Photo by Nebraska Communications

Husker Walk-on Q-n-A: Reid Karel

By Brian Rosenthal

Reid Karel is a fifth-year senior walk-on safety from Seward who made an impact on special teams over the second half of last season, playing in games against Minnesota, Bethune-Cookman, Ohio State, Michigan State and Iowa. A four-time Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll member, Karel (No. 36, pictured above) was an Academic All-Big Ten selection in 2018, and he will play this season as a graduate student. At Seward High School, Karel excelled at quarterback and also played basketball and baseball. Karel visited with Brian Rosenthal of for what will be a weekly question-and-answer session with a Husker walk-on.

BR: Tell me your walk-on story. Did you have other opportunities? Why did you choose this route?
Reid: “I had a lot of opportunities to play other places, but I knew Nebraska was always my home and the place I wanted to be, the place where I felt I could impact the most people with stuff that mattered to me the most.”

BR: What do you remember about your first year here as a walk-on?

Reid: “My first year was really tough. It was a lot of learning, a lot of becoming even more hard-nosed than I already was. Not letting things affect you, especially when you’re by yourself a lot of times, you learn how to control your thoughts and to channel your aggression and emotions. And you can really put those in a positive area where you can put them onto other people and you can control your efforts. I really learned how to do that a lot.”

BR: What has been your most memorable or favorite moment playing here?

Reid: “One of my most memorable moments was after Barrett Pickering hit the field goal to put us up against Michigan State. I was out on the kickoff with Collin Miller and we were just trying to get the crowd hyped up even more than they already were. So I was coming down and just looking around, ready to go down the field and just put your head into somebody. That was just a great feeling, a great view of everything.”

BR: What advice would you offer to new walk-ons this year or any recruits considering walking on here in the future?

Reid: “I would say just come ready to work, come ready to truly find yourself, come ready to become the best version of yourself. Because if you go through this every day and you do the things you need to do to put yourself in position to be successful, then you’re going to come out on the better end than most other people would that weren’t in your situation. So if you’re making that decision, then you just really need to look at yourself in the mirror and know that you’re going to do a lot of growing up and know you’re going to become the person you want to be.”

BR: Growing up, did you have any favorite Nebraska walk-ons that you looked up to?

Reid: “Yeah, the Makovicka brothers, fullbacks. I looked up to them more than anybody.”

BR: You graduated in May with a degree in management. What will you be doing for school this fall?

Reid: “I’ll be starting my MBA, grad school. It’s a two-year program. That will be a lot of fun.”

BR: What are your goals for this season?

Reid: “My goals for this season are to positively impact all my teammates in the best way that I can, and do no matter what I can for the university to get wins and be successful.”

BR: What are your plans after football?

Reid: “Good question. That’s tough. I like to go day-to-day and really just focus on my tasks, what I’m doing each day. I know I want to do something from either a health care administration standpoint or something with financial analysis. But somewhere that I can most positively impact the most people, where I can reach the most people through my efforts.”

BR: Favorite sport outside of football?

Reid: “Oh, baseball, for sure. Yeah, that was my thing. That was originally my plan before football. I loved baseball growing up as a kid. It was always just great to be with my brothers and be able to make plays out there as well. I played pretty much everywhere, but shortstop, I pitched, catcher.”

BR: Was it tough to decide football over baseball?

Reid: “In the beginning it was, but then I saw the opportunities, the positives that would entail with coming here and how it would change me as a person. I just felt like it was the best opportunity for me and family, too.”

BR: Have you ever watched any games when your head coach played?

Reid: “Oh, all of them, probably. I have a ’97 … I literally have like discs of all those seasons and it goes through every single game. And it’s on the old VHS, too, or whatever, so I watched that all the time growing up as a little kid. I can remember games all the way back from 2004, watching them on TV, 2006. Literally, I could probably pick out a game from every year that I had a fond memory when I was a kid. I remember how those felt, win or lose.”

BR: What’s the chemistry like with this team this year?
Reid: “The chemistry is awesome. It’s a brotherly love, especially when we’re out on the field. Because no matter who lines up across from you, you want to beat them, but at the same point, we’re teammates, so the guy across the ball knows how hard the other one’s coming and how he just wants to make you better. It’s a real love-hate relationship when we’re on the field, but then off the field, everybody is tighter than ever.”

BR: What the biggest piece of advice you have taken from Coach Frost?

Reid: “Yeah, it’s his biggest quote. ‘Desire to excel with no fear of failure.’ He emphasizes seeing what you see and then going for it; don’t be scared to make a mistake. Just fly around playing as fast as you can. Once you see something, just go. No hesitation. Just do it.”

Reach Brian at or follow him on Twitter @GBRosenthal.


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