Greetings and Salutations Nebraska Football Faithful! I hope this finds you all hale, hearty and Husker. A lot has gone on in recruiting, and this is the place to hear about it! But first, a personal note.
First of all, the gate latch install for Mrs Uglydog, which delayed the publishing of this article, went well. I did have to break out the belt sander to get everything to fit, but that’s minor. Happy wife, happy life!
Also, I have decided to go back to school, here in North Carolina at Appalachian State. My poor rusty old brain is attempting to learn how to learn again, and it took a bit more work than you might think. So I apologize for the lack of updates; if it was homework or recruiting, regretfully I had to prioritize. I’m majoring in Computer Science, and the last time I worked with computer programming, it was BASIC on an Apple IIe. The kids in my class look at me blankly when I say that. Two of my four professors are younger than me. It’s been a stretch.
But it’s winter break now! So let’s find out what’s going on between the coaching staff and some underage boys, shall we?
Where We Be At:
As of this evening, the Nebraska 2019 recruiting class is ranked 21st on 247, 16th on the optimistic Rivals site, 22 on ESPN. This puts the class solidly in third place behind Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State, respectively. This is about where the class is going to end up. There’s a few blue-chippers still in view, but once the class size reaches 20, it stops moving so much for various reasons that involve maths and nobody wants to know that stuff.
The coaching staff has been doing work early, with 22 recruits already committed out of a projected class of 30. There’s a lot of meat and potatoes here, along with a couple of development projects.
The 2019 commit class so far:
Nick Henrich, 4 star inside linebacker - early enrollee
Wandale Robinson, 4 star all-purpose back - early enrollee
Bryce Benhart, 4 star offensive lineman
Luke McCaffrey, 4 star quarterback - early enrollee
Desmond Bland, JUCO offensive lineman - there’s an asterisk here to be discussed later
Rahmir Johnson, 3 star I-back
Ronald Thompkins, 4 star I-back
Dedrick Mills, JUCO I-back - early enrollee
Javin Wright, 3 star cornerback and Husker legacy
Jackson Hannah, 3 star outside linebacker
Jamie Nance, 3 star athlete that projects as a wide receiver - early enrollee
Chris Hickman, 3 star tight end - early enrollee
Darien Chase, 4 star athlete who projects to wide receiver for Big Red
Myles Farmer, 3 star safety
Quinton Newsome, 3 star safety
Mosai Newsom, 3 star defensive end
Jamin Graham, 3 star outside linebacker
Garrett Nelson, 3 star defensive end - early enrollee
Garrett Snodgrass, 3 star athlete, projects to defense
Michael Lynn, 3 star offensive tackle
Matthew Anderson, 3 star offensive lineman
Ethan Piper, 3 star defensive lineman
There’s a lot to like here. It seems like a lot of 3 stars, but there’s some diamonds here. There are also some kids here that are going to play a different position at Nebraska, in which they will be a better fit. There are also some developmental projects in this list. We’ll see how it plays out.
Home Grown and Corn Fed
Another area that has received a lot of attention is the walk-on class. This is an underrated part of the team. The scout team is the iron the 1’s and 2’s are sharpened on. The commits so far:
Grant Detlefsen - Punter - Lincoln (Neb.) Southeast
Matt Huser - DL - Omaha (Neb.) Millard West
Dylan Jorgensen - Kicker - Lincoln (Neb.) Southwest
Riley Moses - OL - Geneva (Neb.) Fillmore Central
Cam Kleinschmidt - DB - Lincoln (Neb.) High
Zach Weinmaster - ATH - Loveland (Colo.)
Luke Reimer - LB - Lincoln (Neb.) North Star
Eli Richter - OL/DL - Kearney (Neb.) Catholic
Noah Stafursky - OL - York, Neb.
Caden McCormack - LB - Lincoln (Neb.) Southwest
Nick Leader - OLB - Lincoln (Neb.) Southwest
I especially like walk-on punters, kickers, and snappers. This frees up scholarships for more duck-R receivers and hopefully some elite pass-rushing outside linebackers. And, as we have seen, scholarship level kicker/punters do not guarantee scholarship level performance. A coach can have five punters walk on and work with them to get one good one.
Key Targets by Position
Luke McCaffrey, younger brother of Carolina Panther Christian McCaffrey and Michigan quarterback Dylan McCaffrey, is the only quarterback the staff is taking.
With Thompkins, Johnson, and the JUCO product Mills, I-back recruiting is pretty much finished. The staff is still recruiting John Bivens, an underrated 3 star prospect from Dayton, Ohio. He didn’t receive a ratings bump because he missed his senior season with an ACL tear. My read on this is the staff is willing to make room for talent, then utilize it where it fits the team the best.
Omaha Burke native Chris Hickman is the only recruit being taken at this position. Tight end as a position is both young and well staffed currently.
The staff got a splash commitment with the flip of Wandale Robinson from Kentucky. Robinson is a 70% pass 30% run guy as opposed to Maurice Washington, who is a 70% run 30% pass guy. With Darien Chase and Jaime Nance onboard, the staff wants to take one more commit. The top target is Charles Njoku, a recent Missouri decommit who has an impressive football pedigree.
I hesitate to refine this into cornerbacks and safeties, because when these guys get here, they all get resorted so often. Then there are nickels. Where do you put them? Currently Farmer, Newsome, and Wright are onboard. The staff wants 1-2 more between top target Noa Pola-Gates, JUCO Tony Wallace, Tavian Mayo and Jamel Starks. 4 star Pola-Gates would be a recruiting coup as he is being courted by Alabama and USC as well. His cousin plays softball at Nebraska, and I’m sure you’re going to hear that about as often as you heard that Tommy Armstrong and Jordan Westerkamp were roommates. Tony Wallace would be nearly as good a get as Pola-Gates. Gates or Wallace along with Mayo or Starks would be a good haul.
Few positions needed an infusion of talent like the linebacker position. I would rather have a Lavonte David than two Heisman caliber running backs. But that’s just, like, my opinion, man. Although if yours is different, it is bad and you should feel bad. Inside linebacker is well stocked with Henrich, Snodgrass and Hannah. The need for a pass-rushing outside linebacker only grows more urgent, however. Garrett Nelson and Jamin Graham are currently onboard, but neither of them are that elite rusher so desperately needed. Top targets are Lloyd Summerall, JUCO Dru Mathis, and JUCO Amare Barno and JUCO Datona Jackson. Summerall is all but a lock to Miami, although the staff is still going in all guns blazing - the entire coaching staff is at his house right now. Mathis decided he only wants to play inside linebacker and is a Baylor lean. Barno at least sounds interested. Jackson doesn’t have Nebraska in his top three, but he is visiting this week.
The defensive line roster just got a bit more interesting with the reported grad transfer of Oklahoma State Cowboy Darrion Daniels to Nebraska. I’ll bet NO ONE has told all of you yet that he’s the older brother of current Husker Damion Daniels! The defensive line is going to be Daniels, Daniels, Davis, Davis in a four man front. Darrion’s transfer changed the complexion of recruiting markedly. JUCO Tony Fair was looking iffy with his grades for a December graduation, and has parted ways with Nebraska. With Mosai Newsom and Ethan Piper committed, one more top guy is wanted. That guy is 4 star Ty Robinson, who is possibly the 1a to Pola-Gates’ 1b on the recruiting board. Coach Frost has the last in-home visit the night before the visiting period ends. I like our chances here. Backup targets are Brant Banks and Smith Vilbert. Banks is a Husker lean, Vilbert is not. The staff has also recently offered cousin of Pola-Gates Matthew Pola-Mao and that offer seems to have been planted on fertile soil. I would personally love it if every member of the extended Pola family attended Nebraska.
I’ve got nothing to report here. No schollies for choking punters!
And now, what you’ve all been waiting for!
Matthew Anderson, Michael Lynn, and top recruit Bryce Benhart have filled out the lineman room nicely. All three are lean, athletic, mobile types to run the tempo spread offense. There is one more prospect on the radar from my neck of the woods, Jimmy Fritzsche, who I see committing to Nebraska. Fritzsche is a tight end who outgrew the position, another athletic lean frame for Coach Duval to develop.
Desmond Bland*. Here’s your asterisk. While Bland is currently committed, there’s a question about academic qualification. As it sits, Bland is a May graduate at best. Coach Frost likes his JUCO’s to be academically qualified and December graduates. Bland might be good enough to wait for. This one might have more scenes before the curtain falls.
Whew! There was more to report than I realized! I believe we’ll see that the vast majority of recruiting is done, and that after the early signing on December 19, the staff concentrates on just a few key players to fill some holes. 30 remains the target number, as well as the maximum number possible to be taken this class. Stay tuned as these situations continue to develop! GBR!