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Communication From Huskers Strong as Recruits Adjust to Stoppage

March 19, 2020

Things have been moving fast in the world of college football. The NCAA decided that all college football recruiting must stop in response to the growing COVID-19 crisis. We have entered a dead period in a time that would be filled with crucial spring visits. Those practice visits would culminate in big spring game visit weekends around the country. 

Now all recruiting is taking place through phones. Nebraska has been working the phones hard to stay in contact with its top targets and commits. Bellevue West wide receiver Keagan Johnson was supposed to attend Nebraska’s Junior Day. It had to be canceled, but he is still hearing from the Huskers. 

“I think the schools are unsure about the whole thing, too,” Johnson told Hail Varsity. “They don’t have the best idea. I don’t think anyone does. I talk to Nebraska probably every two or three days. The same with the other schools. I would say Iowa and Kansas State reach out just as much. Three or four times a week. They are still keeping in contact with me. They can still text or call me even though there are no visits right now.

“As far as what they are saying about the whole situation, I don’t think they really know what to expect. I’m not sure they know when things will resume again.” 

That’s how communication is going for one top target. What about a commit? Offensive lineman Henry Lutovsky has been rock solid with his verbal pledge to Nebraska since committing in November. He’s getting a specific message from his future coaches. 

“I need to keep finding ways to get better,” Lutovsky said. “Even if I can only do push-ups and air squats don’t let up. They’re all coming up with new schemes and spending time with their families.”

Junior college cornerback target De’Jahn Warren had been one of the hottest recruits in the country. Then spring football started before ending abruptly. 

“I’m going to be honest, my phone has been going busy,” Warren said. “I’ve been on FaceTime with all different types of coaches. They text too, so I’ve been communicating a lot.”

Even though all the prospects are able to communicate quite a bit with Nebraska, there no substitute for the visits they would have taken. Johnson was supposed to be at the canceled Junior Day, while Lutovsky was planning to attend another Junior Day Nebraska had planned. He was also going to attend the Red-White spring game. 

Johnson was affected even more. He recently released a top three list of Nebraska, Kansas State and Iowa. He had scheduled visits to go to practices at each school in his top three. Now he’s not sure there will be spring ball. That could impact his original plan to commit at the start of summer or the end of the school year.

“I was hoping to get one more visit to each place to ask any questions I had left about each school,” Johnson said. “Then think about making a decision. Now it’s kind of tough. I don’t want to rush into anything because I feel pressured. I want to take my time with the decision. Hopefully it’s all cleared up soon. It’ll probably be a while but hopefully soon and I can find the time to get back to the schools. I still have my officials planned which I think are still on. Hopefully it clears up where I can get to each school again and make my decision.” 

All the prospects are currently out of school. Lutovsky and Johnson were supposed to take the ACT on April 3 but now that’s been rescheduled. With schools closed and activities suspended, the players’ training is also impacted. Lutovsky will start doing extra strength work along with his agility work at Strength U in Iowa. He has 40-pound weights at home but those are a bit light for the 320-pound lineman. Johnson works out a couple hours each day going to the Bellevue West field or doing solo workouts. 

There is a lot of uncertainty right now surrounding next steps for all involved. Everyone is on uneven ground as schools, prospects and fans figure out where to go from here.   

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