Washington offensive tackle Matt Farniok announced Wednesday night that he has verbally committed to the University of Nebraska. The announcement, which he made on Twitter, comes less than a week before National Signing Day.
“It just felt right,” Farniok said of his decision to choose Nebraska. “I got along with the players and coaches, and the fans are awesome there.”
Widely considered one of the nation’s top recruits, Farniok was named the Argus Leader Elite 45 captain as the best player in the state, and is listed as the state’s No. 1 recruit by ESPN. 247Sports, which compiles rankings from the major recruiting sites, has Farniok as a composite four-star recruit.
The 6-foot-5, 316-pound lineman had offers from 17 different schools including Wisconsin, Florida State and Oklahoma. In early December, he cut his list down to three Big Ten schools: Nebraska, Iowa and Michigan State. He made official visits to all three schools, with his trip to Lincoln coming on Dec. 4.
Farniok said he came to his decision late Tuesday night, but added that he “knew for sure” after talking with the Nebraska coaching staff Wednesday evening in Sioux Falls.
“(Nebraska’s primary selling point was) they play the kind of football that I will thrive in and that I fit the mold of being a Nebraska football player,” he said.
Farniok is the fourth ESPN 300 player from the Class of 2016 to commit to the Huskers, joining Valley High School guard John Raridon (West Des Moines, Iowa) along the offensive line. ESPN grades out Farniok as the third-best recruit in the Huskers’ incoming class, which currently ranks 32nd in the nation.
Shortly after Farniok made his announcement, Nebraska football coach Mike Riley tweeted, “What a night….to be a Husker!!! Lots of smiles in SD and NE tonight! #GBR.”
Farniok drew rave reviews at the U.S. All-American Bowl in San Antonio last month, with 247Sports analyst Steve Wiltfong calling him “One of the toughest players in the country at the point of attack.” The offensive lineman was one of just 90 players in the country to participate in the game.
Though he played the entire game at right guard, the coaching staff at Nebraska has told Farniok that the plan is to keep him at tackle.
“Going against some of the top D-linemen in the country was fun,” Farniok told the Argus Leader following the All-American Bowl “to see where I stack up and what I need to work on and focus on.”
A four-year letterman and three-year starter at Washington, Farniok capped off his high school career with a state championship, helping the Warriors to a come-from-behind victory in the Class 11 AAA final against Sioux Falls rival O’Gorman. With Farniok anchoring its offensive front, Washington averaged 230 rushing yards per game in 2015 and racked up 56 total touchdowns.
For his efforts, he was selected to multiple all-state teams and was named the 2015 South Dakota Gatorade Player of the Year. Matt will be the third Farniok to play for a major FBS program, joining Tom, a four-year captain with Iowa, and Derek, who just completed his senior season as a tackle at Oklahoma. Their younger brother Will, a sophomore center for the Warriors, already has offers from Nebraska and Iowa.
“Watching some of the stuff Matt does, you just shake your head,” Washington coach Chad Stadem said of Farniok in December. “I’ve never seen anything like it. I’ve never seen anyone completely dominate a position.”
Though Farniok’s mother Christine Farniok told Scout.com that he was “relaxed” about his upcoming decision, Matt admitted Wednesday night that he’s happy the recruiting process is over.
“It’s a big stress reliever,” he said.