S. Korean finds way into lineup for No. 9 Huskers

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LINCOLN, NEB. (AP) - A substitute teacher was walking through the library at Lincoln Christian High School when she spotted the new kid, all 6-foot-2 and 320 pounds of him.

“What’s your name?” the sub asked.

Seung,” he said.

“Do you play football?” she asked.

“I don’t know football,” he said in broken English.

“Oh,” she said. “You should get to know football.”

Thanks to that teacher, who just happened to be the wife of the school’s head football coach, Choi’s curiosity was piqued. And last Saturday, not quite six years later, Seung Hoon Choi made his first start as an offensive lineman for ninth-ranked Nebraska.

“All of us have taken different paths to get here,” linemate Jeremiah Sirles said. “He comes from a complete, whole ‘nother world, and now he’s starting in America’s game. College football is such a big thing, especially here in Nebraska. I think he saw that in high school.”

Choi’s parents sent him to this country with the belief he would have a better chance at a college education. The family picked Lincoln because an uncle, the brother of Seung’s father, had worked at the university as a researcher and lived here with his two children, Seung’s cousins.

Seung’s older sister, Ju-Youn Choi, preceded him to Lincoln and went on to the University of Washington _ the school whose team Choi started against on Saturday.

“Although I am an alum from the University of Washington, I am happier that Huskers got victory,” Ju-Youn wrote from South Korea in an email to The Associated Press.

The only words Choi knew upon his arrival in Lincoln were “yes” and “no,” and homesickness prompted him to beg his mother, unsuccessfully, to let him to go back to South Korea.

Seung Hoon Choi (pronounced SOON’ hoon CHOY) had grown up in a densely populated urban area near Seoul and thought Lincoln would be the same.

“Nothing around Nebraska compared to where I grew up,” he said.

He said he couldn’t believe U.S. students wore shorts and sweatshirts to class instead of school uniforms. The informality bugged him, he said.

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