We are getting deeper into Nebraska’s spring practice for Year 2 of the Scott Frost Era. Things have been relatively quiet with the team outside of a couple situations so it’s been business as usual with the players and coaches going to work. Things are starting to heat up on the recruiting trail though.
Let’s get to the Recon.
Logan Smothers, quarterback, Athens, Alabama
>> Earlier this week, RJ Mickens, a 4-star safety out of Southlake, Texas, included Nebraska in his top 11 schools. Mickens is one of the top safeties in the country for the class of 2020. He has over 30 scholarship offers right now and will be able to go anywhere in the country he wants. I exchanged a couple messages with him and he told me that it’s not clear if he can make it to Lincoln this spring but he definitely wants to come check Nebraska out.
>> Yesterday when I spoke with 3-star ATH Justin Baker, he mentioned that he wanted a couple of his 7 on 7 teammates to join him for a visit to Nebraska. He said that DJ Rogers and Ayden Hector were the two he was trying to get to Lincoln. Rogers is a 4-star tight end who stands at 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds with over 30 scholarship offers from around the country. Hector is a 4-star cornerback who stands at 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds who holds over 20 scholarship offers. Getting all three of those guys on campus would be huge for the Huskers.
>> Friday is a big day of hosting unofficial visitors for the Huskers. 4-star (HV Rating: 94.1) offensive tackle Turner Corcoran, 3-star (HV Rating: 84.3) defensive end Blaise Gunnerson and Omaha Burke wide receiver Xavier Watts will all in Lincoln.
Corcoran is making his seventh trip to Lincoln since Frost and his staff took over. The Lawrence, Kansas, native is very likely the top overall target on the board for the staff this cycle. He currently has a spring game visit scheduled Ohio State on April 13, which is the same day as Nebraska’s spring game. I still believe Nebraska is in a great position with Corcoran. There is one thing to keep in mind with Corocran as the Nebraska versus Oklahoma versus Ohio State battle takes shape. Distance could be a factor here. Corocroan is close with his family and they like to attend all of his games. That would be difficult to do if he goes to Columbus, Ohio.
Gunnerson, from Kuemper Catholic in Carroll, Iowa, picked up an offer from the Huskers when he visited for the Minnesota game last season. His lead recruiter is defensive coordinator Erik Chinander, and Chinander told him that weekend that the Huskers liked him more as an outside linebacker but it depends on how his body continues to develop. He has recently visited Notre Dame and Iowa State.
Watts, from Omaha Burke, will be making the trip to Lincoln with his dad. This week, he checked out both Iowa State and Minnesota. It’s good for Nebraska to get him back on campus right after those visits. He is quiet about his recruitment but the feeling is Iowa State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Notre Dame are the schools that have his attention the most. Watts does plan to be an early enrollee, so a decision before his senior season isn’t out of the question.
>> One of the random storylines that consistently got run from fans on social media was the job status of defensive backs coach Travis Fisher and if he was happy in Lincoln because he is not really on social media. He addressed that talk when we got a chance to sit down with coaches to kick off spring ball.
“I want to be where I’m at. I’m not going anywhere unless I decide to go somewhere, but everybody will know,” Fisher said. “When I’m in the offseason, I’ve got my kids and I want to be a dad. If I want to go fishing and I’ve got a day off, I’m going fishing. I’m not on Twitter. I’m not one of those guys. I’m a real guy. I’m not going to shoot a text when I’m throwing the line out. I want people to know that about me.”
>> So far, it sounds like early enrollee linebacker Nick Henrich is right on track to contribute this fall. I asked inside linebackers coach Barrett Ruud about his progress and he was encouraged.
“He’s doing great,” Ruud said. “The biggest thing is you have to learn techniques. It’s like learning a new language. It’s almost like learning how to walk again. We have a specific way we like to play with our feet, our reads, how we tackle. You know, he’s getting better every day.”
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.