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May 3, 2017

Jordan Westerkamp

Welcome, everybody, to the Carriker Chronicles, the people's show. For those of you watching the show, you might notice things look a little different and that it's because the Carriker family is on the move. And when the Carriker family moves, the Carriker Chronicles moves with it. But let's get to the main event because we have a very special guest on the show today. This guy has won multiple All-Big Ten honors, his name is all over the Husker record books, Mr. Jordan Westerkamp, how are you doing?

JW: Good, Adam, thanks for having me on the show.

AC: Thank for coming on. The past few months have been interesting with you battling an injury and trying to get healthy. What has it been like preparing to try out for a spot on an NFL team with going through the interviews but not being able to participate in the pro day?

JW: It's been a unique task for me. Obviously not an ideal situation going into it injured but it was still an amazing process to be able to do interviews at The Shrine game and support the guys at that All Stars game. Not only to get an invite, which I really appreciated, but to be there and support the guys. And then at the pro day, I wasn't able to participate and then either but I still went and was able to support my teammates. They all did fantastic. It's been a crazy couple of months, but I've been really enjoying it as much as I could.

AC: Now, what was this past weekend like with the draft, because there is so much uncertainty with what can happen. I even talked about it in my pre-draft video. Obviously you have a try out with the Buccaneers you're going to their rookie minicamp. But what was it like? Were you anxious or nervous or excited to see what was going to happen?

JW: Yeah kind of all of those emotions. Like you said, there's so much uncertainty with what's going to happen on that draft weekend. Papers and news outlets come out with what they think will happen and it's always different come draft day. But it was me being able to watch the draft and seeing guys that I played with get picked up by teams.

AC: Now what was the tryout with the Buccaneers like? I'm always curious, did they have you run a 40, catch passes, or was it a mix of all those? And how did it go for you?

JW: That's actually this weekend, and it is just the rookie mini camp. The only thing that's different for me is I don't get the guaranteed money that comes with signing the contract but I still get to go get to ball out and enjoy it. The biggest thing for me was my injury, which scared away a lot of teams. But I got a lot of rookie minicamp invites and they just wanting to see me in person. I was fortunate to get this one with the Buccaneers who I felt was the best team for me. I just have to go down there and show them that I am healthy and hopefully leave there with a contract.

AC: I remember when Will Compton came to the rookie minicamp with the Redskins, the following year he had a contract and this last year he was named a captain of the Redskins. All You Need Is An Open Door and I have all the faith in the world in you. I'm excited to see how this turns out for you.

JW: Thank you very much, I really appreciate that.

AC: How are you feeling now? Are you healthy? 80%, 90%? How are you feeling?

JW: I'm at 100%. I've been working out like crazy back home here in Chicago to be prepared for camp. And I'm just ready to show the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that I am healthy and ready to go and that I'm a baller and I can play in the NFL.

AC: I like it. Hey, if you do some one handed catches or catch some hail Mary passes, that could help your chances a little bit, know what I mean? You have some experience at that. (Yeah, a little experience). Hey talk about those players real quick, because you're from Illinois. Northwestern game you catch the game-winning Hail Mary. Talk about what it was like catching that pass.

JW: Well it was an unbelievable moment for me. An unforgettable moment. Crazy that it happened against the hometown team for me, Northwestern. I know Coach Fitzgerald really well he recruited me pretty hard out of high school. And I had a couple of teammates from high school go to Northwestern. I've seen some crazy things happen, but not like catching a Hail Mary against your hometown team. It happened to be my first career touchdown as well. I'll never forget that.

AC: Now the one handed behind the back catch, are you like OBJ, practicing those things in practice, or before the game, or did it just happen? How did that come about for you?

JW: I get asked that a lot, how I made that catch. You expect to make every catch. it was pretty sweet making out one behind the back period but I credited to growing up and my dad always making me do ball drills. When I was seven or eight years old I was catching passes all summer and doing crazy drills. When that play happened, people freaked out, but to me it was just a natural thing. I felt the ball behind me and reach my hand back and grabbed it and made sure I caught it. So it looked pretty crazy, but to me it was just more of a natural catch.

AC: Ball skills, right there, ladies and gentlemen. If you had to pick one play that was the highlight of your career, what play would it be?

JW: One of those plays. I would say the Northwestern cats just because of the situation with the time expiring and winning the game. It was super special to me and like I said before, I will never forget it.

AC: All right, now let's talk some current Huskers. With Tanner Lee being named the starter a couple weeks ago, what are some of the things Husker fans can expect from Tanner Lee as they get a glimpse of him this fall when the bullets are real?

JW: Tanner is a fantastic quarterback. I didn't necessarily play with him, but I watched him on Scout team after he transferred. He's really accurate like we saw in the spring game, can throw the ball, is really smart, has great pocket presence. He'll be a Husker great and I'm really looking forward to watching him this next season.

AC: Now there are four quarterbacks on the depth chart and I know you weren't there with Tristan Gebbia, but talk to me about Patrick O'Brien and Tanner Lee and some of the differences there.

JW: I didn't have too much experience with Tristan since he was just coming and I was just leaving but I've seen him throw, he has a really strong arm period he has a bright future as well. The same with Patrick. they're all pretty similar along with Tanner. All big guys, pocket passers, really smart, so they'll all have great careers at Nebraska.

AC: Talk to us about the incoming offense this season period we know Tanner is the starting quarterback, we're still trying to figure out it was going to start at running back, we know our two starting wide receivers with Stanley Morgan and DPE. What should Husker fans be excited about for this upcoming season?

JW: It's going to be coach Riley's third year here Nebraska. The newness has worn off some of those guys coming in with a lot of experience. It is just going to be very unique to watch Tanner lead it as the starting quarterback. Obviously, Stanley and DPE are fantastic playmakers and they'll continue to grow as well. We lost some older guys with me, Alonzo, and Brandon, so it will be cool to watch the wide receiver position. I'm sure the wide receivers will do fine. Coach Williams is one of the best in the country bad coaching this position and Stanley and DPE are going to ball out. So I really just look forward to watching this offense and watching their identity unfold.

AC: Now, can you give us a player that maybe fans aren't aware of that is maybe a diamond in the rough?

JW: Yeah, I would say Bryan Reimers, he had a big touchdown against Oregon last year. He is just a guy who comes in and works his tail off every single day. He's like 6'3-6'4, he's a big kid who can catch the ball as well. Keep an eye on that guy, he's going to rise to the top really quick.

AC: All right so you don't have to give me a record prediction, but what are your general expectations for the Huskers this year as well as moving forward in the next year or two even?

JW: Yeah I expect the team to get better and I'm looking for a 10 + win season.

AC: I like it. Now, you were banged up your senior year, but you were pretty healthy most of your career. Talk to me about the strength and conditioning staff. Boyd Epley is back, Mark Philipp is the head coach, what are some of the things they do differently than the previous regime?

JW: Mark Philipp and his staff are amazing. They are one of the best in the country and I loved working with them. Unfortunately I had some injuries toward the end of my career there, but overall I was pretty healthy and I credit those guys and the old coach, Coach Dobson. I would say the main difference between those two is that Coach Dobson is more old school, and Mark Philipp is more new school, but they're both fantastic in their own way. I really enjoyed working with both of them and learned a lot from them as well. I credit my success and my career to those guys because they kept me healthy and kept me going.

AC: When you say old school vs. new school, what were the differences between the cornerstones of the old staff and the new staff?

JW: Nebraska is so high-tech now with the way they go about training. And they're always exploring new ways on how to train better train stronger train faster and train more efficiently. Coach Philipp and the program invested a lot of money into that along with the NAPL lab, they do a lot of research. So there are a lot of new lifts and new movements that are more efficient that Coach Philipp and his staff have Incorporated that I experienced my last couple of years. As opposed to Coach Dobson was more old school. We were going to get stronger, faster, and quicker and this is our way of doing it and you were going to do it whether you liked it or not. Like I said, they're both fantastic and I enjoyed working with both of them. Coach Dobson is doing great things over at Vanderbilt.

AC: So Mark Philipp is more technologically advanced and more adaptive. Very cool. Coming out of high school, you were a 4 star recruit. You were the 37th best receiver in the country and the 6th best player in the state of Illinois. You had 18 total offers from your home state of Illinois, Notre Dame, and others. What made you choose Nebraska?

JW: Growing up around Chicago, it was either Nebraska or Notre Dame. Going through grade school and high school, Notre Dame was the "it" school. I got an offer from Notre Dame with my senior year after I had committed to Nebraska period so I took the official visit to Notre Dame, but there wasn't any place like Nebraska. I visited Nebraska during my junior year and committed to them right after my visit. there's just no place like Nebraska and I absolutely loved it from the facilities to the academics to the football program and the coaches at the time. It was the total package. I absolutely loved it. There's no place like Nebraska, and it felt like home to me. When I went to Notre Dame it just didn't have the same feel and that's pretty much why I picked Nebraska.

AC: I love that answer. There is no place like Nebraska. What sticks out most to you? What are your favorite memories about your time at Nebraska?

JW: Just the experience with the games, the guys locker room, the coaches, just everything. College is such a great experience and I can't believe it's already over for me period 5 Years Gone by just like that. I'll never forget those times with my teammates. Tough games, or games like Michigan State in 2015 when they were ranked number 4 and we came back and beat them, or Oregon this year. There are so many great games like that that I'll never forget. Playing with so many great players and coaches and learning from them. That's what I'll never forget. Just the whole experience.

AC: Fans love this so I always ask when former players come on. Do you have any behind-the-scenes stories, maybe when you were trying to find a spot with one of these NFL teams? Do you have any stores that you can share that the fans might find interesting?

JW: Yeah just everything I've been doing. I've been in Florida training, I'll be back there this weekend for Tampa Bay's rookie mini camp. I've been home for a couple of weeks with the family. I'm really looking forward to getting down to Florida this weekend and show these coaches what I've got.

AC: Last question, you're one of the most popular Husker players in recent memory. Is there anything you would like to say to the fans? The floor is yours.

JW: Absolutely. To all the Husker fans, I really appreciate the support you've given to me and my teammates for so many years. It's been an unbelievable experience and one I'll never forget. I'm seeing all these recruits deciding where they want to go and I hope Nebraska is on the radar because like I said before, there is no place like Nebraska. The fans are a huge part of that. Husker Nation is the best fans in the entire country. I just wanted to say thank you for all of your support and I really appreciate it.

AC: That's good stuff right there. I want to thank you for joining me, you have my number. If you need anything, hit me up anytime.

JW: Thank you, Adam, I really appreciate it.

AC: All right Husker Nation, so be sure to tune in two days from now on Fast Friday. Who knows where the Carriker family and Chronicles will be? So until then, Go Big Red and always remember...