Four football teams from Lincoln -- Pius X, Northeast, Southeast and Lincoln High -- scrimmaged on Tuesday at Pius X High School. Photo credit: Steve Marik/nebpreps

Lincoln Locker Room Camp Standouts


Pius X High School in Lincoln was the setting for the final day of the Lincoln Locker Room camp on Tuesday.

Four football teams from the Star City — host Pius X, Northeast, Southeast and Lincoln High — competed in light scrimmaging. Here are some thoughts and observations, as well as some players that stood out.

Out of the four teams, it was hard not to notice the Southeast Knights. Head coach Ryan Gottula’s team is loaded with talent, and it was easy to spot on Tuesday. Three of his players — 2022 OLB/TE Jake Appleget, 2023 OL Gunnar Gottula and 2023 EDGE Teitum Tuioti — have multiple Power 5 offers, including from the hometown Huskers.

Here’s coach Gottula’s thoughts on what he liked about the Lincoln Locker Room camp:

The 6-foot-4, 213-pound Appleget, who has two Big Ten offers from Nebraska and Minnesota, is as versatile as it gets. On Tuesday, he was flowing well to the ball carriers at his middle linebacker position. On offense, he lined up anywhere from the outside receiver, to the slot, to your traditional tight end position. I can’t remember a pass that he didn’t catch. He was very efficient on the day.

At 6-6 and around 270 pounds, Gottula, who has offers from Nebraska, Iowa State and Kansas State, is impressive to see in person. Once the left tackle for the Knights got his hands on the defender, the show was over. Whether it was a defensive end or linebacker trying to slice into the gap, Gottula handled him with a block. I also noticed how well he moves for a guy his size.

In the clip below, watch these two blocks from Gottula, the first of which is him pulling up the A gap on a long run from running back Max Buettenback, a Nebraska baseball commit and solid runner.

A couple other Southeast Knights that caught my eye on Tuesday were Buettenback and and receiver Malachi Lyon, who was wearing No. 6 for a practice jersey. Lyon caught a lot of quick passes to the flat, and I can see why the Southeast coaching staff may want to get him the ball in space. He’s quick, very elusive, and made a defender miss more than once on Tuesday.

It wasn’t just Southeast, though. Although Pius X, Northeast and Lincoln High are coming off losing seasons from a season ago, those three teams have players that were fun to watch and came to compete.

Let’s stick with Pius first. The Thunderbolts will be breaking in a new quarterback this fall, and junior-to-be Tyrus Petsche looked like he took many of the first-team reps on Monday in the 7-on-7 portion of the camp.

Petsche, who was also a key member of the Pius baseball team, seemed to do well in the 7-on-7. He took was the defense was giving up and didn’t force anything, which head coach Ryan Kearney had to like. Here are some of his throws:

A strong area of this Pius X team may be the offensive line — it’s got some bigger guys up front, including senior-to-be Tyler Kerkman and juniors-to-be Barrett Walker and Tyler Castle.

For Northeast, senior-to-be Dylan Gray seemed to be doing just about everything for head coach Dan Martin’s Rockets. Gray was at linebacker when Northeast was on defense, then was rotating in at quarterback on offense. Gray is a load in the backfield, which could come in handy in certain situations.

Northeast’s Xavier Gary also had some highlight runs on Tuesday. The senior-to-be who racked up 809 all-purpose yards last season runs hard, and finishes hard too.

If we’re going to add Gary’s run, let’s add Ivan Eloume’s catch-and-run as well:

For Lincoln High, I watched senior-to-be A’magine Young run take handoffs and look good doing it.

According to, Young — who by the way is a big back at 5-9, 205 pounds — only had 26 rushing yards last season. He’ll obviously surpass that mark in the fall if he runs as hard as he did at Pius on Tuesday.

Another Lincoln High athlete to keep an eye on for the future is sophomore-to-be Donald DeFrand Jr., who will be competing for the starting quarterback and corner job.

If that name rings a bell, that’s because he’s the son of former Husker football player Donald DeFrand, who’s an assistant coach with the team. Donald Jr. is the little brother to the fastest girl in the state, Dajaz DeFrand. Speed runs in the family.



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