Defensive Recruiting Class Falling Into Place After Successful Summer
Photo Credit: Aaron Babcock

Defensive Recruiting Class Falling Into Place After Successful Summer

July 26, 2018

The Nebraska recruiting machine has been revving up recently, and defensive recruiting has specifically taken off during the summer. In June, Nebraska was on fire, adding six commits to the class of 2019. But only one of those commitments came from a player on the defensive side of the football: 3-star (HV rating: 87.9) linebacker Jackson Hannah‍ from Nashville, Tenn. Hannah joined the class giving Nebraska a terrific inside linebacker prospect. 

Nebraska continued its hot streak in July, landing three more commitments. Each of those prospects are slated to be future Blackshirts. Though it was long rumored, the commitment of 3-star (HV Rating: 84.2) JUCO defensive tackle Tony Fair‍ was big. Fair’s size (6-3, 330) makes that a literal statement but landing Fair also allows Nebraska to backfill the nose tackle spot with a player who can immediately compete for playing time when he arrives on campus. 

The Huskers lose Mick Stoltenberg and Peyton Newell to graduation after this season, so it was important to add Fair. He'll join a group that includes Damion Daniels and Vaha Vainuku. Quickly bolstering the rotation in the middle of defensive coordinator Erik Chinander’s 3-4 can be checked off the list for now. 

On July 21, Nebraska landed its biggest commitment of the 2019 class. Nick Henrich‍, a 4-star linebacker(HV Rating: 91.9) from Omaha (Neb.) Burke High School, was the top priority for the staff this cycle. Landing him is significant for a number of reasons. 

On the football field, he has enormous upside as an inside linebacker in the Big Ten. When watching him in person or on film, it doesn’t take long for his instincts and sure-tackling to show up. Once he is paired with Jackson Hannah, and the duo is coached up by Barrett Ruud, there is potential for both to be all-conference level players. Taking it a step further, a future linebacking corps of Henrich and Hannah in the middle with Caleb Tannor at one outside linebacker spot should be music to Husker fans’ ears. 

Off the field, the commitment of Henrich shows that coach Scott Frost meant what he said about too many good football players from the state of Nebraska were playing elsewhere. The Huskers have now landed four of the five top prospects in the state for the 2019 class. All five players are surefire Division I prospects. The only prospect remaining from that group is 4-star tight end Chris Hickman‍  from Omaha Burke who is still considering Nebraska.

The third player Nebraska landed in July was 3-star (HV Rating: 86.3) DE Mosai Newsom‍. The Waverly, Iowa, standout had long been a favorite prospect of Chinander and Frost. Chinander was his lead recruiter and Newsom is the type of versatile big man that defensive line coach Mike Dawson is looking to fill his room with. Pairing Newsom with young defensive linemen like Deontre Thomas and newcomers like Tate Wildeman and Casey Rogers gives Nebraska some fun options. 

The staff did a great job over the summer of locking down some of their top defensive targets. For a staff that prides itself on evaluations, it’s important to not have to reach too far down your recruiting board. There is still work to be done (more to come on that soon) but there should be confidence in the Huskers’ plan coming together this fall on the recruiting trail. 

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