5 Thoughts on Nebraska's 2019 Recruiting Class
Photo Credit: Greg Smith

5 Thoughts on Nebraska’s 2019 Recruiting Class

February 07, 2019

On Wednesday, barring any late surprises, the 2019 recruiting class was put to bed. The Huskers signed 26 players in the class. Seven of them are already on campus as early enrollees. The team also added graduate transfer defensive tackle Darrion Daniels, who is also already on campus. 

All in all, it was a very good class for Nebraska, especially when you consider a couple of key factors. First, the staff started behind on the class due to when they were hired. They had to put a lot of time and effort toward the 2018 class right away. Secondly, they were recruiting the 2019 class while going 4-8. 

Here are my five thoughts on the class. 

Top targets identified and secured

One thing the staff did a tremendous job of this cycle was landing top targets on their board. Linebacker Nick Henrich, offensive weapon Wandale Robinson, offensive tackle Bryce Benhart, defensive lineman Ty Robinson and defensive back Noa Pola-Gates were all top players on the board at their respective positions this cycle. The staff is building a nice reputation of being able to land their top guys, which bodes well for 2020. If the evaluations are correct on these players, landing them will pay off big-time down the road. 

Versatile athletes wanted

Looking at the commit list, there are quite a few players that have position flexibility as they enter college football. Darien Chase, Robinson, Myles Farmer and Garrett Snodgrass could all be considered “athletes.” Brant Banks will play defensive end after being recruited mostly as an offensive tackle. Ethan Piper could play on either line of scrimmage. Every defensive back that signed could play safety, corner or even slide down to outside linebacker eventually. In the era of “positionless football,” the Huskers have put themselves in good position. 

Famous QB commit isn’t talked about

I didn’t think I’d ever be able to make the case that we don’t talk enough about a quarterback commit. I especially wouldn’t think that a quarterback commit with a very famous football family would be flying under the radar. On Wednesday, Frost was asked about the difficulty recruiting the position with Adrian Martinez on campus. He also used that opportunity to praise early enrollee Luke McCaffrey.

“Luke [McCaffrey] was one of our top guys on our board from the beginning,” Frost said. “He’s a type of kid who’s not afraid of competition. I can’t believe how quickly he’s come in here and learned stuff, how hard he’s been working and how excited he is. So, I think we got a really good one in this class.” 

The early reports on the QB from behind the scenes are just as glowing as Frost was on Wednesday. The lack of excitement around the arrival of McCaffrey is interesting, even if it is partly explained by having a budding star at the position currently. 

Big work in-state

This year was a unique year in the state of Nebraska with five Power Five scholarship players in the state. All five signed with the Huskers and people outside of the state will take that for granted. However, before Frost arrived, it was a certainty that Henrich and tight end Chris Hickman would be playing elsewhere. Piper was offered by Iowa first and is on record saying he would be in Iowa City if not for Frost. Garrett Nelson and Garrett Snodgrass committed in 2017 so there wasn’t much worry there. Don’t overlook the work done by Barrett Ruud and what that could mean for future recruiting in-state.

New favorite states

When this staff was hired, I and many others in Nebraska’s media assumed Florida would be a major focus right away. For the 2019 class at least, there were no commits from Florida. What we instead saw were three top players from the state of Arizona, two from Colorado and three from Georgia. Based on the class of 2020, offers that have gone out in Arizona, Colorado and Georgia could mean Nebraska makes a big push in those states well into the future. 

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