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Huskers take the field before the game against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Big Red Recon: Fitting the Puzzle Pieces Together for Nebraska’s 2021 Class

December 04, 2020

What a weird time this is. Nebraska is still playing regular season games in December with just a couple weeks before the early signing period. It feels like the early signing period is sneaking up on everyone. I attribute some of that to not being able to have the final whirlwind of activity. Usually there are final official visits, in-home visits and coaches visiting high schools to keep everyone excited right now. That has taken away the buzz but there is still plenty happening.

Let’s get to the Recon.

Husker Commits

Koby Bretz‍, Defensive Back, Omaha, Nebraska

Marques Buford‍, Defensive Back, Cedar Hill, Texas

James Carnie‍, Tight End, Firth, Nebraska

Gabe Ervin‍, Running Back, Buford, Georgia

Thomas Fidone‍, Tight End, Council Bluffs, Iowa

Mikai Gbayor‍, Linebacker, Irvington, New Jersey

Kamonté Grimes‍, Wide Receiver, Naples, Florida

Heinrich Haarberg‍, Quarterback, Kearney, Nebraska

Shawn Hardy‍, Wide Receiver, Kingsland, Georgia

Randolph Kpai‍, Inside Linebacker, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Henry Lutovsky‍, Offensive Lineman, Mount Pleasant, Iowa

Seth Malcom‍, Inside Linebacker, Tabor, Iowa

Latrell Neville‍, Wide Receiver, Houston, Texas

Patrick Payton‍, Outside Linebacker, Miami, Florida

Teddy Prochazka‍, Offensive Lineman, Elkhorn, Nebraska

AJ Rollins‍, Tight End, Omaha, Nebraska

Jailen Weaver, defensive lineman, Antioch, California

Lardarius Webb‍, Defensive Back, Jackson, Mississippi

Malik Williams‍, Defensive Back, Buford, Georgia

Branson Yager‍, Offensive Lineman, Grantsville, Utah

2021 Needs

QB 0 DL 2
RB 0 MLB 0
WR 0 OLB 1
TE 0 DB 0
OL 0 K/P 0

The Recon:

>> Since we are getting down to the wire of the class with limited space, each decision made creates an interesting domino effect. Later today (Friday), California defensive end Mandela Tobin will announce his college decision. That choice is expected to come down to Nebraska, Duke and Kansas. I expect that pick to be for Duke. I like Tobin but there is some split over if he can be an impact player for Nebraska.

>> On Saturday, Michigan defensive end Ru’Quan Buckley is set to make his college choice public. He recently released a revised top five but Buckley tells me that he’s really down to Nebraska and Michigan State. Both teams are pushing hard for his pledge and I believe he’s going back and forth on which Big Ten school to pick. Right now it really is a coin flip decision. I am leaning toward the Huskers being the choice. Whichever school he picks will need to continue recruiting him until receiving a letter of intent.

>> The Huskers are also emerging as a leader for Hawaii defensive lineman Zhen Sotelo. Standing at 6-foot-4 and 280 pounds, the Huskers are battling a slew of Pac-12 programs for him. Could Sotelo end up being a wildcard commitment to Nebraska that wasn’t necessarily forecasted?

>> There is also Las Vegas defensive end Tia Savea. I still expect him to be part of Nebraska’s class. If Nebraska feels good about Savea and has Jailen Weaver committed too how many more defensive line spots does it have? There is one more slot for a defensive lineman and I see either Buckley or Sotelo taking it. If I had pick right now, I’d say Buckley and Savea join Weaver as the defensive linemen in the 2021 class. That picture at defensive line is very fluid but we will get some clarity soon.

>> My confidence is growing that Hawaii linebacker Wynden Ho’ohuli will end up as part of the 2021 recruiting class. Ho’ohuli is an intriguing prospect who could end up inside or outside at Nebraska. He’s planning to announce his college choice during the virtual All-American Bowl festivities.

>> Don’t expect a late offer from Nebraska on Omaha Westside quarterback Cole Payton. I’m told that Payton is very comfortable with his decision to attend North Dakota State and the Huskers haven’t reached out much.

>> One local prospect that the Huskers have been in contact with is Elkhorn South center Isaac Zatechka. Scott Frost has spoken with him but the numbers are tricky in this class. We have seen Nebraska use blueshirt or greyshirt options for local players in the past. Isaac Gifford and Ty Hahn made their way to Nebraska that way. Could we see a repeat of that with Zatechka? I think that’s the best hope for him to find his way to Nebraska.


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