Spaces in Nebraska’s 2019 recruiting class are getting tight. On Friday afternoon, I joked on Twitter that I needed to write out the scenarios to be able to keep things straight.
— Greg Smith (@GregSmithHV) January 18, 2019
So, I put pen to paper to see just what was left for Nebraska in this class, how many spots were left and at what positions they play. After defensive back Noa Pola-Gates officially joined the class on Saturday night, Nebraska has 26 verbal commitments. Of those, 25 have signed. Graduate transfer defensive tackle Darrion Daniels is on campus and participating in winter conditioning so that’s actually 26 total signees.
If you’ve followed what I’ve said for weeks about offensive lineman Desmond Bland, I’m on record as saying I have a hard time ultimately seeing him in the class. For the sake of this exercise, Nebraska currently has 26 commits and signees, not counting Bland. That means the Huskers have four more spots left in the class if we continue to operate under the assumption that the team will take 30 total players in this class.
Who are the potential players left to take those precious spots, what positions do they play and who are the top priorities? That’s where the fun begins.
Ideally, it’s believed that Nebraska wants to add another pass rusher, defensive back, wide receiver and a wildcard. There are two players that certainly have the green light to commit at any point and Nebraska will gladly accept. Charles Njoku, the 3-star wide receiver from New Jersey, has replaced Pola-Gates as the Huskers’ most wanted target on the board. His measurables are off the charts and he would give the Nebraska wideout group something it doesn’t have at the moment, which is a big-bodied wide receiver to eventually replace Stanley Morgan Jr.
The second player that the staff would love to have commit is outside linebacker Steven Parker. The defender took an official visit to Nebraska the weekend of Jan. 18. While he played his cards close to the vest, the Huskers made a big impression on him. The hybrid outside linebacker already has experience playing in the 3-4 and would be a very welcome addition.
If Nebraska were to land both Njoku and Parker that leaves just two spots left in the class. The good and bad news is there are several players in play for those spots.
- DE/OLB Soni Fonua
- CB DJ James (James is now off the board since he committed to Oregon Jan. 21)
- CB Jamel Starks
- CB Tavian Mayo
- RB John Bivens
- WR Demariyon Houston
- OLB Michael Lockhart
- OLB Dylan Jordan
- DT Matthew Pola-Mao
I still believe Nebraska would love to land a corner out of that group to finish off a very good year of recruiting by defensive backs coach Travis Fisher. Starks and Mayo took official visits to Lincoln during the season and have kept communication open with Nebraska. James was in town last weekend for an official visit, though it will be tough to pry him away from his Mississippi State commitment.
Assuming the team lands another defensive back, that leaves one spot for six players. That’s the wildcard spot. I have a hard time seeing the staff turning away Pola-Gates’ cousin, Pola-Mao, who is scheduled to come on an official visit Jan. 25. However, Bivens and Houston both took official visits the weekend of Jan. 18. Bivens in particular is intriguing because sources indicate the staff views him as a potential steal in this class. He missed his entire senior season while rehabbing from a knee injury, so he has flown under the radar.
After all that, something could still happen to throw everything off because it’s recruiting and the unpredictable nature of it makes it fun. However, Nebraska is sitting in a nice position to add to an already impressive 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.