The Huskers are deep into the November grind in Big Ten play. There are just three regular season games left. The Huskers need two to earn a bowl bid. The team has a lot to play for but there is a lot happening with recruiting as well. This weekend Nebraska will host a large group of official visitors, current commits and 2021 targets.
This weekend will also rival what the Huskers put together for the Ohio State game. It’s going to be very important to the future of this recruiting class.
Let’s get to the Recon.
Zavier Betts, wide receiver, Omaha, Nebraska
Marquis Black, defensive lineman, McDonough, Georgia
Alex Conn, offensive lineman, Derby, Kansas
Turner Corcoran, offensive lineman, Lawrence, Kansas
Ronald Delancy III, defensive back, Miami, Florida
Henry Gray, defensive back, Hollywood, Florida
Blaise Gunnerson, outside linebacker, Carroll, Iowa
Nash Hutmacher, defensive tackle, Chamberlain, South Dakota
Tamon Lynum, cornerback, Orlando, Florida
Sevion Morrison, running back, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Will Nixon, wide receiver, Waco, Texas
Marvin Scott III, running back, Port Orange, Florida
Logan Smothers, quarterback, Athens, Alabama
>> The need for bigger receivers has been a hotly debated issue for almost two years now. After offensive coordinator Troy Walters addressed the media on Wednesday, I was able to catch up with him to get his thoughts on how wide receiver recruiting has evolved for the staff since coming to Nebraska.
“It’s not an adjustment,” Walters told Hail Varsity. “We just have to go out and recruit guys that have some length. In this conference corners will get up and press you. Usually the corners in this league are pretty good size. They will play some cover two and jam you. We have to get bigger guys that can run as well. You don’t want them to be big and can’t run. We have to get some size and guys that can run.
“You don’t need every receiver that is a big guy but you need a couple. You need guys that can run on the inside. You have to keep recruiting and developing guys. Find guys that love football and are tough. In this league, it’s going to get cold and you’ll play against tough defenses. You have to have that mindset.”
>> A couple weeks back, Iowa State commit and Blinn College wide receiver Xavier Hutchinson received an offer from Nebraska. The big-bodied wideout (6-3, 190) told me when he got the offer that he was strongly considering visiting Lincoln. Hail Varsity has learned that Hutchinson will be taking an official visit to Lincoln this weekend for the matchup with Wisconsin. This is not a one-or-the-other situation with Hutchinson and No. 1 target Omar Manning.
The Huskers would take both and frankly that should be the plan if possible, in addition to one more bigger pass catcher.
>> Earlier in the week, I wrote about how we shouldn’t forget the class of 2019 when looking for inside linebacker help next season. There is also a transfer not to lose sight of. Zach Schlager, the transfer from Colorado State, is on track to help this football team next season. Inside linebackers coach Barrett Ruud said this week that he’s been a good addition.
“He has been good,” Ruud explained. “He’s been what we thought he’d be. He’s a worker. Western Nebraska kid that goes to work every day so he’s been great.”
At the very least I expect to see Schlager participating heavily in special teams based on what I hear about his work behind the scenes.
>> Offensive line coach Greg Austin said something this week that caught my attention when talking about the guys Nebraska is recruiting or have committed.
“We’re excited about all the guys we are recruiting,” he said. “We don’t have them slotted in at guard or tackle. We will fit them in the program and figure out where the program is in terms of bodies we have currently. Then the new bodies that are coming in where we can allow those guys to grow in the system at the fastest rate.”
I’ve hinted at this before but I take this to mean that if 4-star offensive tackle commit Turner Corcoran can best help the team at guard when he arrives in January then he will play guard. The same goes for Alex Conn. As the Huskers grow their offensive line depth, they want guys who can play multiple spots. That will allow them to truly get the “best five” out there.
I have actually talked to Corcoran about playing guard and he doesn’t care either way. He just wants to help the team win. The Kansas native will be back in Lincoln for the game this weekend.
>> Of the seven official visitors expected for this weekend’s game, four hail from the state of Florida. Travis Fisher wasn’t joking when he tweeted out that he was bringing some Florida kids up to Lincoln soon. Four of the Huskers’ 13 commits are already from the Sunshine State. The Huskers are putting themselves in position to continue loading up. Here are the Florida prospects scheduled to visit:
- 3-star CB Kendall Dennis
- 4-star safety Jaiden Francois
- 4-star WR Marcus Fleming (Miami commit)
- 4-star WR Bryan Robinson
Offensive lineman Zane Herring was supposed to make the trip but the 11 a.m. kickoff made it too difficult. Just the Florida kids alone would make for an impressive visit list. When you add Xavier Hutchinson, JUCO linebacker Jamoi Hodge and 4-star cornerback Darion Green-Warren, this will be a monster recruiting weekend in Lincoln. It will rival any group being put together around the country.
>> There is another JUCO kicker/punter visiting this weekend. Taiten Winkel is a December graduate that attends Butler Community College. The Huskers kicking situation has left a lot to be desired this season. It looks like the team is aggressively exploring options. I was able to reach Winkel who told me what he’s looking forward to on the trip.
“I’m looking forward to the ecstatic environment and the family atmosphere the team has,” Winkel said. “I’m also excited to explore the facilities that they have to offer.”
It’s a safe bet to say that there will be some new competition next season in the specialist room.
>> Following the trend of how JUCO offers (and some high school offers) are going out, I’d be surprised if we didn’t see a big shakeup at wide receiver and outside linebacker next season. It’s easier to reshape a wide receiver room on the fly and I think that will be a goal finishing out the 2020 cycle.
>> During his appearance on Sports Nightly Thursday night Frost mentioned the team is looking at taking 26 prospects this season. That’s the number I’ve been hearing for a couple weeks now with the breakdown being about 23 signees and up to three spots from transfers. If the Huskers can hit that number with quality players, it would be great for the future of the program.
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.