We made it. Akron week is finally here. Well, at least it is for the team since Akron prep startedtoday. After a long offseason of excitement for Husker fans, it’s time to settle in for game week as we get close to kicking off the Frost Era.
Official visits are being lined up and there is plenty to get into, so let’s get to it.
Matthew Anderson, offensive lineman, Leesville, Lousiana
Desmond Bland, offensive lineman, Yuma, Arizona
Tony Fair, defensive tackle, Pima, Arizona
Jackson Hannah, linebacker, Nashville, Tennesee
Nick Henrich, linebacker, Omaha, Nebraska
Rahmir Johnson, running back, Oradell, New Jersey
Michael Lynn, offensive lineman, Greenwood Village, Colorado
Luke McCaffrey, quarterback, Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Jamie Nance, wide receiver, Blanchard, Oklahoma
Garrett Nelson, defensive end, Scottsbluff, Nebraska
Mosai Newsom, defensive end, Waverly, Iowa
Quinton Newsome, defensive back, Suwanee, Georgia
Ethan Piper, defensive tackle, Norfolk, Nebraska
Garrett Snodgrass, athlete, York, Nebraska
Ronald Thompkins, running back, Loganville, Georgia
>> Barring something completely out of left field, Brenden Jaimes will be Nebraska’s starting left tackle this season. On Wednesday, he was asked after practice about his weight and how much more he will be ready this year compared to last.
“Right now, I’m about 290 or 292. A year ago, I was 275," Jaimes said. "I’m expecting more out of myself this year. I’m not that small little freshman anymore. I’m past that. I have gained experience so there should be no excuses this year.”
Jaimes isn’t a player that gets a lot of column inches or talk radio segments devoted to him, but he is a critical piece of the program this season. The lineman really got after it in the weight room this summer to add muscle to his frame. He has a lot of upside and the coaching staff is very high on him. I’m expecting a big season from the big Texan.
>> One huge change within the landscape of college football this season is the new redshirt rule. Freshmen are now allowed to play in up to four games without burning their redshirt season. The strategy behind utilizing this rule is fascinating and something every staff in the country will have to navigate. This week, outside linebackers and special teams coach Jovan Dewitt was asked for his thoughts about the new rule.
“I think it’s one of the best rules to come down in a long time. It’s one of the best things they’ve done for college football," Dewitt said. "Normally that redshirt year is a lonely year. Now he gets a chance to really be in the game plan meeting, really understand how he effects the outcomes of games as opposed to just giving a look [in scout team] and not really learning. I think it’s really good for college football to give kids an opportunity to play early.
"I also think it’ll help with retention. Or, if you are late in the season and a kid is redshirting, you don’t have to blow his redshirt to get ready for a bowl game or championship game. We will have to manage it from a participation report, especially if we are going to involve guys in special teams to get them game reps that way.”
Dewitt is an extremely bright guy so it’s fun to hear his thoughts on such a big issue. Also, it may mean more for him since he also coaches special teams where a lot of young players could end up getting their feet wet.
>> As we approach the season opener against Akron, more and more official visits are being confirmed. As of right now, here are the ones that Hail Varsity can confirm:
3-star RB Wandale Robinson
4-star OL Danielson Ike
4-star OL Bryce Benhart (if he gets a waiver)
2020 4-star Turner Corcoran (unofficial visit)
The situation with Benhart is something to keep an eye on. Technically, a recruit can’t take an official visit before their high school season has started. Benhart’s team does not play its first game until the week after the Akron game. Nebraska is petitioning the NCAA to allow him to visit for game 1.
Benhart is a very good lineman prospect and the Huskers are in a battle with Wisconsin for him.
>> Based on fall camp impressions, Nebraska did a nice job of identifying under the radar talent that can contribute to the team early. Wide receiver Andre Hunt was a controversial recruit for fans even though he was a USC commit at one point. Hunt was almost an afterthought in the class but has shown fairly quickly that he will likely have a role during his freshman season.
Braxton Clark came from a powerhouse high school program in Florida but, despite his frame, was thought of as a player that would surely be heading towards a redshirt season. He’s probably still on the borderline of needing a redshirt but defensive backs coach Travis Fisher has praised him recently, saying Clark was at the top of interceptions during fall camp.
Based on the talk around cornerback Cam Taylor this fall, you would assume he was a high 4-star or 5-star prospect. Taylor was a 3-star recruit that played quarterback in high school. When he picked Nebraska over Missouri and Troy, there were some left scratching their heads. That already seems like a distant memory as everyone associated with the program has been singing his praises during camp. Taylor has seized his opportunity and handled the transition to college life with maturity.
The lesson here is not to jump to conclusions just based off rankings alone with this staff’s recruits. There is still a long way to go for these players to prove it on the field but all three being in the conversation for early playing time is remarkable. Typically, you have one of these types of under the radar players with a chance to make an impact Year 1. Having a possible three is a major luxury.
>> Another cornerback has set an official visit to come to Lincoln. Jerrad Baker Jr., a 3-star (HV Rating: 83.3) cornerback from Eau Gallie High School in Florida, has a date set. His high school coach tweeted this on Wednesday.
— Coach Sands (@EauGallieHC) August 22, 2018
Baker Jr. will be in town for the Minnesota game. On film, he shows good hands and is very good in the return game. He will be an intriguing prospect to keep tabs on.
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.