Husker Illustrated's Mike Babcock recalls the recruitment of Broderick Thomas.
How It Was: Recruiting Tales
When Tom Osborne made a home visit, the entire neighborhood took note. That’s how it was when he traveled to Houston to talk with Broderick Thomas about becoming a Husker.“There were people standing outside my house,” Thomas said during a 2006 interview. “When they heard Tom Osborne was coming to my neck of the woods, my God, it was a buzz.”
Only a few coaches had such an effect, coaches who when they showed up “everybody starts getting antsy, putting their hands in their pockets, like, ‘Man, is that him?’ ” said Thomas, whose 1985 recruiting class was ranked among the nation’s best, even though six days before letter-of-intent signing day, in mid-February, Osborne underwent double-bypass heart surgery.
Some coaches tried to convince recruits that the surgery, which lasted about three hours, was a reason to go elsewhere. “A lot of schools would say: ‘Osborne, he’s not going to coach very long,’ ”
Thomas recalled later. Surely, Osborne would be forced to slow down.