Nebraska linebacker Michael Rose was three classes behind Nathan Scheelhaase at Rockhurst High in Kansas City, Mo., but he was around the quarterback enough to learn some lessons.
Rose, playing varsity as a freshman, said he watched how Scheelhaase carried himself on and off the field, and always seemed to have a presence about him. He studied how Scheelhaase handled the recruiting process his senior year, including attention from NU, before signing with Illinois.
“I consider him kind of like a mentor to me,” Rose said.
Rose and the Husker defense will try to slow down Scheelhaase on Saturday as Illinois visits Memorial Stadium. The former Rockhurst star has passed for 1,162 yards and 12 touchdowns in the Illini’s first four games, all while transitioning to a pro-style offense.
“He’s continuously improved his passing,” Rose said. “I know that was something he always worked on. He’s never really made bad decisions, but he’s making better decisions now. He’s definitely one of those guys that put in the work in the offseason, and you can see it on the field now.”
Rose said he talked with Scheelhaase over the weekend and they’ve traded some texts this week. It will be all business Saturday, but Rose said he’s glad to see his old friend having success this season after a tough junior year.
“I’m proud of him,” Rose said. “I’m glad he’s doing what he’s doing now. It’s going to be fun to be out there and playing against him.”
We’ll have more on Scheelhaase in a story in Wednesday’s paper.