Army sergeant surprises family by dressing up as Nebraska player at spring game

(Via Nebraska Football)
(Via Nebraska Football)

Nebraska gave the Hawke family one heck of a surprise before Saturday’s spring game.

With Nebraska fan Army Staff Sergeant Matthew Hawke (allegedly) in Afghanistan, Nebraska chose his family to be honorary captains for Saturday’s spring game. As they took the field for pregame ceremonies, Matthew appeared in front of them in full uniform.

The surprise went a little like this, according to Nebraska’s website. Hawke told his family he volunteered to stay another 30 days in Afghanistan to help train incoming unit. But he didn’t have to do that, so he traveled home with the rest of his unit. He arrived Friday to make sure that the surprise would still work, and stayed in a hotel Friday night to keep the surprise a secret for his family.

He then got dressed with the team in the locker room and walked out of the tunnel with them before surprising his family at midfield.

“The entire unit, I think it took them 27 hours in the air and five different flights to get them to Fort Hood,” [Nebraska sports marketing manager Brian George] said.

The rest of the unit didn’t arrive until Saturday, but Hawke’s arrival was pushed ahead to Friday night. He secretly stayed in a hotel, away from his family, so as not to ruin the pregame surprise.

“We feel like we’ve talked to almost every single person in the military by now to make this happen,” George said.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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