Nebraska saw its 2022 recruiting class get smaller by one player on Monday night. Florida defensive lineman Hayden Schwartz decided to reopen his recruitment after being committed to the program since July. The Florida native (6-4, 245) took an official visit to Nebraska in June. He followed that up by visiting Lincoln for an unofficial visit for the Michigan game.
His departure from the class leaves the Huskers with eight players. The Huskers don’t have a defensive lineman in the class. Nebraska has suffered two decommitments in this 2022 so far. Schwartz joins Illinois offensive lineman Valen Erickson who flipped to Missouri.
Here are my three takes following this news.
What is the plan?
We are in a weird spot when it comes to Nebraska’s 2022 recruiting class. Yes, the class is going to be small. The COVID eligibility freeze and prior roster management have ensured that. We’ve known that for months now. In many ways, it feels like the small class is being used as a way to ignore the cycle altogether. Nebraska has hosted two official visitors to this point this season. One was already a commit (Victor Jones Jr.) and the other a flip target (Ka’eo Akana). There have not been any scholarship 2022 unofficial visitors yet either.
Are the Huskers scouring the country for uncommitted players that could be difference-makers in this class? The Huskers have not been out on the road yet this season either. That will likely change during the bye week but coaches are allowed to go out to high school games on non-bye weeks. The urgency around this class looks bad but maybe there is a bigger plan at work.
Addressing defensive line
The way to keep depth in the program at a position is to continuously recruit and develop it. The Huskers have done a good job with the defensive line since Tony Tuioti took over the position. Now without a commit at the position, this cycle what is the next move?
This one isn’t as simple as just filling Schwartz’ spot with another high school player. Now that we live in the era of the transfer portal would it make sense to find a transfer defensive lineman? There are plenty of veteran defensive linemen on the roster with eligibility left. Keeping the classes balanced is a consideration too.
Sign of things to come
The Huskers are 3-5 right now and none of the remaining games can be taken for granted. Is the Schwartz decommitment a unique situation or a sign of things to come for the class? When the losses pile up it becomes more difficult to keep a class together. That is especially true for players that are from out of state.
The Huskers do have five remaining out of state commitments right now. Both Victor Jones Jr. and Ashton Hayes are having strong senior seasons. Each will have schools pursuing them until they sign with Nebraska. Finishing the season with a bang would be helpful to prevent any further slippage in the class.
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.