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Frost Likes the Leadership Qualities of Nebraska’s Incoming Class

February 07, 2019

On Wednesday, Nebraska coach Scott Frost fielded questions to put a bow on the 2019 recruiting class. The Huskers signed 26 recruits this cycle, including seven early enrollees. Nebraska also brought in graduate transfer defensive tackle Darrion Daniels from Oklahoma State. The Huskers landed one additional commitment on National Signing Day when 4-star wide receiver Demariyon Houston committed.

Since Frost and his staff arrived in Lincoln, they have preached that a big part of the philosophy is recruiting players that aren’t just talented but also have high character. When you look at the class, a lot of players were looked at as leaders or were team captains. Frost was asked about that philosophy on Wednesday.

“To be honest with you I think that getting to know kids and getting an honest evaluation of their character on top of their talent leads you to getting the right type of kid,” Frost said. “I think the way we recruit lends itself to us getting those type of kids. I think those type of kids are attracted to my coaching staff and the guys in our building because when they get to know us they see the character of these assistant coaches and other people and those are the kind of people they want to be around. I think they see the honesty in the way we recruit them, the genuine nature in the way that we approach it and that appeals to the right type of kid. 

“I don’t know if I have seen an incoming class in my career that has me as excited [as this one]. From that standpoint, you can go across the board as see kids that were winners in high school, were team captains in high school, were in state championships that were in playoff games and semifinal games and state championships. I don’t think we are going to be short on leadership from this class.”

When pressed further on any specific players he sees as a future leader, Frost elected to speak about those seven early enrollees and what he has seen from them. 

“I could just address the guys that are already on campus,” Frost said. “I don’t know if I have seen a kid work harder in an offseason to learn an offense than Luke [McCaffrey] and he has been kind of a little bit of the ring-leader of that group already. Wandale [Robinson] is kind of the same way, coming in and learning and he is going to be able to play more than one position in his first year because of the way he learns and the way he approaches things. Nick Henrich is cerebral and smart and a problem-solver and tough and I know he is going to be a leader on defense. Garret Nelson is a wild man, I love it. His energy is going to lead us in some good directions. Chris Hickman, same way. Brant Banks, same way. Jamie Nance is doing a good job.

“So, all these kids that are here I think have leadership potential. The great thing is they’re not the only ones and we have some more coming.”

Other news and notes

>> Sticking with the leadership theme, Frost spoke about graduate transfer Darrion Daniels’ potential as a leader in the class. 

“Well, you don’t become a captain of a team unless you’re a good teammate, and we want kids who are good teammates,” Frost said. “I think he was anxious to play with his brother for a year. His brother kept hinting at it and we kept telling him we couldn’t do anything until the season was over, and if he put his name in the transfer portal. After he did, honestly it happened really fast and this is where he wanted to be. So we were glad to add a piece on our defensive line and I think he’s going to help us.”

>> Frost gave his viewpoint on one of the hot topics that is always talked about this time of year: How is winter conditioning going so far?

“Well my office overlooks the weight room, so I don’t get to see a lot but I can look down and watch them working out,” Frost said. “Last year, we had guys that couldn’t even get through workouts that had no idea how hard we wanted them to work, and weren’t motivated to do it. Looking down this year, we’re not starting from square one this year. We’re starting in a good spot. I love what I see. I love the good weight that people have put on. I love the look of the bodies and I love even more the attitude that I’m seeing down there. So that’s where you can really transform your team and make it bigger, faster, stronger, and more importantly make it tougher and more close-knit. I see really good things happening in there.”

>> Last season, now sophomore running back Maurice Washington burst onto the scene. He had a solid freshman campaign despite playing underweight during the season. Frost gave an update on Washington’s physical progress. 

“I have to be honest with you, I haven’t seen Mo since I have been off the road. I am sick of traveling and I am anxious to see him,” Frost said. “I know [head strength and conditioning coach] Zach [Duval] is working hard with him and [director of performance nutrition] Dave Eilis is working with him. And he is not alone, there are a lot of guys that we need to get bigger and stronger and to mature. I know how special Maurice could be if he was 200 to 210 pounds and he certainly didn’t come in at that weight. We are working hard with him, I think his biggest issue is making sure he is eating right and the nutrition side of it because he is working his butt of in the weight room.”

>> Wide receiver JD Spielman missed time at the end of last season with what was an undisclosed injury. Frost gave an update on him on Wednesday. 

“I saw him this morning. He was going to class, I think,” Frost said. “He had a high ankle sprain, don’t need to say much more about it. He was so close to playing in the Iowa game, but just couldn’t change direction well enough to trust him out there.”

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