Nebraska Cornhuskers place kicker Connor Culp kicking a field goal against the Penn State into a crowd of cardboard cutouts during the pandemic
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Big Red Recon: Recruiting and Returning Senior Decisions Loom For Huskers

December 11, 2020

Well folks, we have almost made it. We are less than one week from the early signing period opening up in college football. Soon the majority of recruits we have been discussing for months will put pen to paper. This year might feel different but it’s still exciting. Meanwhile the Huskers are still playing football and hoping to catch some momentum with a win over Minnesota.

Let’s get to the Recon.

Husker Commits

Koby Bretz‍, Defensive Back, Omaha, Nebraska

Ru’Quan Buckley, Defensive Lineman, Wyoming, Michigan

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:

>> It will be interesting to see on Saturday if Senior Day activities give away any of the players who have already decided to return to Nebraska next season. One player to watch is kicker Connor Culp. I’m hearing that Connor Culp will return for another season next year and not participate in Senior Day activities before the game.

>> Another guy I am curious on is defensive end Ben Stille. The Nebraska native has already graduated and is pursuing a post-graduate degree. Stille has been praised by defensive coordinator Erik Chinander lately and defensive line coach Tony Tuioti had high praise for him on Wednesday night.

“Ben Stille has been a tremendous asset to our program,” Tuioti said. “Especially for these young guys taking it upon himself to have a leadership role. Getting these guys to watch tape, they do extra things. A lot of guys trust him. I’m so glad to see him being able to have production and a pretty good season so far this year. He’s been tremendous. He’s great on the sidelines talking to the guys and keeping their energy up. I really appreciate having Ben Stille here with us and hopefully we have him another year.”

Stille has an intriguing choice ahead of him.

>> One hot topic over the last couple years is when Nebraska will open up a “Polynesian pipeline” with Tuioti. It takes time to build that trust and relationships. It was also made harder by kids and their families not being able to visit Lincoln this year. Tuioti is optimistic about the Huskers’ chances this cycle.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to build that pipeline with having some kids here,” Tuioti said. “Especially in Hawaii we need some Polynesian kids to come out here to Nebraska. My mindset in recruiting kids with Polynesian ties is that we want to make sure we bring the right kids into the program.”

The Huskers are in good shape with linebacker Wynden Ho’ohuli, defensive lineman Zhen Sotelo and wide receiver Titus Mokiao-Atamalala. We’ll see if any land in the class next week.

>> We don’t hear from senior offensive lineman Brenden Jaimes much but when we do, he’s insightful. With all the talk of transfers this year getting his take on why he stuck around long enough to have 39 starts under his belt was interesting.

“I wanted to show I was loyal,” Jaimes said. “I really had no reason to transfer. For the guys who did, they’ve had a lot of success. Everybody has their reasons. I wanted to come to Nebraska to be at Nebraska and be part of a tradition like no other. I feel like I did that.

“I put a lot of trust in Coach Frost and his coaching staff. I’m glad they’re the staff that came. I can’t imagine a better coach than Coach Austin. He’s the main reason why I stayed. I love playing for him, love being coached by him, love being around him every day. He’s a big reason why I stayed.”

>> One of the most intriguing questions heading into early signing day next week is if the Huskers can pull off a flip with Minnesota commit Avante Dickerson. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Huskers got it done. It also wouldn’t surprise me if he elected not to sign next week and waited until February. I think it stays a mystery until signing day.

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