November 25, 2008

Slauson still has anger against Colorado

It took a whole four hours for Matt Slauson to scratch Colorado off of his list of potential schools during his recruiting period coming out of high school.

After meeting with CU coaches during a short, unofficial visit to Boulder during his senior year at Air Force Academy High School in Colorado Springs, Slauson said then-Buffalo head coach Gary Barnett made a call to his high school coach to update him on Slauson's chances of playing for Colorado.

"After my visit there, they called my head coach and they said the only way that they would have me come there is if every one of their offensive linemen de-committed from there," Slauson said. "That's the only way they would've possibly considered accepting me there. So I have a little anger towards them."

Instead, Slauson ended up spending a year at the Air Force Prep School, where he played his freshman season in 2004. Following the season, Slauson made the recruiting rounds once again, this time visiting Nebraska as well as Colorado and others.

He said he was immediately turned off with what he described at Barnett's primary team goal of beating Huskers.

"I went on a visit there (again) when Barnett was there, and they had 'Nebraska' in big, red letters, and it was all, 'We're here to beat Nebraska.' That's it," Slauson said. "They would be happy if they lost every game and still beat Nebraska. I don't know why, but they said that when I went there. They said, 'We're here to beat Nebraska.' And I'm like, 'Shoot, I'm going to go play for Nebraska. How about that?'"

So that's what Slauson did. After originally coming to Lincoln as a walk-on, he was awarded a scholarship his first day on campus, and he's been a proud Husker ever since. Despite living in Colorado for two years, Slauson said his feelings for the Buffaloes have been soured ever since his initial encounter with Barnett.

With an opportunity to keep CU from attaining its crucial sixth win of the season and preventing the Buffaloes from becoming bowl eligible just days away, Slauson said he plans on relishing exacting some revenge on Friday.

"As a somewhat native of Colorado, I have an extreme distaste for them, and I wouldn't mind keeping them out of a bowl just like they did to us last year and they did to us in '04," he said. "I've personally never been a big fan of them. Being recruited there a little bit, they recruit guys for one reason only, and that's to beat Nebraska.

"So if you take that away from them, they have nothing. That's what we want to do, we want to take that away from them, just like they took our bowl away from us last year."

Slauson said he couldn't be happier with his decision to come to Nebraska and turn down Colorado's offer in 2005. In fact, the Nebraska-Colorado rivalry started for him before he ever officially became a Husker.

"When I told them I was being recruited by Nebraska, they didn't like that one bit, and they disrespected Nebraska a lot, they disrespected me for considering Nebraska, so I said, 'Alright Coach, I'll see you on the field,'" Slauson said. "They said that a player like me shouldn't want to go to a place like that. I don't exactly know what they meant by that."

After four years of playing in the Big 12 Conference, Slauson said looking back, he never really even wanted to go to Colorado, and his experience on his recruiting visits merely validated that decision.

Asked if Colorado was ever high on his list, even before his encounter with Barnett, Slauson made his initial opinions fairly clear.

"No, because they're in the Big 12, and when you think Big 12 schools, you think Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas," Slauson said. "I don't know. They just seemed irrelevant to me.

"Oh wait, that's billboard material."

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