Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Early Look at Top Positions of Need for Huskers in 2023 Class

January 12, 2022

The Huskers are putting the finishing touches on the 2022 recruiting class. During the early signing period the team signed 13 high school players and one JUCO player. It was known that the traditional class would be small this cycle. A combination of traditional recruits and transfers have to be considered when evaluating this offseason.

Now that we are in January the recruiting timeline has changed from what it used to be. This used to be a time where teams were trying to hold on to their commits and find new players to add to the class.

Now it’s a mixture of things. Looking at the transfer portal is important. Finding a player or two from high school or junior college is a priority. The biggest goal for teams in January might be looking at future classes. To that point Nebraska will host two junior days this month. We took a look earlier this week at players to watch for the 2023 class. Let’s take a look at a few positions that could be the biggest needs for the Huskers in the next cycle.

The offensive line is the position I might be most interested in as a position of need for the 2023 cycle. We’ll get to see what new offensive line coach Donovan Raiola prioritizes. Seeing how he shifts the type of lineman Nebraska pursues will be interesting. The room is young on paper. Trent Hixson and Nouri Nouili are the only returning upperclassmen that figure to be in the rotation in the 2022 season. The team has a lot of sophomores and redshirt freshmen. The COVID eligibility freeze means many have been in the program for multiple years. The Huskers will want a couple linemen to start developing from the 2023 class. How many they need depends on how the line projects after spring football.

Let’s stay in the trenches but flip to the other side of the ball. The development of the defensive line at Nebraska has been good. The group is in a transition for the upcoming season. Based on the trajectory of the players returning, the Huskers should be fine. Nebraska only took one defensive lineman in the 2022 class. The 2023 cycle could see that flip as the team will want to keep the keep the cupboard full. Getting another nose tackle in the program could be a big priority next cycle.

The picture at outside linebacker is intriguing. The Huskers got better at that spot during the 2021 season but still aren’t producing sacks. The team will lose a pair of seniors, Caleb Tannor and Pheldarius Payne, after 2022. The coaching staff is high on the potential of redshirt freshmen Jimari Butler and Blaise Gunnerson. The development of those two will impact perception of this position. Still, the Huskers need to keep the search for dynamic playmakers at this position a priority. If this defense is going to reach its full potential it needs pass rushers at outside linebacker.

The feeling about certain position groups could swing in a big way during the spring. Running back could end up being a big position of need if the Huskers can’t find a lead back this spring. Defensive back could be a spot to watch, too. And, all eyes are always on quarterback. There will be a high level of interest in which quarterbacks offensive coordinator Mark Whipple wants at Nebraska.

Setting priorities for the 2023 recruiting class is going to be a shifting target.

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