Nebraska Football Defensive Coordinator Erik Chinander Claps on Sidelines
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Big Red Recon: Huskers Making Noise on the Recruiting Trail

June 07, 2019

Camp season is in full swing for college football programs. The Nebraska staff is out around the country working satellite camps hosted by Adidas and other schools. So far the Huskers have been to the Lindenwood Mega Camp, a camp at Mercer in Georgia and camps in Florida for a few days. These camps are not just great opportunities to connect with prospects you already have targeted but also uncover new players that are under the radar.

Let’s get to the Recon.

Class Breakdown

Husker Commits

Zavier Betts, wide receiver, Omaha, Nebraska

Turner Corcoran‍, offensive lineman, Lawrence, Kansas

Logan Smothers‍, quarterback, Athens, Alabama

2020 Needs

QB 0 DL 3
RB 1 MLB 2
WR 2 OLB 2
TE 1 DB 3
OL 3 K/P 0

 

The Recon:

>> The departure of former 4-star defensive back CJ Smith—and Cam Jones before him—has prompted a new round of questions from Husker fans about potential incoming transfers at the position. As of right now, I have no indication that is the plan. A big part of the reason for that is the excitement level for the incoming group of defensive backs. In particular, the staff is very high on Noa Pola-Gates and Quinton Newsome’s ability to come in and help the team right away. Things could change but right now that scholarship (if used) will be better used elsewhere.

>> Every recruiting cycle we talk about St. Louis recruiting and if this is the year that Nebraska breaks through. I’m convinced more than ever that in order for Nebraska to truly breakthrough, it needs to first win at a higher level. I don’t believe the Huskers are currently in the top two for any of their 2020 St. Louis targets. However, 2021 could be the year. There are two teammates in particular, defensive end/outside linebacker Travion Ford and defensive lineman Gabriel Rubio who are both high on Nebraska and have visited multiple times. Ford will return for the third time in less than a year this weekend. Nebraska will continue putting effort into Missouri but at some point, results have to happen to justify the resources allocated. 

>> This weekend, Nebraska will host a big-time official visitor: 4-star linebacker Cody Simon out of New Jersey. Simon was in Lincoln for a Junior Day earlier this year so it’s good that he has familiarity with campus and the staff heading into the visit. It’s going to be tough to pull Simon away from Notre Dame or Penn State but the Huskers have positioned themselves nicely if they can knock the visit out of the park this weekend. 

>> Offensive lineman Alex Conn out of Kansas has emerged as a high priority for offensive line coach Greg Austin’s group. The big man was in Lincoln for the spring game and Hail Varsity has learned that he will be back for the VIP BBQ event on June 21. That event is shaping up to be huge. Fellow Kansan and Husker commit Turner Corcoran will be in town to help recruit Conn.

Tulsa running back Sevion Morrison and Chandler, Arizona, linebacker Malik Reed will be taking their official visits that weekend as well. There will be many more confirmations for that event starting next week.

>> I can also confirm another big-time 2021 target will be in Lincoln for the event on the 21st. DE/OLB TJ Bollers out of Iowa told me that he will be coming to the event. Nebraska has done a great job recruiting Bollers and getting into his busy schedule for another return trip is huge. Defensive coordinator Erik Chinander has put Nebraska in a great position to eventually steal one of the best players out of Iowa for next cycle. 

>> On Friday, Iowa Western offensive lineman Jacob Gamble released his top six group that included Nebraska. I asked Gamble via text what led to Nebraska making the cut and here is what he told me.

“Their fan base is incredible and I’m excited to see what Scott Frost will do with the program,” he replid.

Gamble was actually unable to make that group visit that his teammates took to Lincoln due to a scheduling conflict but he hopes to make it to campus soon. 

>> This week, the other recruiting services did some re-ranking and we are seeing Nebraska’s quarterback commit make a move. Logan Smothers was quietly bumped up to a 4-star on Rivals after having been unranked previously. He is now rated as the 8thbest QB in the class of 2020. Once again, a tip of the cap is in order for quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco who identified Smothers early. I suspect Smothers will only go up in the rankings during the season.

>> On Thursday, Arizona pass rusher Regan Terry made his way to Lincoln for an unofficial visit. I caught up with him briefly via direct message early Friday morning to see how his visit went. 

“I was very impressed with everything,” Terry said. “The staff does a really good job with the phenomenal equipment to help to the players play. Their system is effective and efficient. They’re going to be ready when game week comes around.”

Terry made the trip with his dad who had the same reaction to what they saw in Nebraska. The visit went so well that Terry says they have already scheduled a return trip for an official visit. When asked what he is most looking for in a school, Terry said “the quality of people that are going to be around me so I can develop as good and fast as I can.” 

If that is his No. 1 criteria, then Nebraska will be in it with him until the end, given development is what this staff is known for. 

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