As we go longer into in the dead period in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have entered what would have been a different phase of recruiting. Normally, assistant coaches would be out on the road canvassing high schools and junior colleges. They’d be able to evaluate targets in person, build relationships with coaches and identify new targets.
Instead, everything is being done virtually as football coaches around the country wait to see when things might be opened back up. There is still plenty to dive into though this week.
Let’s get to the Recon.
Randolph Kpai, Inside Linebacker, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Henry Lutovsky, Offensive Lineman, Mount Pleasant, Iowa
Christopher Paul Jr., Inside linebacker, Cordele, Georgia
Teddy Prochazka, Offensive Lineman, Elkhorn, Nebraska
>> Since Scott Frost took over the Husker program, we thought the trend of the team was to recruit smaller, quicker running backs. That started to shift last cycle as the two running backs (Marvin Scott III and Sevion Morrison) will arrive in Lincoln with a bit more size. Could the Huskers be looking at backs even bigger than those two in the 2021 class? The first running back to set up an official visit to Lincoln this summer is Illinois runner Trenten Howland. The Joliet native stands at 6-foot-2, 220-pounds and has a visit scheduled for June 12.
This offense has had success in the past at Oregon with backs that are his size so it will be intriguing to see how Frost, Matt Lubick and Ryan Held pitch the opportunity to him.
>> The Huskers continue to be a popular pick in prospects’ top groups. Things have been quiet on the recruiting trail for the Huskers but Nebraska has been named in the top groups of several prospects the team would love to stay in the thick of things with. Even as prospects are restricted from visiting campuses, recruiting never stops. Players are still narrowing down lists in hopes of visiting their top schools once visits are allowed again. If the Huskers can stay in contact with those guys on get them on campus when things open up things will get interesting.
>> During his radio show appearance this week, athletic director Bill Moos mentioned it would be nice to have the Huskers student-athletes back in Nebraska where it is safer that most of the country right now. That’s especially true compared to places in California and Florida.
“The frustrating thing is we would like to have them on campus and some of them are here,” Moos said. “We cannot utilize the facilities. The campus is shut down right now. According to the conference, there can be no organized team activities until May 1. Everybody is following that. Within Nebraska, we could be together in groups of 10 or under, and we were hoping we could be in a weight room, not being coached, but being supervised, and we can't do that right now.
“We are hoping our young people are staying in shape the best they can, and trying to get into some kind of shape, so we don't have to start at ground zero when they come back."
Moos raises an interesting point about overall player safety. Still, I’m not sure it’s the best look to start letting athletes work out on campus when they university as a whole is still shut down.
>> There is a question that I’ve received quite a bit over the last couple weeks: why isn’t Nebraska getting commits right now? Minnesota has been on fire this month nabbing eight commits in April. Ohio State continues its march to the No. 1 class in the nation. Even Iowa has gained a pair of commitments this week.
The Huskers last picked up a commitment on March 20 when Chris Paul joined the 2021 class. I think Nebraska is a school hurt in a big way by the recruiting dead period that went into effect. One of the biggest selling points for Nebraska is getting prospects and their parents on campus to show off everything Nebraska has to offer. You can talk about fan support via Zoom and do virtual tours of the LifeSkills setup but seeing how it’s all connected in person make a difference. Couple that with the Huskers staff preference for not pressuring kids into a decision so that it has a better chance of sticking and that is how you get the current situation.
There are certainly prospects that have visited Nebraska that could bump decisions up but patience is needed.
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.