Greg’s Guys
Photo Credit: Quentin Lueninghoener

Greg’s Guys: Locking in on Defensive Targets

September 19, 2019

We are back for another monthly installment of the Greg’s Guys list. Now that official visits have started we are seeing a bit of movement on the list. Since the last list Nebraska has had a pair running backs commit. September’s group is very defense-heavy one with only the top slot designated for an offensive guy.

If you aren’t familiar with the Greg’s Guys list, it’s my top 10 players in the class based on Nebraska’s needs, how a player fits in the scheme and talent. The player also needs to be interested in the Huskers.

The list is always fluid and that’s what makes it fun.

1. JUCO WR Omar Manning‍ (Kilgore, Texas)

The No. 1 spot on the list remains unchanged from last month. Things have remained quiet with Manning since he took his official visit to Lincoln over the summer. That’s not necessarily something to worry about. We will see if he takes other visits but Oregon is making a push to get him to Eugene. There are also Nebraska players and commits helping to peer recruit the big-bodied JUCO wideout.

2. LB Kaden Johnson‍ (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

Typically, a prospect like Johnson sees his recruitment blow up heading into his junior season. For some reason, that happened a year later for the Minnesota outside linebacker. He continues to see his stock rise. Recently, Johnson picked up offers from Tennessee and LSU. Both schools are in the running for official visits. The Huskers have an important official set with him for Sept. 28 to try and jump ahead of the pack.

3. LB Jackson Bratton‍ (Muscle Shoals, Alabama)

As long as Bratton remains on the visit list for the Ohio State game he will stay on this list. The Alabama commit is a game changing prospect at inside linebacker. His speed, instincts and toughness separate him from just about any linebacker prospect I’ve watched this cycle. It will be a battle to move him off his commitment to Alabama but he is at least listening to the Huskers’ pitch.

4. DB Henry Gray‍ (Hollywood, Florida)

Gray is a 6-foot, 180-pound defensive back from Miami Central High. The versatile defensive back holds more than 25 scholarship offers from all over the country including Michigan, Florida and Alabama. Travis Fisher is very familiar with his high school program. Gray is fresh off an official visit to Nebraska for the Northern Illinois game. The Huskers are in good position for the defender from South Florida. He’s a rangy defensive back that reminds me of current Nebraska freshman Noa Pola-Gates.

5. LB Caleb McCullough‍ (Oxnard, California)

The California linebacker made the trip to Lincoln for an official visit the weekend of Sept. 14. As a junior, the inside linebacker racked up 211 tackles, six sacks and 17 hurries. He told Hail Varsity after his visit that the relationship with inside linebackers coach Barrett Ruud is growing.

“It’s great. He’s a great guy,” McCullough said. “You can tell that he wants guys that want to be successful. He wants to help guys be successful. He’s not there for anything else. He’s not sugar-coating anything. He is real and I appreciate him for that.”

A November decision looms for the talented defender.

6. CB Darion Green-Warren‍ (Santa Ana, California)

A pattern is starting to form with defensive backs coach Travis Fisher’s work on the recruiting trail. We don’t hear much about who he is recruiting but you look up and there are high-level defensive backs considering the Huskers. Green-Warren certainly fits the bill. The former Oklahoma commit is one of the best corner prospects out West this cycle. He’s slated to be in Lincoln for the Ohio State game.

7. LB Choe Bryant-Strother‍ (Norcross, Georgia)

Bryant-Strother took his official visit this spring so he can get lost in the shuffle a bit. The Huskers have a lot of targets at linebacker currently. He seems focused on Nebraska, UCLA, BYU and Texas A&M. He recently took an official visit to BYU for their game against USC. The big question here is will Bryant-Strother feel the need to grab a spot in Lincoln before other linebackers commit? It would be huge for the Huskers to get him back to Lincoln for a game.

8. DE Tuli Tuipulotu‍ (Lawndale, California)

The defensive end is one of the best line prospects out West in the 2020 cycle. He was dominant for his team, which won a state title last season. He tallied 95 tackles, 24 for loss with nine quarterback sacks. He has great size at 6-foot-3, 270-pounds which allows him to project as an end or tackle at the next level. Tuipulotu plays with a great motor and lists that as one of his best attributes. After his official visit for the Northern Illinois game Nebraska’s fans had his attention. No decision timeline has been given other than “later in the season.” 

9. DE Nusi Malani‍ (San Bruno, California)

Greg Smith
Malani being shown Memorial Stadium by Nash Hutmacher.

Malani made his debut on the list last month ahead of his official visit for the Northern Illinois game. Since defensive line coach Tony Tuioti arrived in Lincoln, the Huskers have been recruiting him hard. Standing at 6-foot-6, 250-pounds, his body type is one that the Huskers really like. Nebraska put itself in a great position with him after the visit weekend. 

10. DT Marquis Black‍ (McDonough, Georgia)

Georgia defender Marquis Black stands at 6-foot-4, 280-pounds. He has the ability to play all three defensive line positions. Yet, watching his film, he would be very good as a quicker nose tackle with strength to hold up at the point of attack. He’s been a bit under the radar this cycle but he has long planned to take an official visit to Lincoln for the Ohio State game. The Huskers would love to add the Georgia prospect to the mix on the defensive line.

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