On Friday, 3-star linebacker (HV Rating: 88.0) inside linebacker Rodney Groce committed to Nebraska. The Alabama native became the 12th known member of the Huskers’ 2020 recruiting class. He chose Nebraska over Mississippi State and Georgia Tech among others. Groce also became the first inside linebacker to join the class.
Here are five quick thoughts on the commitment.
Playing Style Fit
Groce is a very good fit for Nebraska’s defense in the Big Ten. He is relatively new to playing inside linebacker. He was primarily an outside linebacker before this year but he gained a lot of size. He’s a good tackler and plays well with his hands which allows him to shed blocks. I like his potential as a run stuffing inside linebacker for Barrett Ruud.
Linebackers Still Needed
Adding an inside linebacker in Groce to outside linebacker Blaise Gunnerson is a good start for Nebraska’s linebacker group this cycle. There are still key targets that Nebraska is in the mix for. Outside linebacker Kaden Johnson, inside linebacker McCullough, linebacker Choe Bryant-Strother and outside linebacker Jared Ivey would be major coup as the group for 2020. Of course, Jackson Bratton is a “take” no matter what.
More Work Down South
There is starting to be a nice Southern flavor in the 2020 recruiting class for the Huskers. Six players of the 12 in the class are from the South:
- Henry Gray (Florida)
- Will Nixon (Texas)
- Logan Smothers (Alabama)
- Tamon Lynum (Florida)
- Marvin Scott III (Florida)
- Rodney Groce (Alabama)
There has been a concerted effort to recruit the South by Coach Scott Frost and his staff. Things are going well for the 2020 cycle and they are in the hunt for even more targets.
Assist from Sean Beckton
Sean Beckton continues to do quiet work behind the scenes. There are very few targets in the South that he isn’t very involved with. His connections in that region, plus his ability to connect with recruits and their families, is a winning formula for the Huskers. Don’t overlook his influence on Nebraska’s recruiting efforts.
Persistence Pays Off
Something interesting happened with Groce’s recruitment that I didn’t even notice until multiple fans pointed it out. The Huskers did not make his top eight. This isn’t the first time something like that has happened though. Nebraska didn’t make Caleb Tannor’s top five during his recruitment, yet he committed and loves it at Nebraska. It goes to show the persistence of this staff on the recruiting trail.
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.