin, 7 p.m.; 15: Michigan, 2 p.m.; 20: at Minnesota, TBA; 27: at Purdue, TBA; 29: at Indiana, TBA

Feb.: 10: Ohio State, 7 p.m.; 12: at Iowa, TBA; 19: NWCA National Duals, TBA.

March: 4-5: Big Ten championships, Bloomington, Ind.; 16-18: NCAA championships, St. Louis

Cleveland Cavaliers win NBA Finals with coach Tyronn Lue, a former Husker player

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — LeBron James cradled the shiny gold trophy and struggled to sum up what might be his sweetest championship yet, the one he is so proudly bringing home to his native northeast Ohio just as he promised to do when he returned to the Cavaliers two summers ago.

James and his relentless, never-count-them-out Cavs pulled off an improbable NBA Finals comeback, and Cleveland is title town again at long last.

Unfazed by the criticism and chatter all series, James delivered on a vow to his home state and brought the Cavs back as they became the first team to rally from a 3-1 finals deficit, beating the defending champion Golden State Warriors 93-89 on Sunday night to end a 52-year major sports championship drought in Cleveland.

“I’m happy to be a part of history,” James said, then added, “I’m home. I’m home. … I’m at a loss for words. This is unbelievable.”

In a testy series of blowouts — and a few blowups — the winner-take-all Game 7 providing the thrilling finale with James as the finals MVP disarming two-time reigning MVP Stephen Curry and his record-setting Warriors.

James almost single-handedly carried the Cavs back into this series and finished with 27 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds as the Cavs captured their first championship in franchise history and gave their city its first major sports winner since the Browns won the NFL title in 1964. He also had three blocked shots and two steals, overcoming five turnovers.

“CLEVELAND! This is for you!” James bellowed in his postgame interview before being announced as finals MVP.

An emotional James fell to the floor when this one ended with a second win in six days on Golden State’s imposing home floor, surrounded by his teammates. Only seconds earlier, he went down in pain with 10.6 seconds left after being fouled by Draymond Green while going for a dunk, then came back out to make the second of two free throws.

After four successful seasons in Miami, James came back to the Cavs and vowed to win the title this franchise and championship-starved city so coveted.

Cleveland did it after a coaching change, with former Nebraska player and Cavs assistant Tyronn Lue taking over in January for the fired David Blatt.

“We made history tonight,” Lue said. “Cleveland, Ohio, we’re coming back, baby!”

Kyrie Irving scored 26 points to cap his brilliant finals, including a 3-pointer over Curry with 53 seconds left.

Curry sat briefly on the bench to take in the scene after the Warriors made their last basket with 4:39 left.

Green had 32 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists, but the Warriors’ record-setting season ended without the only prize this close-knit “Strength In Numbers” crew cared about from way back in the beginning — through the record 24-0 start as Coach of the Year Steve Kerr was out, Curry’s second consecutive MVP campaign, and the 73 regular-season wins to break the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ mark.

They might always be remembered as one of the best teams ever that couldn’t close it out.

The Cavs staved off elimination twice to force Game 7 back at Oracle Arena, where the Warriors went up 2-0 with a pair of lopsided wins to start this series.

This marked the first NBA game decided by five points or fewer since May 11, Golden State’s 125-121 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 5 of the second round.

With its 100th postseason victory, Cleveland became just the fourth team to win an NBA Finals Game 7 on the road.

Curry scored 17 points on 6-for-19 shooting, while Splash Brother Klay Thompson added 14 points while making 6 of 17 shots.

With Top Targets Visiting, Fan Support Would Be ‘Big Deal’ at Huskers’ Friday Night Lights Camp

LINCOLN — At the end of Monday’s Big Man Camp inside Memorial Stadium, Nebraska football coach Mike Riley turned to the smattering of parents and fans watching the event.

“Thanks for coming!” he said in a voice that could have reached someone at the top of the stadium, were someone sitting there.

In a brief interview with The World-Herald on Wednesday, Riley said he gets energy from the fans at camp events — and so do the prospects working out.

“That fan support is just a big deal, and I like it,” Riley said. He liked the June 10 Friday Night Lights crowd. He’d like even more at this Friday’s event.

Unlike the June 10 event — which was a late addition when Riley decided to gear back on his original satellite camp plans and focus more on local camps — this Friday Night Lights event was planned from the get-go and should have more known 2017 prospects, plus some intriguing 2018 and 2019 athletes.

But the best-known prospect is five-star wideout Joseph Lewis — perhaps one of the better prospects in several years to visit a Husker camp. Lewis, according to recruiting sites, is scheduled to work out.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder — from Los Angeles Hawkins High School — is considered the No. 1 wideout in the nation by Scout, No. 2 by 247Sports and No. 3 by Rivals after catching 51 passes for 852 yards and eight touchdowns last season. As a sophomore, Lewis caught 37 passes for 938 yards and six touchdowns. His playing style is most reminiscent of former Nebraska wideout Quincy Enunwa, but with more speed.

Lewis has been hotly pursued by programs all over the country, especially hometown USC. Last week, Nebraska wideouts coach Keith Williams worked a camp at Hawkins and worked with Lewis.

Another prospect — former Lincoln Southeast offensive lineman Broc Bando — will also be visiting Nebraska on Friday. Bando, a three-star prospect who chose to play football at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, has the Huskers in his top three along with Kansas State and Louisville. NU is recruiting the 6-foot-5, 280-pound Bando as a guard or tackle.

“Nebraska’s a good school and I grew up watching them,” said Bando, who still lives in Lincoln and has been out of school for a few weeks. “From what I’ve seen of Mike Riley and his staff, I think it could be a good fit. I like what they’re doing and how they do it.”

Bando said he’s looking for a “family” atmosphere. He found that in a spring visit to Kansas State, and appreciated that Louisville was his first overall offer. Bando said if he’d stayed at Southeast, it’s unlikely he’d have some of the offers he does, which include Georgia and Mississippi State.

“People always ask me what IMG is like, and I say it’s like college, but at a high school level,” Bando said.

Nebraska is the first of several summer unofficial visits for Bando. His primary recruiter is offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh.

Nebraska will hold another Friday Night Lights event June 24. Wideout target Tyjon Lindsey — another top-100 recruit like Lewis — is supposed to visit for that camp.

Husker Coaches Riley And Cook Stop By Homestead Days Event In Beatrice

BEATRICE – Husker coaches and administrators made their way to Beatrice for Third Thursday festivities in the downtown area. Husker Football Coach Mike Riley and Volleyball Coach John Cook both stopped by for interviews before they took to the streets.

Shawn Eichorst Says NU Athletic Department is Making Changes in Attempt to Become More Inclusive to Coaches, Staff

LINCOLN — Over lunch at a downtown pub just blocks from campus, Nebraska Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst listened as a reporter read parts of a 14-page report released Tuesday about the culture of his athletic department and his leadership of it.

Eichorst said he has been familiar with the report’s details for a week. He appreciated the generally favorable findings within it. Where the report critiqued Eichorst or the department’s approach to a matter, he said he and his staff would work on improving.

One of those improvement areas involved coaches, assistant coaches and athletic support staff not feeling as if their input had been sought often enough and that the department had a “focus on the creation of rules, procedures and regulations that create some boundaries” in recruiting and program management.

“We have an opportunity to improve our communication and inclusiveness,” Eichorst said. “I will also say this: We have a model program that has some of the best systems and policies in place to ultimately meet the mission and do what’s right by the university, what’s right by the students, what’s right by the department and what’s right by our staff. That’s an ever-changing, evolving environment.

“As much as you’d like to be perfect there, it’s hard to be perfect. It’s hard to be flawless in those areas. I think, by and large, we have an exceptional environment, which the report concludes. But just like any organization that’s highly visible like us and highly regulated like us, you have opportunities to improve, so we’ll continue to do that.”

What might Eichorst change about how he seeks input from coaches?

“Just to continue to communicate and be inclusive in the process,” Eichorst said. “Embrace it. Talk about it.”

Later in the interview, Eichorst said the athletic department had created a “coaches council” in the last month that will “help share good ideas” among coaches from various programs.

“We’ve designed it in a way that it doesn’t have an agenda,” Eichorst said of the council, which is composed of head coaches and assistant coaches. The council was created before the report’s release. “It’s just an opportunity for everybody to take a deep breath, sit around the table and talk about current events and their program — whether it’s recruiting, how you’re going about visits, or the academic side, or time demands. We’re just trying to think of a lot of ways to get folks plugged in with everyone else.”

Eichorst was most pleased with the very positive response from the few Husker athletes interviewed by the SilverStone Group. The report described NU’s leadership as “awesome.” University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds described athlete feedback as an “A-plus.” Eichorst said the credit for that experience goes to the whole athletic department.

“It’s always reassuring to hear that at the end of the day,” said Eichorst, who watched NU track athletes compete at last weekend’s NCAA Championships. “And we’ve got great kids. I’m around our student-athletes a lot. I do care. And a lot of that isn’t what you say but what you do. I try to go to every event I can when I’m in town. And that’s a juggling act, but that’s important.”

Another part of the report addressed five former employees who were interviewed in the survey. The report concluded that “some former employees were working to sabotage rather than support the efforts of the leadership and staff of this department.”

Eichorst laughed a bit as a reporter read that portion of the report.

“I’ll let the report speak for itself,” Eichorst said.

Did he sense some former employees were attempting to sabotage that athletic department?

“The report speaks for itself on that,” he repeated. “I think it affirmed some of the challenges that we as an organization were facing. We’ve attempted to manage our business moving forward in a personal and professional way — with a lot of integrity.”

The report also discussed Eichorst’s overall visibility as athletic director. Eichorst said he embraces the public part of the role. The report cites Eichorst’s 526 public appearances over three years, many of which are attending Nebraska athletic contests and booster functions. Eichorst has made 83 public appearances this year.

“I’ve always been confident with that and comfortable with that,” Eichorst said of being visible. “I don’t think that looks the same across the spectrum or institution. It’s all gotta be authentic and original. I hope that I’ve spoken up when I’ve had something to say.”

When a reporter noted that Eichorst has seemed to speak more with the media in the last eight months — including a meeting with reporters hours before the big win over Michigan State and several in-depth interviews with newspapers — Eichorst indicated that he has had more to say in relation to NU’s expansion of its student-athlete offerings — such as the laptop program or the new post-education opportunities — and his role on the NCAA’s Football Oversight Committee. He also went on a recent four-day, in-state tour with football coach Mike Riley that Eichorst called “a ton of fun.”

“I like being visible,” Eichorst said. “I like to be available. But I also like to make sure all of those folks in our organization who are working their tails off every day have an opportunity to be recognized.”

Lawrence Phillips Strangled Himself in Cell with ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ Note Taped to Chest, Final Coroner’s Report Says

Lawrence Phillips strangled himself to death with a bed sheet strung from a TV shelf in his California prison cell, concludes the final report of the coroner who investigated the former Nebraska football star’s death.

The long-awaited report offers other new details of what prison officials found when they entered Phillips’ cell on Jan. 13, including a “do not resuscitate’’ note taped to his chest. Phillips was hanging in a seated position, apparently because the TV shelf was so low to the floor.

There were other such oddities in the report, but nothing that on its face would suggest the death of the ultra-talented but flawed Phillips was anything but self inflicted.

“After completing an investigation in conjunction with the California Department of Corrections, the death of Lawrence Lamond Phillips was determined to be a suicide,” concluded the coroner’s report.

However, it seems unlikely the Kern County coroner’s 19-page report will satisfy Phillips’ family or other friends and supporters who have questioned whether he killed himself. The 40-year-old’s family has planned to seek an independent civil rights investigation of his death.

After receiving the a copy of the report from The World-Herald on Tuesday, Indianapolis attorney Dan Chamberlain said he had no immediate comment until he and Phillips’ family had time to review it. He said their push for an independent review has been stalled as they’ve waited nearly five months for the report.

“On behalf of the family, we have been waiting on this report,” he said.

Former Nebraska head coach Tom Osborne, who has stood by and supported Phillips throughout his troubled adult life, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

A decade after Phillips made headlines nationally for assaulting a former girlfriend in Lincoln and subsequently helping lead Nebraska’s powerhouse Cornhuskers to a second straight national championship, he landed in California’s vast penal system.

He was convicted in 2005 of angrily driving a car into a group of youths he believed had stolen from him. He was subsequently also convicted in a domestic assault case — one of numerous instances after he left Nebraska in which he was accused of violence towards women.

Then last year, Phillips was charged with killing his new cell mate in central California’s Kern Valley State Prison.

Prosecutors alleged Phillips had lashed out at Damion Soward after numerous times insisting to prison officials he did not want a cell mate. Prosecutors accused Phillips of waiting until Soward fell asleep before strangling him. Phillips’ attorneys said he acted in self defense.

On Jan. 12, Phillips faced a court hearing on the murder charge, and the judge immediately found there was enough evidence for him to stand trial. Phillips left the courthouse visibly upset, verbally lashing out at a guard he accused of lying during the hearing.

Just hours later, Phillips was dead.

The Kern County coroner immediately afterward said Phillips had died of an apparent suicide, offering no details.

Tuesday, The World-Herald obtained a copy of the final report of the coroner’s inquest. This is the picture it paints of what happened after Phillips returned that night from court to his cell:

A guard who went by Phillips’ cell in the segregation unit at Kern Valley peered in the window about 11:35 p.m. and found nothing unusual. The guards make such checks roughly on the half hour, regulated by an electronic device they carry and scan outside the cell doors.

When the guard returned to Phillips’ cell just after midnight, he found the window now covered by a towel.

He knocked on the door and called on Phillips to remove the towel, but he got no response.

Guards at Kern Valley can’t unlock cell doors, which are controlled remotely by control room operators. But the guard was able to reach through the food slot and pull the towel down.

He saw Phillips in a seated position with a ligature fashioned out of bed sheet tightly wrapped around his neck. The sheet was secured to the TV shelf, set on the wall about five feet above the floor.

The guard radioed for assistance and staffers entered the cell, using a tool to cut the bed sheet. The original guard checked for a pulse and found Phillips unresponsive.

The “Do Not Resuscitate” note taped to Phillips’ chest did not stop the guard from initiating CPR. Treatment continued as Phillips was moved first to a triage area in the prison and then transported by ambulance to a hospital, arriving at 1:01 a.m. He was pronounced dead 26 minutes later.

The investigating deputy coroner first examined Phillips’ body in the hospital trauma room. She found he was clad in two pairs of boxer shorts, two pairs of socks and two shirts. Phillips’ ears were also plugged with small plastic bags stuffed with paper.

Inside one of the socks, the coroner found a note and a photograph of Phillips with a child.

The report did not indicate what was in the note, and the coroner’s office Tuesday did not respond to a request from The World-Herald for a copy.

But Phillips’ attorneys have previously reported one side of the note said: “Did you hear the one about the football player who hung himself from the TV mount in his cell?’’ The writer had later added an “X’’ before football player. The other side of the note began, “What’s the black person do?’’ and ended with, “They should just die.’’

The investigating coroner also found in Phillips’ cell that all of his personal belongings had been tied up in a large bundle with a bed sheet.

The pathologist’s examination of the body found markings on the neck and soft tissue injuries consistent with hanging. The pathologist ruled the cause of death as asphyxia due to hanging and classified it as a suicide.

“From the scene investigation, autopsy examination and circumstances around the death as currently known, the manner of death is classified as suicide,” wrote the pathologist who performed Phillips’ autopsy.

There appeared to be no physical signs of struggle. The only other visible injuries were two small, superficial abrasions on his upper back, the largest one inch in diameter.

A toxicology report revealed no drug in Phillips’ system other than caffeine.

The report also described Phillips as “extremely muscular” at 6-foot-1, 227 pounds — right around his football playing weight two decades ago at Nebraska.

Former Nebraska assistant football coach George Darlington has been among those with doubts about Phillips’ death, mystified that a man who had remained so steadfastly upbeat despite a decade behind bars would suddenly take his own life. But Darlington said Tuesday he thinks the details of the new report do make a convincing case for suicide.

“I’d say that’s pretty hard evidence to go against,” said Darlington, who had recruited Phillips to Nebraska out of the Los Angeles suburb of West Covina. “Under any circumstances, it’s (still) a real tragedy. Because he had a number of positive characteristics that people are never going to see.’’

Husker Pitcher Max Knutson Signs with Baltimore Orioles, Forgoing Senior Season

LINCOLN — Junior left-hander Max Knutson said Monday that he’s signed a professional contract with the Baltimore Orioles, forgoing his senior season at Nebraska.

Knutson, out of Arden Hills, Minnesota, was a 12th-round MLB draft pick last week — becoming the highest selected Husker pitcher in six years. Armed with a fastball that sits in the low-to-mid 90s, Knutson appeared to improve as the 2016 season progressed, eventually earning a midweek starting role. He posted a 3-0 record and had a 1.96 ERA during his final four starts.

Terms of Knutson’s deal were not known Monday.

Junior Ryan Boldt (the 53rd overall pick to the Tampa Bay Rays) and junior Ben Miller (32nd round to the Pittsburgh Pirates) were also drafted last week. They have until July 15 to agree to a deal. At this point in the process, Boldt is expected to sign and Miller is expected to return to NU.