The Nebraska coaching staff has been all over the country this week meeting with prospects and their families as they look to finish the 2019 recruiting class with a bang. We are just a few weeks away from the early signing period on Dec. 19 and there will be many twists and turns along the way.
In 2017, the staff had to balance bowl prep for Central Florida and recruiting for Nebraska during the contact period. With only recruiting to focus on, the Huskers are putting their time to great use on the trail.
Let’s get to the recon.
Matthew Anderson, offensive lineman, Leesville, Lousiana
Bryce Benhart, offensive lineman, Lakeville, Minnesota
Desmond Bland, offensive lineman, Yuma, Arizona
Darien Chase, wide receiver, Vancouver, Washington
Tony Fair, defensive tackle, Pima, Arizona
Myles Farmer, defensive back, Atlanta, Georgia
Jackson Hannah, linebacker, Nashville, Tennesee
Nick Henrich, linebacker, Omaha, Nebraska
Chris Hickman, tight end, 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
Javin Wright, defensive back, Chandler, Arizona
>> Let’s start with a couple of quick notes on players Nebraska is no longer recruiting. The Huskers have “cooled” on junior college safety Markquese Bell, JUCO offensive tackle Myron Cunningham and Alabama commit cornerback Brandon Turnage. There are plenty of targets that Nebraska likes at each of those positions for this cycle.
>> There is something going on with Nebraska junior college offensive line commit Desmond Bland. It may go beyond just the pending official visit to Florida State the weekend of Dec. 7. When I got in touch with Bland this week, he had not received a school or in-home visit with the Nebraska staff. There also was not one scheduled. That signals to me that it’s not 100 percent that Bland will graduate in December. I’ll continue to monitor the situation but things aren’t adding up here.
>> On Thursday, 3-star defensive end/outside linebacker Brandon Mack tweeted a picture with defensive coordinator Erik Chinander on an in-home visit. The Pitt commit has long been a target for the Huskers but they just couldn’t get him to campus on an official visit. I caught up with Mack last night, and he said that the visit was cool.
“Coach Chins told me a lot about the school and program,” Mack said. “He was saying how he would love to get me on a visit. I am really thinking about it.”
We will see where this goes but it sounds to me like Mack will start looking around just to make sure he is solid with Pitt.
>> There’s another pass-rushing outside linebacker to keep an eye on. Amare Barno from Butler Community College met with Ryan Held and will take an official visit to Lincoln on Dec. 7. He stands at 6-foot-6, 220 pounds and really fits what Nebraska is looking for in an outside edge rusher. I don’t believe Nebraska will end up with both Dru Mathis and Barno. If I had to pick one right now, I’d say the Huskers end up with Barno.
>> Scott Frost and Greg Austin are making a special stop in Lawrence, Kansas, today before returning to Lincoln. They will be in the school of 2020 4-star offensive tackle Turner Corcoran. The Lawrence Free State standout has been to campus five times since Frost took over the program and is one of the staff’s top targets for next year’s class. Corcoran is very comfortable with the players at Nebraska, has a great relationship with Austin and is being peer recruited by Nebraska’s quarterback commit for 2020 Logan Smothers who he is becoming close with.
>> Things have moved quickly this week with a pair of defensive back prospects. I’ve made two predictions for defensive backs to join the class. First is Tony Wallace from Independence Community College. Wallace was close to visiting Nebraska when Donte Williams was recruiting him but ultimately didn’t make the trip and chose Arizona. Now he will be in Lincoln this weekend and there is a great chance that he shuts things down this weekend. He is a May graduate but corner is perhaps the easier spot to learn on the fly in this system.
The second is a player a bit more off the radar. Myles Bell, from St Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has had strong communication with the staff all season. He really wanted to visit during the season but his schedule was tight and couldn’t make it happen. Bell now says that he will likely visit Dec. 12 and if he does, the chances of him signing in December increase. Jovan Dewitt leads his recruitment and was in to see him on Wednesday.
>> Since I’m now predicting Bell and Wallace to be ‘N,’ that would leave Nebraska tight on defensive back slots. Someone that Nebraska likes or liked during the season is going to get squeezed out after not deciding quick enough. The two candidates for that are Tavian Mayo and Jamel Starks. I have a hard time seeing both of them landing at Nebraska at this point. Neither of them of have taken other in-season official visits but both are looking at visits this month.
>> After all this defensive back talk, there is one that is asked about a lot and I have an update. Noa Pola Gates, a 4-star safety, is a must-take for Nebraska regardless of numbers. However, he is not a must-take for all schools including Alabama. After talking with sources, I’d be surprised if Alabama ends up having room for him which increases the chances of him ending up in Lincoln. My sense is to keep an eye on Arizona State here. Pola-Gates told me that his in home visit with Chinander, Fisher and Mario Verduzco “went great” and he is still scheduled to announce his decision in January.
>> One last tidbit to pass along that’s a pretty big deal. Since September, I’ve heard rumblings about a renovation of some sort which is overdue. Multiple sources have confirmed that this plan is bigger than anticipated and could bring some significant changes and additions to the existing facilities. Long story short, Nebraska doesn’t have the meeting space or locker room space to accommodate the team. They have also fallen way behind teams like Minnesota and Northwestern with facilities, not to mention schools like Oregon and Clemson. I’m told university officials took a tour of the new Clemson facilities which are some of the best in the country while the basketball team was there playing.
Interestngly enough, I’ve had a few recruits mention to me that the staff has told them some about a new weight room. That will obviously be a big part of this and Zach Duval will have a lot of new toys to play with as he builds the roster up. I don’t have a timetable on the announcement yet. All I can get so far is “soon.”
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.