From Irvington, New Jersey to Mililani, Hawai'i, from Elkhorn, Nebraska to Naples, Florida, the Nebraska Cornhuskers have signed 20 scholarship football players to its 2021 recruiting class. 20 football players, 20 souls, 20 stories. I will now attempt to put a grade on each position group of players we signed.
Coach Frost & Verduzco had their eyes set nationally on the QB for this class. It seemed like their #1 target at QB early on was Peter Costelli, 4 star dual-threat QB from Southern California. While they were recruiting Peter, an in-state legacy QB by the name of Heinrich Haarberg was blowing up in the recruiting ranks. A 6'5 uber-athlete with a cannon for an arm, he was garnering interest from multiple Power 5 schools. The first P5 school to offer was Boston College.
Out of nowhere, Peter Costelli decided to commit to Utah in April. After that, they decided to hone in on Haarberg. He received the offer on May 4th & committed to the Big Red days later. He will need some time to fix his throwing technique but I foresee him being a great QB1 for the Huskers one day. I like this signing.
The Huskers had a myriad of options at halfback for the 2021 class. At first, I really liked Lawrence, Kansas RB Devin Neal. He reminded me a lot of Iowa State RB Breece Hall, who Nebraska had a chance to sign in 2019 but foolishly passed on.
Coach Held eventually set his sights on Gabe Ervin, an athletic option from the Georgia football powerhouse Buford High. Gabe also considered Duke, Michigan State & Arizona State but decided Nebraska was where he needed to be.
Gabe athletically is darn near identical to former Husker RB Tre Bryant, a 2016 signee whose career was cut short by knee injuries. Tre showed flashes of excellence before the knee injury in a nonconference game at Oregon in 2017, I think Gabe has the potential to look as good. I like this signing.
Wide Receiver: B
The Huskers signed three receivers in the 2021 class, and I'm a fan of all three. The first to commit was Georgia wideout Shawn Hardy II, who chose Nebraska over Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Purdue & others. He is a big body deep threat that mosses people in his sleep. At 6'3 190 with a reported 4.4 40, he checks all the boxes we were looking for.
Next to commit was Houston-area wideout Latrell Neville. At 6'3 195, Latrell is another big body receiver with basket hands that will be a dependable possession receiver for years to come. He was originally committed to Virginia Tech but flipped to Nebraska after a great recruiting effort from coaches Lubick & Frost.
The final WR to commit for the class of 2021 was Naples, Florida native Kamonte Grimes. Grimes was just as good a safety as receiver, and Michigan recruited him heavily at that position. His relationship with Coach Frost won out in the end, and he committed to the Good Guys on August 16th, 2020. On film, Kamonte is a gadget player that plays at QB, RB, and WR for Palmetto Ridge High. I can see him scoring touchdowns in exotic ways for the Huskers.
Overall, I really like this receiver haul for the Husker offense. Let's see how they develop.
Tight end: A++
The haul at this position literally couldn't be any better. We signed the number 1 tight end in the nation & Zach Ertz 2.0 in Thomas Fidone. He is going to be a beast for us in the not-too-distant future. You all know how amazing he is so I won't spend much more time on him.
Next, we signed Omaha TE AJ Rollins. On film, he is a great in-line tight end, showing a willingness to block & making catches. There is also a chance he ends up on defense as a DE/OLB pass rusher.
Finally, we got the commitment of Norris High tight end James Carnie. James is an uber-athletic option that possesses damn near the same athletic profile as Thomas Fidone. He uses his big frame & great speed to bring in catches & put pressure on opposing defenses. He will be a great tight end in the future for us.
Offensive Line: B
We did great at this position, once again. Elkhorn South OT Teddy Prochazka, one of the best tackles in the country, was an amazing in-state coup & will be the cornerstone of the Pipeline™️ in the future.
Next, we have Iowa lineman Henry Lutovsky. Henry committed to the Big Red pretty early in the process & stayed solid throughout his recruitment. I bet if the Hawkeyes could go back, they would have evaluated Henry much differently. He is a MAULER with a hulking, 6-foot-6 310 pound frame & extremely nimble feet. He is going to be extremely good for us in the future.
Finally, we have Utah offensive tackle Branson Yager. Branson hails from Grantsville, Utah & checks in at a massive 6'7 & 332 pounds. At first, I wasn't really impressed by this signing but I eventually came around. Once he fixes his technique & receives the tutelage of Coach Austin, I believe he will be a good lineman for us.
Defensive line: B+
I like the guys we brought in here. Jailen Weaver, defensive lineman out of Antioch, California, is a RIDICULOUS ATHLETE. On his film he explodes off the line & gets in the backfield in a hurry. Once he gets in the weight room with Coach Duval & learns the tools of the trade from Coach Tuioti, he will be VERY GOOD for us.
Next, we have Michigan DL Ru'Quan Buckley. Buckley played his prep ball at Godwin Heights High in Wyoming, Michigan, a suburb of Grand Rapids. He wins with brute strength at the line of scrimmage, pushing around offensive linemen and delivering devastating blows to ball carriers. He will need to hibernate in the weight room for a bit, but once he is ready he will be VERY good for us.
We signed a glut of talent at linebacker in this class. The first to commit was South Dakota LB Randolph Kpai. At 6'3 185 lbs. Randolph will need time to get bigger before he sees playing time. But once he does, he has all the potential in the world to be extremely special for us.
Next to commit was Iowa 'backer Seth Malcom. The staff prioritized Seth extremely early & beat out Iowa State, Kansas State & Minnesota for his services. At 6'3 195, he will need some time to get bigger but will be a good player for us in the future. On defense, he reminds me a lot of Luke Reimer, who came to Nebraska as a walk-on and had a meteoric rise up the depth chart due to his athleticism & playmaking ability.
The third LB commit was Mikai Gbayor, a 6'2 220 pound linebacker out of Irvington, New Jersey. He absolutely filled up the stat sheet while roaming the field for Irvington High & has the frame to play early here. He was voted the New Jersey Player of the Year & I can easily hear Gus Johnson, Tim Brando, Kevin Kugler and Brian Custer excitedly saying his name after making big plays on Saturday afternoons.
Our final linebacker we brought in was arguably he biggest. Wynden Ho'ohuli was the #1 player in Hawaii & we worked tirelessly for over a year to get his signing. The staff is extremely excited about signing Wynden and feel he may be one of the best players they signed here. Once he gets in the weight room, I can see him being an even more athletic version of Collin Miller & being the QB of the defense. I love this signing.
This was a solid group Travis Fisher put together. Marques Buford, the first commit, is a certified playmaker that puts receivers on an island & keeps them there. He reminds me a lot of Dicaprio Bootle but with better hands. I like his potential.
Next we have Malik Williams, teammate of RB signee Gabe Ervin. He is extremely sticky in coverage and displays great technique.
Finally, we have Omaha Westside safety Koby Bretz. Koby is an extremely talented player that will help bolster our deep safety position even more. He may potentially even grow into a linebacker. I am excited to see how he develops in Lincoln.
I really like this class. We did solid at most positions but did extremely well at linebacker & tight end. I am extremely excited to see how this class looks in hindsight in 3-4 years.
These are your new Nebraska Cornhuskers! Go Big Red!!!!!!!