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Krootin Kernels: Early Signing Day Preview!

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See the Recruiting Outlook as the Early Signing Period Draws Nigh

Good afternoon ladies, gentlemen, and the readers of Cornnation! I hope this finds you in fine fettle. The Early Signing Period is next week, so let’s see what it’s going to look like!

As of this writing, the 2020 Nebraska Cornhusker recruiting class is sitting at 29th, 7th in the B1G. It’s four spots behind Iowa, and just behind Northwestern. That’s less than optimal. The subpar W-L record has had it’s effect, whether anyone is admitting it or not. There have been some big misses at key positions of need that have hurt the class. However, there have also been some big wins. Let’s take a look at the position groups and see how next week is going to play out:

Offense


Quarterback:

Logan Smothers is been a commit for a long time, and never wavered from Nebraska. He was a lowly three-star when he was recruited by Nebraska, but the secret is out. He is now a high four-star, and one of the gems of the class.

Running Back:

Sevion Morrison is another good win. His recruitment blew up after his commitment to Nebraska, but they had gotten there first.

Marvin Scott III is a solid commitment as well, the North-South complement to Morrison’s East-West cutback ability.

The Huskers are also pursuing a flip by Ole Miss commit Jo’Quavious Marks, but he looks to be standing pat with Ole Miss. I believe running back recruiting is done, as least for the early period.

Wide Receiver:

Wide Receiver recruiting has been a struggle, and I don’t understand why. The Huskers obviously need help, and lots of it. The coaches call lots of passes, even when we wish they’d Run the Dang Ball. There are two commits, in-state phenom Zavier Betts and smart, versatile William Nixon. However two more are needed at a minimum. Current targets:

Alante Brown is a prep school quarterback who doesn’t have the height at 5-10 to play it in college. He wowed people at 7-on-7 camps when asked to play wide receiver. He’s smart and elusive and would be a worthy replacement for JD Spielman in the slot. Maryland and Virginia Tech are the competition here.

Javian Hester, four star Missouri commit, has emerged as a target since Missouri took my frickin’ coach, the bastards. Javian has reopened his recruitment. He is a tall lean target, useful for 50-50 balls, and the goal-line fade.

Marcus Fleming is a superfast speedster and Miami decommit. Fast, fast, fast, as in a 10.38 100m. Nebraska is in a good position here, and they need to be. There’s not a wide receiver on the roster that can outrun a defensive back. I see this one trending N.

The staff is also working hard to flip four-star Justin Robinson from Georgia, but their wide receiver room is in disarray as well, so I don’t see him passing up that opportunity.

Top JUCO receiver Omar Manning was heavily favored to sign with the Cornhuskers. He even had a multiple-coach home visit. Crickets. Now we’re hearing that he isn’t signing until February and that there are academic concerns as well. Sounds to me like he’s fishing for a better offer. There’s still lots of optimism that he signs with Nebraska, but I’m wavering.

Tight End

Not much to report here. No commits, and the top two targets, Texan Donavon Johnson and New Mexico’s Connor O’Toole, have not returned interest. The coaches are prioritizing bigger needs at this time.

Offensive Line

This was an area of concern, and consequently an area of focus for the staff. They have done very well here. Commits include Turner Corcoran, the 38th overall player in all the land and three-star Alex Conn from Kansas. The staff might take one more in February, but look to be done here.

Defense


Defensive Line:

There’s a lot of experience and talent leaving this year, with the graduation of Darrion Daniels and the Davis Twins. However, the staff has been proactive, securing the commitments of top prospects and all-name team candidates Nash Hutmacher, Blaise Gunnerson, Marquis Black and Junior Aho. If I was a quarterback and heard there was a guy nicknamed Nutmasher lined up across from me, he’d be living in my head rent-free. And there’s no way someone named Blaise Gunnerson isn’t getting in the backfield at least every other snap. It’s just not possible. Tuli Tuipulotu, Tanoa Togiai, and Julius Coates are still top targets. Coach Tuioti would like to have at least one more commitment in this class.

Linebacker:

This has been the area where the coaches have struggled the most. An apex predator pass rusher at outside linebacker and a smart, athletic field general who won’t overpursue at inside linebacker are two of the three linchpins to a successful 3-4 defense, and Nebraska has neither. The staff has struggled to get these rare prospects, as many targets have committed to other schools.

The staff just signed unrated JUCO outside linebacker Eteva Mauga-Clements. He is a 3-for-2 January enrollee that is raw but extremely athletic. I believe he is slated for inside linebacker here, or perhaps a hybrid role similar to JoJo Domann. There is also a walk-on transfer from Colorado State, Zach Schlager, who will be eligible for the 2020 season. JUCO linebacker Jamoi Hodge committed, then just as quickly reopened his recruitment. I believe he had heretofore unknown academic qualification concerns though.

There is a battle with Miami for Florida State decommit Keyshawn Greene. He had publicly stated Miami was his dream school but they didn’t offer. Then FSU fired Willie Taggart and Miami offered him. He went there for an official visit, and something must not have met his expectations, because he has not committed. He is coming to Nebraska for the all-important last official visit before the Early Signing Period. I believe Nebraska has a good chance here. The Huskers want him as an inside linebacker.

Outside linebacker Jimari Butler is choosing between Nebraska and TCU. I like where Nebraska sits here. He was committed to Tennessee until he made an official visit to Lincoln. That usually augurs well for the time that created the decommitment.

Kaden Johnson is an exceptional talent at outside linebacker from Minnesota. I believe he could make a big impact on the defensive side of the ball. He has multiple crystal balls in Nebraska’s favor.

Defensive Back

These positions always seem to have chaotic, turbulent storylines. Current commits are four-star safety Henry Gray, along with development project cornerbacks Ronald Delancy III and Tamon Lynum. More manpower and talent is needed in the defensive backfield.

Oklahoman Myles Slusher was supposedly wanting to flip from Oregon. Then he notoriously retweeted Oregon stuff while on his Nebraska official visit. I believe everyone has kissed and made up, and he is still being heavily recruited by Nebraska. This still looks like an Oregon win to me.

Jaiden Francois is being heavily peer-recruited by Nebraska commit Ronald Delancy. Nebraska is in a good position here. Delancy is also working on Kendall Dennis. He was hoping to go to Clemson, but they no longer have room. No one knows what his interests are now.

Darion Green-Warren is getting a lot of love from the Husker staff. He’s choosing between Nebraska, Michigan, and hometown USC.


That’s what I have right now. Look for lots of movement on the recruiting front in the next week, as the coaching staff looks to lock down last minute commitments from key targets. This class isn’t shaping up the way it had looked early, but the coaches are working hard to clean it up on the back end. Stay tuned for updates! GBR!