Well Nebraska football fans, let's try this thing again.
It's the second attempt on the season opener for Scott Frost and his Huskers. This time they will face off against former Big Eight rival, Colorado. Fans are certainly having a lot of fun this week reliving thier favorite moments from the rivalry even if the coaches and players are downplaying the significance.
Nebraska is hosting a monster list of visitors this weekend so let's get to the recon.
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
Dedrick Mills, running back, Garden City, Kansas
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
>>On the eve of Nebraska's new season opener against Colorado, official visits are locked in. As of right now, here are the visits that Hail Varsity can confirm:
3-star OL Michael Lynn
4-star LB Nick Henrich
4-star QB Luke McCaffrey
3-star LB Jackson Hannah
3-star OL Matthew Anderson
3-star ATH Garrett Snodgrass
3-star WR Jamie Nance
4-star WR Marcus Washington
4-star TE Chris Hickman
3-star CB Javin Wright
3-star DB Jamel Starks
3-star DL Nash Hutmacher
That’s a healthy visit list with a good mixture of committed and uncommitted players. I already had predictions for Hickman, Wright and Starks to join the class prior to this visit weekend and see no reason to change any of those.
We will have a full visitor preview later today.
>> It really seems like Mother Nature didn’t have too much of a negative impact on recruits last week. Yes, it would have been nice for the prospects to see the new Huskers team under Scott Frost. However, the visitors did get the majority of the official visit experience, including the Tunnel Walk. The one positive wildcard to come out of Saturday’s rain delay was that all of the recruits in attendance for official visits got to spend additional time with each other and the current players in the player lounge.
That extra bonding time could prove helpful down the road.
>> Speaking of prospects on campus for officials, there has always been a school of thought that Nebraska just needs to get players here to see what Lincoln and Memorial Stadium are both like on a game day. That is probably especially true early in the Frost tenure when excitement is at a fever pitch. A couple of the coaches were asked about that this week.
Here is what defensive backs coach Travis Fisher had to say about that notion.
“I will tell you versus the SEC or a kid coming here, they just have to come,” Fisher said. “There hasn’t been a kid that thought differently when they got here from when they left. My thing is we just got to get them here. Just got to get him here and the kid has to understand that he’s got to make the trip and check it out. For the most part when they’ve done that they’ve left here with a different perspective than when they’ve came.”
Running backs coach Ryan Held shared similar sentiment.
“They [the prospects] could see how awesome our fans are and how electric this place is. You can’t simulate it in January or December," Held said. "When we can get a kid here and envision themselves here to think ‘goodness I get to play in front of this for all my home games?’ That’s special. Anytime we can get them here and they can see it, it’s a win for us. It’s more of a grind for us on the weekends but we want kids on this campus to see the awesome atmosphere that we have.”
Look for Nebraska to make big moves with prospects they get on campus for game days this season. If a player comes to campus, Nebraska has a legitimate shot with that prospect.
>> This week, we also got the thoughts from Travis Fisher on what he is thinking for his room with the 2019 class. Defensive back is easily the biggest area of need on defense and likely the biggest need on the entire team.
Here is what Fisher had to say about his mindset this cycle and how he recruits defensive backs versus just corners or safeties.
“I want to take as many as I can," Fisher said. "We’ve got a lot of prospects that will be here on visits and those guys when they come here they get a chance to see. I recruit them as defensive back. You never know where you may have to be plugged in at on the field. It’s not like I want to recruit a guy that can only play in the box but not play in the post. I don’t recruit those type of those guys. I want to recruit the guys who are just as good in the box and have to tackle as in the post.
"You want to recruit guys that can cover on the outside as much as being in the box. Whether it’s a corner or a safety, corners have to tackle just as much as safeties do. Unless it’s a smaller kid you know, then it’s a DB.”
As we get more light shed on what Fisher wants, it’s becomes clear that to play for him you need to be tough and coachable.
>> The most recent commit for Nebraska, running back Dedrick Mills, picked up an honor this week. The running back was named NJCAA Player of the Week after his 267 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s game.
Powering Garden City to a season-opening win, sophomore running back Dedrick Mills lands the first #NJCAAFootball Offensive Player of the Week honor of the 2018 season#NJCAAPOTW pic.twitter.com/QFRmUeLBTT
— NJCAA Football (@NJCAAFootball) September 6, 2018
As the season goes on, it will become more and more clear that Ryan Held got a steal, in my opinion. I know that after his game last week some new programs tried to get into the mix but Nebraska already had a relationship established and a visit under its belt. After Nebraska signed Greg Bell last cycle, they will likely go two years in a row signing the No. 1 running back out of junior college.
>> Remember when 2020 quarterback Logan Smothers committed to Nebraska before he had any major offers? At that time there were some fans openly complaining about “reaching” on a QB so early. I tried to say that QB recruiting is being done earlier and earlier now plus Frost and QB coach Mario Verduzco trust their evaluations. Just this week, Smother picked up an SEC offer from Ole Miss.
Beyond blessed to receive an offer from The University of Mississippi #OleMiss @freddierch8 pic.twitter.com/mRYN8ZugLj
— Logan Smothers (@logan_smothers) September 6, 2018
The night Smothers committed to the Huskers, he picked up and offer from Louisville. The offers certainly won’t stop but as of now, Smothers is firmly committed.
>> On Thursday, I posted an interview with top Greg’s Guy and big-time running back target Wandale Robinson. After speaking with him, I don’t think there is currently a clear favorite for his signature. His final group of Alabama, Michigan, Nebraska and Purdue all have something unique to offer him. Ohio State has also been in the mix with him but he did not mention them when we talked. Take that for what it's worth.
I really think this comes down to Nebraska and Purdue. Robinson is looking for a creative offensive coach that get him the football in a variety of ways. My big question about Robinson and Nebraska is if his one visit to Lincoln will be enough. He has visited Purdue many times and is comfortable with Jeff Brohm.
>> A quick bit of not so good visit news. Ronald Thompkins, Nebraska's 4-star (HV Rating: 90.5) running back commit, will not be visiting this weekend as he planned. He should be having ACL surgery soon which will prevent him from making the trip.
Also, junior college defensive tackle commit Tony Fair will not be in Lincoln this weekend either. He is staying in Arizona to make sure his grades stay in order to arrive in January.
There isn’t a lot of concern at this point with either trip not happening as scheduled.
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.