Before Nebraska (Norfolk Catholic HS)
Ethan Piper was one of the top prep players in the state of Nebraska after being a dominant presence for Norfolk Catholic and Coach Jeff Bellar. As a senior, Piper’s blocking paved the way for a powerful Norfolk Catholic offense and record-setting rushing attack. Defensively, he recorded 120 tackles, including 14 sacks. His play helped the Knights to an 11-2 record and a runner-up finish in the Class C-2 playoffs. Piper earned All-Nebraska honors as a defensive lineman from the Omaha World-Herald and was a Lincoln Journal Star Super-State pick as an offensive lineman. He was also an honorary captain of the Class C-2 all-state team by both publications.
Piper’s excellent play in 2017 helped Norfolk Catholic to a perfect 13-0 record and a Class C-1 state title. Piper was an All-Nebraska and Super-State selection as an offensive lineman during his junior season. As a sophomore, Piper helped the Knights to a state playoff appearance and earned first-team Class C-1 all-state honors as an offensive lineman from the Omaha World-Herald.
Piper also excelled on the hardwood and in track and field. He captured the Class C shot put title as a junior and was second in the discus before finishing as the runner-up in both events as a senior. He was a four-year member of the varsity basketball team and a three-time honorable-mention all-state choice. Piper averaged 13.5 points and 7.6 rebounds per game as a junior and 15.2 points and 8.0 rebounds per game as a senior.
Piper was a three-star prospect regarded among the top five players in Nebraska by both Rivals and 247Sports, which also ranked him among the top 90 defensive line prospects in the nation. Piper chose Nebraska over offers from Iowa and Ohio.