Well, we are one junior day down with another on deck for this weekend. Last weekend's event was a big success as Nebraska improved their standing with each other the big prospects they had on campus. Rahmir Johnson, Luke Fulton and Marcus Hicks all came away impressed and wanting to see more from the staff. This weekend they will likely host a bit smaller of a group but look for the red carpet to be rolled out for 4-star (HV Rating: 92.1) offensive tackle Danielson Ike who is the likely headliner of the weekend.
Garrett Nelson, defensive end, Scottsbluff, Nebraska
Ethan Piper, defensive tackle, Norfolk, Nebraska
Garrett Snodgrass, athlete, York, Nebraska
>>While outside linebacker Luke Gifford is out with injury, it’s fair to wonder if he has been in good spirits while watching other players fill their "bank of reps" at a competitive position. On Thursday, Jovan Dewitt had some very positive things to say about Gifford while he is on the mend.
“He’s kind of become like a coach on the sidelines for me," Dewitt said. "Even though he’s not able to practice right now, he’s doing a really good job of managing the sideline, helping with rotations, talking about what’s going on on the field. I was sitting on the sidelines purposely to see how our sideline was communicating. I heard him communicating with our outside backers to understand what we’re doing. He’s done a good job of almost adopting a teacher’s philosophy. He wants to get back really bad.”
Gifford could turn into a dynamic playmaker for this defense once he is healthy with the way he is building mental reps.
>>A question that I’ve been asked often in various forms is “will the staff have to recruit differently to use their systems in the Big Ten?” I personally don’t know how you could listen to this staff and think they will be changing what they do for anyone but there aren’t many examples, particularly on offense of this system being used in the Big Ten. On defense, however, traditionally you have classic plodding linebackers which is not what defensive coordinator Erik Chinander and his staff like to utilize. Inside linebacker coach Barrett Ruud was asked about the notion of changing the types of inside linebackers he recruits for the Big Ten.
“I don’t think so, I really don’t," Ruud said. "In this day and age, you have to be able to move, have to be able to operate in space. I think you can find enough guys that are 230 pounds that can hold up fine against the run, but the day and age of having 260-pound linebackers, that’s not what we’re looking for. I just think it’s too hard when teams use the whole field for those guys to be effective.”
>>Something I often hear from recruits about this staff is how genuine the coaches are during the recruiting process. Sometimes, that can flip up once a prospect gets to campus which can create issues. That is not the case with Scott Frost and Ryan Held according to running back Greg Bell when talking about what drew him to Nebraska.
“They (Frost and Held) were just real the whole time," Bell said. "I could tell this was a place I wanted to be at. They never changed and they still haven’t changed to this day.”
>>Last Saturday, 4-star (HV Rating: 89.6) edge rusher Marcus Hicks was the headliner of junior day. He had been to campus multiple times but not with the new staff. His father, Kelvin Hicks has been with him every step of the way as the Hicks’ family tries to make the best choice. Kelvin was very excited about the time they spent in Lincoln.
One does not just casually walk onto the field at Memorial Stadium, without getting hype!@harcus_micks @HuskerFBNation @Landof10Huskers @mikejschaefer @BOOMbaca @BobWeltonNebFB @CoachRHeld @coach_frost @coachwilhite @CoachChinander @Coach_Dewitt @SeanDillonNU pic.twitter.com/HIwHuBD2SC
— Kelvin Hicks (@khicks71467) April 3, 2018
I exchanged a few messages with Kelvin and he told me that they had a great trip, it was amazing meeting Tom Osborne and the practice environment was great. Hicks’ recruitment with Nebraska will largely come down to if Frost, Chinander and Dewitt can convince him that outside linebacker is best for his future.
>>One of the nuggets from an in-state recruit really caught my attention. Last weekend 2020 Bellevue West running back Jay Ducker was on campus for junior day. I caught up with him and asked him about his feelings on this staff putting more emphasis on keeping the best talent in the state. His answer was quite interesting.
“I never really been a huge Nebraska fan or anything like that," Ducker said. "I like Scott Frost’s offense. It fits exactly the Bellevue West offense, spread out and quick. I never really think about the Nebraska thing like that.”
It’s no secret that there is an enthusiasm gap with some of the high school talent in the state when it comes to Nebraska, particularly in Omaha. I’m not surprised that Ducker isn’t a huge Husker fan, but the other part of his answer about the Frost offense is key. I think if Nebraska gets back to playing exciting, winning football that will help a great deal.
>>In case you missed it yesterday, I had a great conversation with 3-star (HV Rating 85.7) linebacker Luke Fulton. His relationship with Ruud is really helping Nebraska’s chances and he was blown away by his visit here last weekend. Look for him to make a summer decision.
Had a great time at Nebraska today!! 🔴⚪️ pic.twitter.com/IRUTMC16nt
— Luke Fulton (@LukeFulton_11) March 31, 2018
>>2020 4-star (HV Rating: 93.4) wide receiver Zavier Betts from Bellevue West will be in Lincoln once again on Saturday. He attended junior day last weekend and it's obviously a great sign that he will be back again. He also plans to be at the spring game.
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.