We are on the eve of Nebraska's first recruiting event. The Huskers' first Junior Day is Saturday, March 31. Besides the staff having to play catch up with 2019 recruits, the big reason there hasn't been much "buzz" about the Huskers on the trail so far is that, unlike many schools, they had not hosted any recruiting events. After the ball gets rolling this weekend, expect to consistently hear much more about interested prospects. Keep things locked to Hail Varsity as I'll run down as many visitors as I can to get thier thoughts over the coming weeks.
Garrett Nelson, defensive end, Scottsbluff, Nebraska
Ethan Piper, defensive tackle, Norfolk, Nebraska
Garrett Snodgrass, athlete, York, Nebraska
>> I have not been able to speak with him directly as he’s gone a bit quiet, but the thought is that Max Duggan is trending away from Nebraska. In March, he took unofficial visits to Ohio State, Notre Dame and TCU. Duggan is currently on a trip to Minnesota, the team most would now consider his leader. This is his last scheduled visit before he wants to go into “decision mode” so I wouldn’t be stunned if he “got in the boat” while he was in Minneapolis this weekend. From the Huskers' point of view, I have never gotten the sense Duggan is at the top of their quarterback board. Nebraska has offers out to some very good quarterback prospects for 2019, one name to watch moving forward is 3-star (HV Rating: 87.5) Luke McCaffrey from Highlands Ranch, Colorado. He’s the latest prospect from the talented football family.
>>Sticking with quarterback, a related topic is how Nebraska will handle its current room of players that are eligible plus Noah Vedral and the potential of adding a transfer. There is a lot more here than just picking a starter and letting him run with things because all of the quarterbacks are young, and next year Vedral will be eligible. I continue to hear good things about Vedral’s spring and the potential that he could win the job next year. If the staff feels like that is the case, it might give them reason to go the grad transfer route this season as a bridge to Vedral.
>>Special teams has been such an enigma around here for a while. Now with Jovan Dewitt running the unit, I expect there to be improvement. One way the unit can improve is by actually returning punts. Dewitt told me prior to spring ball that he did not think the days were gone of being able to return punts, which is good news for Husker fans. As for who could be returning those punts, according to JD Spielman there are a handful of players vying for the role. Tyjon Lindsey, Stanley Morgan Jr., Mike Williams and Spielman have been working at the spot so far this spring. Here is what Spielman had to say about the opportunity to return both kicks and punts this season.
“It’d be pretty cool to do both (kick return and punt return). Whoever they give it to, that’s who they give it to. I’m just going to go out there each practice and try my best to catch every ball. Then do everything I can to secure the job. Whether I get it or not, who knows but it will be a fun one.”
>>Four-star (HV Rating: 89.5) Omaha Burke LB Nick Henrich has a busy month of unofficial visits planned. I have a full interview scheduled with him later today but for right now, here is his visit schedule:
- Iowa State, April 2
- Iowa, April 5
- Minnesota, April 7
- Wisconsin, April 13
- Notre Dame, April 14
- Nebraska, April 17
The only real new school in the mix here is Wisconsin, and that shouldn’t be a surprise. Given all the attention Henrich has gotten this cycle he has plenty of choices but I do believe this is his “final six” of sorts. I don’t expect him to seriously consider programs that are far away like Oregon, Texas A&M or Florida.
>>There has been a lot of talk about the effects of Nebraska now practicing early in the morning. On Thursday, running backs coach Ryan Held made a correlation between morning practices and Big Ten early kicks that I had not heard before.
“I just love it because we get up and we get the day going," Held said. "When people are sleeping we’re working out in the field. I’m telling you the guys will end up loving it. The coaches love it. You don’t have class misses like you could have when you have the afternoon practice and the guy has an 8 o’clock or 10 o’clock [class] because he’s up and ready to go. Plus, in the Big Ten we play a lot of 11 a.m. games. So, we’re used to getting up and getting used to that. I think that’s a big deal especially in the conference. You get that ESPN 11 o’clock kickoff, that’s huge."
This certainly can’t hurt Nebraska’s ability to play in those early kickoff windows where there is always concern about a team starting sluggish.
>>This weekend Nebraska will host its first Junior Day of the spring. Two of Nebraska’s three commits are expected to attend, DL Ethan Piper and ATH Garrett Snodgrass. There are some key targets from outside of the state who will be in attendance as well. Expect the staff to continue the full-court press on 4-star defensive end (HV Rating: 89.6) Marcus Hicks from Wichita, Kansas, while he is here. Hicks has been very busy this spring, taking visits all over the country but Nebraska is squarely in the mix for him. He is very near the top of the Huskers overall recruiting board. Also, keep an eye on the speedy 3-star RB (HV Rating: 87.9) Rahmir Johnson from Oradell, New Jersey. He is an excellent prospect and would fit the offense perfectly.
>> Omaha Burke's Xavier Watts holds scholarship offers from South Dakota State, Iowa State and Purdue. It is only a matter of time before the 2020 wide receiver adds more to the list. This weekend he will be in Lincoln for Nebraska’s Junior Day, hoping to pick up a Big Red offer. Last season, Watts had 35 receptions for 813 yards and nine touchdowns last season.
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.