Good day and welcome, recruitniks! The dead period that started just prior to the Early Signing Period is over this weekend, and the Nebraska coaching staff has some quality prospects lined up to fill the last five remaining spots. As the late Paul Harvey would say, Stand By for News!
Early Enrollees Already on Campus
Seven players who signed during the early signing period are already on campus, rising and grinding under the tutelage of strength coach Zach Duval. They are: wide receiver Wandale Robinson, inside linebacker Nick Henrich, wide receiver Jamie Nance, defensive end Brant Banks, quarterback Luke McCaffrey, outside linebacker Garrett Nelson, and tight end Chris Hickman. Apparently the strength program is somewhat intense, at least according to grad transfer defensive tackle Darrion Daniels:
At Nebraska they be LIFTIN liftin....this is BEYOOOOOOOND me— Ormond Daniels (@DarrionGolden79) January 10, 2019
No pain no gain right? ♂️
Getting Robinson and Nance on campus early is going to pay dividends this fall, when the Cornhuskers are looking for a replacement for prolific receiver Stanley Morgan Jr. Robinson’s praises have been sung nationally, but don’t sleep on Nance. Wide receiver is an area where freshman can contribute quickly, and there is a big opportunity since there was no true #3 receiver last season.
A Word on the Non-Signers
23 of 25 possible signatures were garnered during the early signing period. The two outliers were JUCO running back Dedrick Mills, and offensive lineman Desmond Bland. As of today, both are expected to sign in February and show up this summer. Neither player are talking to other teams. Mills had some unresolved traffic violations that resulted in a bench warrant that had to be resolved this winter. He has one class to finish and he will be eligible. Bland was always a May graduate. Everything is still on course with him, assuming he passes his final classes.
So Who’s Coming to Visit?
Charles Njoku is a three star wide receiver and Missouri decommit. He is a big-bodied possession receiver, something that Nebraska has been sorely lacking since Quincy Enunwa graduated. Every team needs one of these guys to just run down the sideline, then go up and get contested balls to keep drives alive. They are also important for downfield blocking during counter type runs. This guy is a key recruit to improve the offense. Missouri wanted to make him a tight end, but Nebraska sees him as an X receiver.
DJ James is a three star defensive back currently committed to Mississippi State. He did not sign during the early signing period because he had only taken one official visit so far. This one smells like he’s wanting to take some free trips and will be signing with Miss State in February.
Soni Fonua is a JUCO defensive end from Mesa C.C. in Arizona. While there have been some major upgrades in defensive line talent signed the last two years, getting a JUCO who can immediately contribute will add depth and give those young talented players more time to grow and develop. No team’s starting defensive lineman averaged more snaps per game in the B1G than Nebraska. Depth on the offensive and defensive lines is one of the major deficiencies that have to be resolved to return Nebraska to contention.
Steven Parker is a four star defensive end/ outside linebacker who decommitted from Texas Tech after the coaching staff had their employment terminated. He is an extremely talented athlete, but it remains to be seen how he fits into a 3-4. His body type and speed/strength are more suited for a 4-3 defensive end in my opinion. This is a situation where the staff wants to get the incredibly talented athlete on campus, then find out the best way to get him on the field. His primary recruiter at Texas Tech is now at Kansas, and this might be a tough pull for the Husker coaching staff.