Tight end Matt Herian made a successful return to the field in 2006 after redshirting in 2005 while going through rehabilitation from a fractured leg suffered during his junior season. In 2006, Herian was the veteran leader of a group of four
Herian finished his senior year with 12 receptions and in the process became
After being at less than full speed during spring drills, Herian returned for the start of fall camp. He played in all 14 games, with 12 starts, and finished the season with 12 receptions for 150 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He led a group of four NU tight ends that combined for 35 receptions, including 10 touchdowns. The group also played a valuable role in blocking for a running attack that averaged better than 170 yards per game.
Herian kicked off his comeback by scoring NU’s first touchdown of the season on a 13-yard reception from Zac Taylor in the season-opening win over Louisiana Tech. With 61 yards receiving against the Bulldogs, Herian passed former Husker Tracey Wistrom to become NU’s all-time receiving yardage record holder among tight ends.
Herian missed the entire season while rehabilitating from a leg injury.
The Huskers wasted no time showing Herian's potential in the West Coast Offense. In the season opener against Western Illinois, Herian caught seven passes for 98 yards and two touchdowns, with six of his catches before halftime. Both of his touchdowns came in the first half, a five-yard catch in the first quarter and a 22-yard TD grab in the second quarter.
In game two, Herian tied Nebraska's single-game record for receptions by a tight end with eight catches for 71 yards against Southern Miss. His eight catches matched Dennis Morrison who had eight catches at Colorado in 1966. Herian caught his third touchdown of the year against Southern Miss, a 13-yarder in the third quarter. His 15 combined receptions in the first two games were at that time the most by a Husker in a two-game stretch in 33 seasons.
Herian had three combined receptions in victories over Kansas and Pittsburgh as opposing defenses turn their focus toward him. He surpassed the 1,000-yard career receiving mark with three catches for 39 yards at Texas Tech. Against Baylor, Herian caught two passes for 60 yards, including the 43-yarder, and helped Nebraska surpass 300 yards passing in a game for the first time in school history.
His standout play also earned him honors on the conference level, as Herian was a first-team All-Big 12 selection by the league's coaches and the Dallas Morning News and was a second-team all-league pick according to the Associated Press.
Seven of Herian's 22 receptions covered 30 yards or more, and he led the team with three touchdown catches. Herian’s scores included a 21-yarder against Troy State, a 48-yarder against Texas and a 58-yard catch in the regular-season finale at Colorado.
Against Troy State, Herian hauled in three passes for 110 yards, including a Nebraska season-long 77-yard catch. The yardage total was the most by a Nebraska tight end since 1999, and the first 100-yard outing by any Husker in 20 games. The Troy State game was one of three contests in which Herian had three or more catches, including a season-high four receptions for 62 yards against Utah State.
Herian opened the year by catching at least one pass in the first six games, giving him a streak of nine straight games with a reception (ended vs. Texas A&M). Herian was Nebraska’s top offensive threat at Texas with two catches for 90 yards, including his 48-yard fourth-quarter touchdown grab. He closed the regular season with the 58-yard TD catch at Colorado that gave NU a 7-0 first-quarter lead.
Herian did not play in the season opener, but showed his potential in game two against Utah State. He had a 44-yard catch to set up a touchdown at Oklahoma State, then against Texas, snared a 60-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter to pull NU to within 20-17. He had a 28-yard reception at Kansas State, then closed the regular season with two catches for 95 yards against Colorado, including an 80-yard scoring catch. The 80-yard grab tied the second-longest reception ever by a Husker tight end. He capped his freshman season with a 41-yard touchdown catch against Ole Miss in the Independence Bowl.
Before Nebraska (Pierce HS)
He was a three-time Class C-1 all-state selection by both the World-Herald and Lincoln Journal Star. Herian finished with 24 career touchdown catches and 2,386 receiving yards to help the Bluejays to the Class C-1 state playoffs all four years.
Herian averaged 15 points and nine rebounds per game in basketball as a senior. He twice earned all-state honors from the Omaha World-Herald. He also excelled in track and field, finishing second in the shot put and third in the 100 meters in the Class B state meet as a senior. Herian attended Nebraska football camp and turned down scholarship offers from Iowa and Iowa State.
Herian's Career Statistics
2002 Independence Bowl vs. Ole Miss: Receiving, 1-41, 41-yard TD