Nebraska was caught up in more than one whirlwind today as hurricane force winds blew across parts of the state, setting off severe weather warnings and glimpses of tornadoes very late in the year, a week away from holiday festivities.
The LOI’s flew in too. From all parts of the country. The early signing period for the Nebraska Cornhuskers secured 17 signatures as the day drew to a close and the storms blew on. A very diverse group with potential future playmakers on both sides of the ball.
For argument sake, let’s split it to 9 defensive signees, 6 offensive, and 2 special teams players. Some longtime commits, some recent ones, and some last minute surprises made the 2021 Nebraska Cornhusker Early Signing Period a memorable one.
Let’s meet the recruits:
It starts with the signal caller. We know Coach Frost as well as new OC/QB coach Mark Whipple are currently in the market for one or two potential transfer portal quarterbacks. That didn’t dampen the recruitment or the eventual signing of Richard Torres out of Southside High School in San Antonio, Texas. Say what you want about the state of Texas, but they produce damn good football players. Torres is no exception. With offers ranging from Kansas State and Tulsa, the 6’5” 210 lb. Torres will look to get his feet wet early by enrolling in December. According to Coach Frost he will be a full participant in Spring Ball after a injury cut short his senior season.
Chase Androff is a name that’s been linked to this recruiting class for quite some time. Coach Frost mentioned in his press conference that the TE room is already deep with talent. So if the Huskers stuck with him this long, and honored his commitment leading back to June, Coach Beckton must believe he will be an asset to the room going forward. At 6’6” and weighing 230 lbs. already his size is impressive. Imagine what a couple years with Zach Duval and the training staff will do for the Lakeville, MN native.
The Cornhuskers once again pluck a versatile, explosive wide receiver out of the talent rich state of Florida in one Victor Jones Jr. Coach Beckton’s Florida ties, and the addition of WR coach Mickey Joseph, helped lock this recruitment into place. Tell kids that your position coach helped mold and develop two Pro Bowl caliber receivers. Where do I sign, Coach? Someone this staff has had eyes on since their UCF days, the Orlando native will look to flourish in the Huskers new offensive scheme. Look for him to be a factor in special teams as a returner as well.
Signing day wasn’t without it’s surprises.
To start off, Justin Evans-Jenkins leaned towards those 247 Crystal Ball predictions and picked the Huskers on Early Signing Day, over teams like Cincinnati and Alabama. Yes, you read that right, Ala-freaking-Bama. Cue Coach Dawson’s ties to the great state of New Jersey for securing this commitment. The Irvington High School offensive lineman is nasty on film, plays with an edge. Which I’m sure most of you in Husker Nation will agree, is something The Pipeline is in desperate need of after the announcement of Cam Jurgens pursuing NFL aspirations. The 6’2” 270 lb. Jenkins will cut his teeth with new OL coach, Donovan Raiola.
Then, after the announcement that Ashton Hayes was not planning to sign with the Huskers, instead signing his LOI to play for Cal, we wondered if Frost and our mystery RB coach(*cough* Ron Brown) had their eye on someone else to fill that spot. Emmett Johnson answered that question for us with his commitment late in the day. His recruitment was a whirlwind of several weeks. But, the #1 RB in Minnesota made it official and will be in Lincoln next year. He hits the hole hard and fast, definitely a North-South type of runner. With some attrition in the room, it was important to secure another important piece to the offensive puzzle.
Only one of note here, as the walk on class was going to be presumably small, given the roster size as it is. But nonetheless, Luke Lindenmeyer is one of those fortunate few who will be in this Husker recruiting class. He is listed as a TE at 6’4” 240 lbs. But the Papillion Native may be headed for duty on either the offensive or defensive line. I love walk-ons. I especially love when walk-ons earn scholarships and become contributors. Perhaps Lindenmeyer is a name we here making plays some Saturday in the future for the Scarlet and Cream.
We will start in the secondary, because lord knows we signed a million of them.
5. It’s actually 5, but I rest my case.
With the one of the more recent commitments before Early Signing Day we’ll start off with Jaeden Gould. Another New Jersey native, his recruitment was reopened after he decommitted from USC. Coach Dawson used his east coast ties, Coach Fisher used his ability to sell versatility in the secondary and BOOM, Gould signs his letter of intent just days after his commitment to the Huskers. A very highly graded 4 star on 247, the 6’2” 190 lb. Gould will look for time early in a very talented secondary room.
Reaching into the Chicagoland area once again the Huskers pull out Jalil Martin, a 6’3” 190 lb. Athlete who is projected to start off at Safety. But cross training will be a point of emphasis from Coach Fisher if you are looking at playing time. The product from Kenwood Academy had offers from Boston College, Illinois, and Colorado among others.
Coach Frost told a story today in the press conference about this next addition to the secondary. The message of the story was simple, “let your play speak for you”. So when Coach Chinander was scouring the South for talent and stumbled into a corner of Mississippi that treats football as a religion, a name kept coming up to him from area coaches that he spoke to. That name was Malcolm Hartzog Jr. Much like Cam Taylor-Britt before him, he did everything for his team. Offense. Defense. Special Teams. On special teams alone he accounted for 11 touchdowns. Lord, am I dreaming? Please tell me this is real. If anything he will provide immediate support on special teams as a dynamic return specialist. In State schools, Ole Miss and Southern Miss, pushed hard late but Hartzog Jr. ultimately chose the Big Red.
What would a recruiting class be without a JUCO signee? Deshon Singleton was happy to oblige us. Originally from the hot bed state of Louisiana, he played for Hutchinson CC. At 6’3” 200 lbs. he could factor in at corner or safety, perhaps a move to nickel, based on his nose for the ball and raw athleticism. Kansas and Kansas State pursued him, but honored his commitment on Early Signing Day.
The linebacking corp is joined by a trio of in state talent. We will start with Gage Stenger. There were few players who were as productive on both sides of the ball as Stenger was in the state of Nebraska this season. This is why he was able to convince Coach Frost to give him a shot in the QB room as well as with the LB’s once he enrolls on campus. Kansas State was very aggressive, but the 6’2” standout out of Millard South said he dreamed of being a Husker.
Guys like Garrett Nelson have me excited about the future on the outside of our defense going forward. Speed. Athleticism, A nose for the ball. All attributes to describe one Jake Appleget. Appleget was a key target early on and committed early to the Huskers. Holding an offer from Minnesota, I’m sure it was discussed not to let this kid get away. A Lincoln Southeast standout, which has produced many key contributors for the Huskers over the past several years, Appleget will look to learn under guys like Nelson and Caleb Tannor to ultimately take the reins once he is ready.
If your recruiting on raw talent, look no further than Columbus Mariners standout Ernest Hausmann. Holding multiple Power 5 offers, Hausmann has only been playing football for a very short time compared to others at his position. But what had Coach Barrett Ruud and Coach Chinander send the house to secure this commit was the potential they saw on tape. At 6’3” 205 lbs. he has plenty of room to bulk up and hold onto that athleticism. I’m very interested in his career, as he is less than an hour away from where I live.
The lone Defensive Line commit in Early Signing period came from Brodie Tagaloa out of De La Salle in California. A TE with multiple Pac 12 offers, I foresee Tagaloa building on the relationship he has already established with Coach Tony Tuioti and join his room. The 6’4” 260 lb. can bulk up as a nose or play the end. I feel his explosiveness will benefit any part of the line.
A lone defensive walk-on comes in the former of Norris standout Cooper Hausmann. A dual threat QB and key secondary piece, as well as an exceptional basketball player, Hausmann is listed as a safety. Hard work and dedication might pay off for the 6’ 190 lb. Firth native and be rewarded with a special teams role or more.
Both Special Teams signees were preferred walk on offers. But look for a scholarship or two to be presented if either of them sees significant playing time.
Graduate transfer Brady Weas, formerly of Georgetown University was signed as a long snapper. We have returning experience at the long snapper position, but the Wisconsin native is looking to finish his collegiate career in the B1G conference. I think it’s safe to say that until it’s fixed, everyone’s job is up for grabs for all special teams units.
A Five Star rated kicker with multiple high marks and grades from Kohl’s Kicking Camps will be fighting for the starting spot come this fall. Charlie Weinrich was a standout kicker for Blue Valley High School in Kansas. A powerful leg and a chance to come in as a freshman and win a starting job. Sounds like a great opportunity for a young man with a unit in need of quick and fast answers.
***FINAL EARLY COMMIT OF SIGNING DAY***
If your math is better than mine, you know I am commenting on someone past the number of the 17 players which I already mentioned. I reserve this spot only for Decoldest Crawford. That has to be the most amazing name in the history of names. My wife is due sometime in the next several weeks. Maybe I should change the name from Finnegan to Decoldest. Decoldest Wieseler. I like it.
All jokes aside after Crawford, the standout wide receiver from Shreveport, Louisiana and program Green Oaks, decommitted from LSU after Mickey Joseph’s departure I was not surprised when the Huskers offered. A high three star ranking on 247, Decoldest has more than just LSU hoping he will return to the fold, but many others Power 5 teams hoping they are still in the running. The 6’1’ 178 lb. talent is set to make a decision on Friday. Predictions look good for the Huskers and 18 commits sounds a lot sweeter than 17.