Highland's Tanner Farmer commits to Nebraska football program

News-DemocratJune 11, 2013 

Highland High School's Tanner Farmer, one of the top offensive linemen in the Midwest, on Tuesday gave a verbal commitment to Nebraska.

The 6-foot-4, 300-pound Farmer, who will be a senior, had offers from Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Western Michigan, Illinois State, Northern Illinois and Southern Illinois University Carbondale. An offer from Kansas was expected as soon as this week.

"I'm really excited," Farmer said in a telephone interview from Lincoln, Neb., where he is attending the Big Red Football Camp. "I can't really describe how great I feel. I love the school. It's a great place, and I'm very impressed."

Farmer, the son of Brian and Connie Farmer, saw his stock soar and the recruiting process accelerate when he won the Offensive Line MVP award at a Rivals Camp Series on April 21 at O'Fallon High School, where many top recruits showcased their skills.

"I'm extremely proud and excited," Highland coach Jimmy Warnecke said. "That's a hell of a football program. He's lucky to be there and, equally, they're lucky to have him.

"It's a big day."

Farmer chose Nebraska over Missouri, but said the competition wasn't that close.

"Missouri was the runner-up, but Nebraska was so much better," said Farmer, who will major in pre-med. "I liked Missouri a lot. But at Missouri, there were a few things, in my opinion, that could be improved. At Nebraska, there was nothing to be improved.

"At Nebraska, everything was pretty much a few steps up from everyone else. Their facilities are ridiculous. They help students so much. They have a great weightroom. The coaches are great. It's a beautiful campus."

Warnecke acknowledged that Farmer "loved Mizzou" and was convinced until Tuesday that the Tigers might have been winning the battle to secure Farmer's verbal commitment.

"Nebraska just must have knocked his socks off," Warnecke said.

Farmer was scheduled to attend the Chicagoland Showcase on Thursday and Friday, but he canceled that trip after making his decision to commit to Nebraska.

Farmer also canceled recruiting visits to Minnesota and Northern Illinois.

"He's content and excited," Warnecke said.

Farmer noted that Nebraska, unlike some schools, didn't apply pressure on him to make his decision. Offensive line coach John Garrison recruited Farmer; the Cornhuskers' head coach is Bo Pelini.

"It's really stressful," Farmer said of the recruiting process. "All these schools want you to commit and they want you to do it now. Nebraska didn't do that."

Warnecke said Farmer wanted to get the decision over with in timely fashion. Farmer was away from his Highland teammates much of last summer as he attended various camps.

"He cares very much about what his teammates think of him," Warnecke said. "He was so relieved ... on the phone (Tuesday) that he was committed. He's going to be with our team now and be with us for our summer workouts.

"I knew he was wanting to get it done soon. This season is very important to him. For both his parents and him, they didn't want (recruiting) to be a distraction."

On his Twitter account, Farmer said he received offers from Nebraska and Northern Illinois on May 31. He indicated at that point that he was getting close to making a decision.

"No more camps than what I have now," Farmer wrote on Twitter. "I will find my football home this month (June)."

Farmer plays left tackle for Highland, but projects to be a guard with the Cornhuskers, members of the Big Ten Conference.

"I'm perfectly fine with that," Farmer said. "They're pretty much the same position."

According to Rivals.com, Farmer covers 40 yards in 5.4 seconds, bench-presses 430 pounds, squats 650 pounds and has a vertical leap of 30 inches.

Warnecke has watched Farmer develop into a top player and said he's elevated his game even more this summer.

"He's been putting people on their butt," he said. "He's gotten so much better. I look at film from him last year ... and then I look at some of that Rivals stuff and he's a completely different person, getting off the ball. He's putting it all together right now."

Farmer also is a standout wrestler. He won the Class 2A state championship at 285 pounds in February.

Warnecke said another Highland player, junior Nick Czar, is on the fast track to becoming a Division I player, too.

Czar plays right tackle at Highland but Warnecke said he could wind up at defensive end at the D-I level.

"He's getting a lot of exposure now because these recruiters are coming to see Tanner," Warnecke said.

Western Michigan already is interested in Czar, as is SIU Carbondale.

"He was down in Carbondale this past weekend and they were really impressed with him," Warnecke said. "It's yet to be seen what happens with him. I know I'm glad he's on our team."

Contact reporter David Wilhelm at dwilhelm@bnd.com or 239-2665.

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