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NSD: Frost Talks 2019 Recruiting

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With the 2019 class signed and delivered, head coach Scott Frost delivers an update on the state of the program

Salt Creek and Stadium - Corn Nation

Nebraska finished their 2019 recruiting class today, picking up WR Demariyon Houston out of Oklahoma as their sole addition since signing 25 players in December. They also announced a twenty-two member walk-on class (as of today).

The complete 2019 class, representing 15 states:

Offensive Line: Matthew Anderson (Louisiana), Bryce Benhart (Minnesota), Jimmy Fritzsche (South Carolina), Michael Lynn (Colorado)

Running Back: Rahmir Johnson (New Jersey), Dedrick Mills (Garden City CC), Ronald Thompkins (Georgia)

Wide Receiver: Darien Chase (Washington), Demariyon Houston (Oklahoma), Jamie Nance (Oklahoma)

Quarterback: Luke McCaffrey (Colorado)

Tight End: Chris Hickman (Nebraska)

Defensive Line: Brant Banks (Texas), Mosai Newsom (Iowa), Ty Robinson (Arizona), Darrion Daniels (Transfer, Oklahoma State)

Linebacker: Jamin Graham (Alabama), Jackson Hannah (Tennessee), Nick Henrich (Nebraska), Garrett Nelson (Nebraska), Garrett Snodgrass (Nebraska)

Defensive Back: Myles Farmer (Georgia), Quinton Newsome (Georgia), Javin Wright (Arizona)

Safety: Noa Pola-Gates (Arizona)

Athletes: Wandale Robinson (RB/WR; Kentucky), Ethan Piper (DL/OL; Nebraska)

Balance Breakdown: Offense (13), Defense (12), Ethan Piper

Scott Frost spoke with both 247 Sports and the local press about this class, winter conditioning, and this upcoming season.

Strategy for the second signing day:

Frost said that most players signed in December, a change from the 2018 recruiting class. This meant fewer players were available in January, and with twenty-five players signed, Nebraska felt comfortable not taking risks on reaches or players who may not fit their long-term plans for the roster. He also noted that the best available had more competition in January than before that as schools worked to address remaining needs.

Frost indicated that this is likely how Nebraska will recruit going forward, focusing on signing the majority of the class in December and filling in come January and through the Transfer Portal. With being new coaches, Frost admitted that they were about two cycles behind for recruiting to Nebraska, and likely won’t be completely caught up until May.

Recruitment Strategy:

Frost touched on this staff’s focus on evaluating character as well as ability. By the staff bringing their honesty and authenticity to recruiting, they can find the same in their players. He also emphasized recruiting champions and conditioned winners (state champions, etc.) as helping re-establish a culture of winning at Nebraska. He doesn’t expect a shortage of leaders either.

As far as the players’ athletic ability goes, Frost pointed out his preference for players who also participate in basketball and track. He thinks a player showing out in multiple sports at multiple positions highlights their competitiveness. Participating in track helps develop speed, which is obviously a critical part of Frost’s offense.

Roster Numbers:

Frost emphasized that addressing depth will take time and that the roster is a work in progress. He seemed to imply that there is a focus on taking the best available as much as possible, and filling in the gaps as possible. Frost declined to comment on specifics as far as numbers go, but was confident they’re making progress on addressing depth issues (he specifically pointed out the wide receivers as a depleted unit).

He’s excited to grow the roster to almost 150 players, especially through walk-ons. Nebraska is approaching 160 on the roster, so expect some attrition this spring. Frost emphasized that they won’t take a player just to take a player and that the roster will be competitive. (Think steel sharpens steel.) Frost looks for players with good frames to build on and great character.

With the roster increase, it’ll get more and more difficult for walkons to make the roster as Nebraska becomes more selective, but Frost knows they’ll find worthy additions in Nebraska and across the Midwest (and probably other states).

When talking to 247 Sports, Frost emphasized that Nebraska has the resources to win the Big Ten, and with time, they’ll carry the players they need as well.

Offense Replacements:

Losing Stanley Morgan will be difficult to replace, but Frost and his staff expect players to make a jump in their second year in the program - specifically mentioned McQuitty, Woodyard, and Hunt, among a couple of others. Frost wants to be able to field three to four WRs on the field at a time this fall.

While the young running backs like Washington bring a lot of talent to the RB room, the staff hopes Dedrick Mills can make it to Nebraska and bring experience to a room that will be very raw in the wake of Ozigbo’s graduation.

The competition at center is on-going. Will Farniok, Hunter Miller, Cam Juergens, and others will all be given a shot.

Adrian Martinez:

When asked how Adrian Martinez’ success in 2018 effects recruiting, Frost mentioned how Marcus Mariotta complicated finding Oregon’s next QB because players could see what Oregon had, which is obviously high praise for Martinez. That being said, Frost was visibly excited about McCaffrey, and toed the line about Logan Smothers (2020 QB). Beyond their athletic ability, Frost is really excited about their clear competitiveness that they’re willing to come to Nebraska despite the risk of not even having a shot at the starting job until 2021.

Transfer Portal:

Coach Frost feels that in coming seasons, the transfer portal won’t be as big of a news item as it is presently. He mentioned that coaches will have to put more focus on building and maintaining relationships with their players. He indicated that one Nebraska player entered into the transfer portal but ended up returning to the roster. (While no names were given, Erin Sorensen of Hail Varsity and others have suggested that Andrew Bunch is that player.)

With that being said, Frost said it’ll be important to keep a slot or two open for the right player.

The Queso Bowl:

Frost never wants to spend Christmas with his family again. He said he’s never been so anxious to get going on the next season. He feels emboldened that some of the teams Nebraska lost narrowly to, or won games against, had good showings in bowl season. He takes it as a sign that maybe Nebraska isn’t as far away as the season made it look.

Winter Conditioning:

Frost highlighted the night-to-day difference between last winter and this winter. He doesn’t get down there often (due to recruiting responsibilities) but he can look down at the weight room from his office and he likes what he sees. While last season they had to start from square one, with some players being unable to succeed even at that stage, this off-season they’re able to push themselves further and make gains. Maurice Washington and others are working on bulking up. (He joked with a media member about Washington still being smaller than them, though probably stronger.) Frost mentioned Washington getting to 200-210 pounds to survive the grind.

Coach Fischer:

Frost lauded Coach Fischer’s ability to turn around his room and to stack it with talent. He said he expects the older players to step up and show some leadership. They struggled with the transition to Chinander’s defense, but they’ve shown great work in the weight room this off-season.

Injury Updates:

C.J. Smith is the only lingering injury that Frost mentioned, with most other players being on their way back and active in winter conditioning. (JD Spielman included!) Frost cracked a joke calling them the “black sweatshirt posse” and he thinks they’re going to be a great boost to the roster. He said it was essentially like picking up four or five new recruits with the talent coming back.

Redshirts:

Frost noted that redshirting can be difficult, especially with freshmen, as they’re used to being a big man on campus and playing football weekly, and now they’re sitting and watching. He’s excited to get those players involved this fall.

Zac Taylor:

Frost is familiar with Zac Taylor and mentions that they talked when Zac was playing at Nebraska. Zac married the daughter of Mike Sherman, who was Green Bay’s head coach while Frost was a player there. Frost says he’s a football guy, so he could probably play for Chinander.

Parting Thoughts:

Frost says the biggest and best difference between seasons is that last season, when he’d enter a meeting room or the weight room, players were sullen and quiet (“could hear pins drop”). He said players are now joking and actively conversing when around each other, and he says that’s the kind of program you want to be around.

Player Notes:

Darrion Daniels: As a former captain at Oklahoma State, he is bringing good leadership abilities to Nebraska and Frost believes he must be a good teammate. He will bring depth. He is excited to spend his final season playing along side his brother Damien.

Dedrick Mills: The staff is really excited to work with him once he makes it to Lincoln.

Demariyon Houston: He can run, and plays both sides of ball (special teams). He’s a great developmental prospect to help address numbers at wide receivers.

Luke McCaffrey: Frost specifically mentioned his work to learn the off-season. (“No one has worked harder to learn an offense.” Pointed out that he’s the ringleader of the early enrollees.

Noa Pola-Gates: Frost thinks he’s a dynamic player who felt at home with Nebraska. His hit on Wandale Robinson in the Army All-American game illustrates the type of players both are, and in Frost’s view, they are representative of the types of players Nebraska wants to recruit going forward. (Notably, speed and toughness.)

Wandale Robinson: Frost highlighted his talents and mentioned he’d be playing multiple positions at Nebraska this fall.

Nick Henrich: A very cerebral but tough player who will lead this defense in the future.

Garrett Snodgrass: Frost called Garrett a wildman and he just loves working with him and his infectious energy. (Says Jamie Nance and Chris Hickman are very similar.)

And with that, the comments are open to discuss your Nebraska Cornhuskers, who finished #20 nationally (#4 in the Big Ten, #1 in the Big Ten West) in the 247 Composite today.

A huge shout out to Hail Varsity for hosting video of the press conference as the AD has not yet posted a replay:

It’s been a drama-free signing day for Nebraska. So, what does Scott Frost think of the 2019 recruiting class?

Posted by Hail Varsity on Wednesday, February 6, 2019