Senior tight end Aaron Golliday

By Jerod Dahlgren

It?s pretty tough for a 6-4, 290-pound tight end to be overshadowed.

Although senior Aaron Golliday has started games in each of his four seasons with the Huskers, his performances have gone somewhat unnoticed. After all, he has played behind all-Big 12 honorees Tracey Wistrom and Sheldon Jackson.

"He was in the shadows for a long time," NU receivers coach Ron Brown said. "Even now, his role doesn?t give him the credit that he really deserves.

"I think he?s arguably the best blocking tight end in college football," Brown added. "People unfortunately don?t make as big of a deal about that kind of thing as they do about a whole lot of receptions."

Despite having just nine catches over his career with the Huskers, Golliday has not only been catching the eyes of Brown, but those of coaches throughout the Big 12 Conference.

"I?ve heard coaches say that he just mashes people," Brown said. "He has become a very tenacious football player."

Golliday has made the most of his opportunities when the ball has been thrown to him, converting two of his nine receptions into touchdowns. He crossed the goal line for the first time as a redshirt freshman in the 2000 Fiesta Bowl, but didn?t put points on the board again until snagging a one-yard touchdown pass against Missouri as a senior this season.

"It had been a long time," Golliday said. "It was so far and few between, I forgot how the last one felt."

The Golliday File
Position:
Tight End
Class: Senior
Height: 6-4
Hometown: York, Neb.
Weight: 290
High School: York High School

Noting Golliday:
Aaron Golliday has caught two passes for 17 yards in 2002, including one for a touchdown against Missouri. The only other touchdown grab of his career came as a redshirt freshman in the 2000 Fiesta Bowl against Tennessee. He has started a total of 15 games in his four-year career with the Huskers, including picking up starts in seven of Nebraska?s games this season. One of the best blocking tight ends in the country, Golliday also serves as the left tight end for the PAT and field goal units.

Not only is his position coach quick to point out Golliday?s ability to block, but also recognizes the talents he possesses as a receiver.

"From time to time, we?ve thrown him the football and it seems like every time we?ve thrown that kid the ball, he?s come up with it," Brown said. "He?s got very good hands."

Those soft hands that Brown mentioned can likely be traced back to what must seem like another life for Golliday.

The road to becoming such a dominant player in the trenches for the Huskers was an unlikely one for the York, Neb., native. Until his senior year of high school, Golliday believed that his route to a college athletic scholarship would be on the hardwood playing basketball.

One quickly envisions Golliday banging in the post as a center or power forward much as he does as a tight end for NU, but his forte was distributing the ball as a point guard. Until his senior year with the Dukes, Golliday saw the court and directed traffic around the perimeter, attracting double and triple teams night in and night out.

His court vision was something that made the transition from point guard to a blocking tight end a success.

"He?s a great athlete," Brown said. "He has coordination and quickness for a big man, along with an ability to adapt to scenarios out in the open space. He can adjust and change directions."

Not only did Golliday adjust sports after receiving a scholarship offer to play football, he also had to modify his body type.

Early in his high school days, Golliday clocked in around 200 pounds, but by his senior year, had bulked up to 235 pounds. After talking with an NU strength coach on a recruiting visit, Golliday soon realized that his weight might continue to escalate.

"I remember talking to Boyd Epley on a visit and he said I would be up to 275," Golliday said. "I thought he was outrageous."

Now well beyond the benchmark set by Epley, Golliday could attract some attention from NFL scouts in the coming months, according to Brown.

"I think the kid has a chance to play pro football because of his size and his excellent feet and eye-hand coordination," Brown said. "Somewhere, I think that he could play, if that?s what he wants to do.

"He?s a kid who will have a lot of options. He?s bright and has done well in school. People are going to fall in love with Aaron Golliday just as a person."

Golliday is also keeping his options open when it comes to his plans after college.

"You hate to put all of these years behind and just have it end," Golliday said. "When you are a Division I football player, you are so close, but yet so far away. At the same time, I?ve played a lot of football and have been here for a long time. If it didn?t happen, I wouldn?t be devastated. I?d be happy with a job, I?ve been poor long enough."