The January 2020 issue of Hail Varsity is off to press and on its way to mailboxes and newsstands this week, featuring a deep dive into Nebraska's 2020 recruiting class. The issue’s Letter from the Editor below offers a preview of what you’ll find in Volume 9 Issue 1. Make sure you don’t miss an issue by subscribing today.
There are always specific needs when it comes to recruiting. This year, Nebraska needed wide receivers and linebackers and signed five of each in December.
But there’s another need Scott Frost has been talking about since he arrived at Nebraska. If you hope to play for the Huskers, you need to have a passion for the sport.
At his early-signing day press conference, after Nebraska had inked 23 new players, Frost said the best thing about the group was that “they love football, they love the game. They’re excited. They want to be at Nebraska. I would walk out of almost every house and say we’ve got the chance to win a lot of games with kids like this coming to the program.”
It will take a few years before anyone can fully judge just how deep this class’s love of the game runs and if it produces the desired results, but there’s some decent evidence in this issue that it runs pretty deep.
Start with running back Sevion Morrison. A former Oklahoma Sooner—Spencer Tillman, hope that’s OK with everyone—gives us the excellent description of Morrison as a “bunch of knives bound together” and offers some insight into just what makes the Tulsa, Oklahoma, standout stand out among high school running backs. Derek Peterson went to Oklahoma to profile Morrison.
Then there’s offensive lineman Turner Corcoran, the player Frost called the “cornerstone” of the class. A decade ago, back when he was just a kid playing youth football, he cried at the prospect of turning in his football equipment at the end of his season. Greg Smith went to Kansas to profile Corcoran.
Defensive lineman Nash Hutmacher loves football enough to give up a college wrestling career. He is, without much debate, the best prep heavyweight in the country. Defensive back Isaac Gifford loves football enough to pay his own way at Nebraska until the fall so he could follow his dream of playing for the Huskers, as his brother, Luke, did. Erin Sorensen caught up with both of them for this issue.
Frost has been consistent with citing love for the game as a key trait his staff seeks on the recruiting trail. He has also been remarkably patient as his coaches compile those players, as evidenced by a redshirt rate greater than any of the coaches at new jobs who had to tackle the unique challenge of the first early-signing period in 2018. An analysis of those numbers is here, too.
If the Husker coaches have been successful in their quest for a passion for the craft, it should show up in a big way in 2020. The remaining players from Frost’s first class have been in the program for three years. Most of the second class, still intact as of this writing, gained game experience in 2019 without using a year of eligibility, a decision that should pay off in the near future. Nine of the 23 players signed in this class arrived on campus in January to take part in winter conditioning, the highest number of early enrollees at Nebraska yet.
The Huskers enter a new year and a new season full of players almost entirely hand-selected by Frost and his coaches. Now it’s time to see what sort of difference that makes.