As he daily sifted through a bundle of handwritten recruiting letters from college football coaches, Alta High coach Mitch Lunak realized lineman Ryon Bingham was a special player. When the coaches started giving Lunak their home phone numbers, he knew he really had a hot recruit.

Not anymore.Bingham, a muscular two-way lineman and defending 5A heavyweight wrestling champ, has verbally committed to play football for Nebraska.

"They said they'd like me to come there," said Bingham. "Nebraska will be a fun school (to play for). It's a huge school."

And the national champions are getting a huge Utahn. At 6-foot-4, 265 pounds, Bingham has an intimidating frame for anybody, let alone a high school senior. He benches 410 pounds and squats 530.

"He knocks the daylights out of people," said Lunak. "This kid's the real deal."

Bingham had gotten some attention from the Cornhuskers after his junior season, but he became one of their top targets after attending their annual football camp in Lincoln this June. "Ryon just stood out among them all," said his father, Jeff Bingham.

After the camp, Nebraska coaches asked for videotapes of him, and they've continued to stay in contact through letters and cards.

"(Nebraska head coach) Frank Solich and (receivers coach) Ron Brown have been really wonderful. That interest in him as a person more than just a football player is really what got Ryon," said his mother, Laura Bingham. "They always ended their letters with, `May God bless you.' They are very personal and caring."

Since college coaches can't personally contact players right now, Jeff called the Nebraska coaches last week to inform them Ryon had chosen Nebraska over the likes of Florida, Kentucky, BYU and Utah. He will officially sign a national letter of intent in February.

"It's a dream come true for him," said Jeff, whose oldest son Josh is a freshman at Southern Utah. "And it's been real exciting as a dad."

Before Bingham can officially sign, he'll have to raise his ACT score a bit. He got a 16 but needs a 17 to attend the Midwestern university. He'll retake the test next month.

Bingham will get his first action as a senior when his Hawks host Viewmont Thursday at 7 p.m.