Two time zones away, somewhere below the Seattle Space Needle and always just a block from a Starbucks, Damore’ea Stringfellow still found himself curious on Saturdays as to how that team in Lincoln was faring.
Even as a Washington Husky, the wide receiver would take a peek at the Huskers. Actually, more than a peek.
“I always watched them,” said Stringfellow, who paid particular attention to Quincy Enunwa, who came from the same high school – Rancho Verde in Moreno Valley, Calif.
It was more than just a neighborhood bond that drew Stringfellow to Enunwa’s game. Watching him was just as much a look into the mirror of what could be.
“We play exactly the same way,” the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Stringfellow said.
It's perhaps then fitting that as the big-bodied Enunwa leaves Lincoln for an opportunity with the New York Jets, the big-bodied Stringfellow arrives in what, on paper, appears as one of the more significant transfers the Husker football program has had in some time.
Two days after signing his transfer papers and firing off a “Go Big Red” tweet to make it Twitter official, Stringfellow’s enthusiasm couldn’t be hidden over the phone.
“I can’t wait to go out there and be a part of the team,” he said. “I’ve already talked to Coach (Rich) Fisher about how they go about doing things. I’m extremely excited to get there, just get a start fresh.”
Rated one of the top 100 recruits nationally in the 2013 class, Stringfellow is looking for that fresh start after an offseason that included an incident with two Seattle Seahawks fans that occurred the night of the Super Bowl.
While witnesses in court documents provide varying accounts as to what happened, Stringfellow ultimately pleaded guilty in April to three gross misdemeanor charges. He was sentenced to five days on a work crew, a $693 fine and ordered to attend anger-management counseling.
On May 14, new Washington coach Chris Petersen said in a statement that Stringfellow “has decided to transfer to another program.” It took only 2 1/2 weeks after that for Stringfellow to name that program.
“There are a lot of distractions out here in Seattle and I felt like I just needed a change of scenery,” he said. “I want to get my priorities in order.”
He’s finishing his last quarter of school in Washington, which ends next week, then plans to arrive in Lincoln in mid-July to begin his career as a Husker.
While he will most likely have to sit out this year, he’ll have three years of eligibility remaining.
After catching 20 passes for 259 yards and a touchdown as a true freshman, there is still plenty of room for growth in Stringfellow’s game.
Seattle Times writer Adam Jude addressed Stringfellow’s departure from Washington in mid-May by writing: “Yes, the Huskies are going to miss Damore’ea Stringfellow. More specifically, they’re going to miss his potential — potential he will try to realize somewhere else. And, yes, his potential is great. … Stringfellow already had the physical presence of an NFL wide receiver last season.
"He quickly established a reputation as a guy not to be messed with in the UW locker room. He was popular — and tough. And a tough matchup, too, as he showed in his breakthrough, eight-catch, 147-yard, one-touchdown performance at UCLA in his first career start. In the future, the hunch here is he’ll be a tough matchup for defensive backs in some other conference.”
As it played out, Husker coaches received what amounts to a late recruiting reward with Stringfellow, who made an official visit to Lincoln in 2012 to watch Nebraska beat Michigan. He quickly formed a bond with NU’s wide receivers coach Fisher.
When it came time to decide, however, Stringfellow picked Washington first and Nebraska second. In recruiting, second is usually worth as much as the lint in your pocket.
But once every great while it matters. This time it mattered.
There were a couple other schools Stringfellow says he thought about when exploring a transfer. Alabama was one of them. But, really, he said it wasn’t much of a decision. He didn’t need to be recruited a second time. “Nebraska was the first school I called.”
His No. 2 had become No. 1.