Erik Olsen, a 2021 tight end from Colorado, is a popular recruit these days. He’s mostly been focused on working out and talking to prospective schools during the recruiting dead period. The 3-star (HV Rating: 87.5) Heritage High School star certainly notices an uptick in communication.
“The amount of calls has definitely picked up,” Olsen said. “I'm not sure if that's normal or just because of this time in the recruiting process. Definitely the amount of calls is picked up because I can't go out to schools and go on visits. They at least want to be able to give me some stuff and virtual tours and meeting with some of the people I would if I were to go on a visit. So I've had to do a lot of those recently which has been informative. It's just been a lot of time spent on the phone.”
All the attention did help the versatile tight end narrow his list of schools down. He recently cut his list to 10 schools that he will focus on from going forward.
Top 10: @Utah_Football @UW_Football @CycloneFB @StanfordFball @UCLAFootball @CalFootball @HuskerFBNation @KStateFB @ASUFootball @CUBuffsFootball pic.twitter.com/tTfFcDFMzz
— Erik Olsen (@e_olsen12) April 19, 2020
The biggest criteria for Olsen in cutting his list down was whether or not he could see himself going to that school. If he felt schools were too far from home or if they were smaller schools, he cut them. Olsen has been doing lots of virtual visits with Nebraska and has stayed in constant communication with the Husker coaches. That includes Coach Scott Frost, tight ends coach Sean Beckton and director of player personnel Sean Dillon.
“I was on the phone yesterday with Coach Beckton, the director of player personnel and Coach Frost,” Olsen said. “Also, I got on the phone yesterday to go through some academic stuff and some of the stuff that they provide. It was nice for sure getting to learn about some of the stuff that they work for while you're at school for after football, so it was definitely cool to learn about.”
Olsen’s relationship is growing with Nebraska’s coaches since he talks with them so often. He talks to Frost quite a bit, which has surprised Olsen given how busy he assumes Frost’s schedule must be. He really likes the staff but their pitch for using tight ends has been connecting too. Nebraska has been consistently telling tight end targets that they want to use the position more and are searching for players with versatility to fill the role. That versatility is also what separates Olsen as a prospect.
One cool wrinkle in his recruitment is that he is quite familiar with Nebraska. In fact, there is a strong family history with the school.
“My mom went to Nebraska and both my aunts went there,” Olsen said. “Three of my cousins went there. One of them is going on right now and two of them have gone through it. I have a lot of family lives in Omaha and some family lives out west in Nebraska. I'm always out there going out to Omaha and going to games in Lincoln.”
Olsen visited Nebraska last season for the game against Northwestern. The game day atmosphere and pre-game festivities made an impact on him during his unofficial visit to the school.
“That was insane,” Olsen said. “We were on the field at kickoff. We were down on the sidelines. Just the roar of the crowd, that was insane for sure. I've never seen so much red in my life. It was really cool I'm not going to lie.”
The original plan was for Olsen to take visits to several of the schools he is still looking into. He would then commit prior to his senior season. But with the visit restrictions in response to COVID-19, things are subject to change. He’d like to visit the schools in his top 10 but knows that he might have to decide before seeing the schools in person. Still, he has a good idea of what he is looking for in a future school.
“Education and if they provide really well for my major which is going to be engineering,” Olsen said. “That's probably the most important thing. Then the second most important would be the environment of the school. The fan base and my relationship with the coaches, the staff and the players. Just what the mentality is of the school and how they go about their day to day life. Lastly would probably be my playing time and whether or not they're going to be able to develop me for the NFL.”
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.