Since we last updated the Greg’s Guys list, a lot has happened. The early signing period has come and gone, taking a lot of the players on the list off the board. The Huskers have been active with new offers for the 2019 class and had a good idea of which prospects would hold off signing until February.
Here are my top 10 players for the class of 2019 based on Nebraska’s needs, how a player fits in the scheme and talent. We keep this list fluid and that’s what makes it fun.
1. DB Noa Pola-Gates (Gilbert, Arizona)
The top spot on the list is fairly obvious this time. Pola-Gates is a terrific athlete and has long been one of Nebraska’s top defensive targets. He is a big hitter from the safety spot but is good in coverage as well. He will announce his college choice Jan. 19 at the Polynesian Bowl.
2. WR Charles Njoku (Wayne, New Jersey)
The big-bodied wide receiver (6-5, 200) is thought to be a favorite of Huskers offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Troy Walters. Njoku is one of the few remaining targets for 2019 on the offensive side of the football so expect him to get plenty of attention leading up to February.
3. DB DJ James (Spanish Fort, Alabama)
Back when the early signing period first went into effect, the sentiment among college coaches was that if you don’t sign in the early period, you aren’t really considered committed to the team. In that spirit, James makes the list even though he is committed to Mississippi State. The cornerback, who stands at 6-foot, 160-pounds, is a true cornerback which will make him pretty coveted during the late period. He has recent offers from Iowa and Oregon. The Huskers are in good position to get an official visit.
4. OLB Steven Parker (Dallas, Texas)
Parker was part of the Texas Tech recruiting class and has since backed off that pledge after coach Kliff Kingsbury was let go. He is a rangy outside linebacker who stands at 6-foot-4, 220-pounds. The Dallas native has also seen his stock rise since the he didn’t sign but his athleticism would fit nicely into defensive coordinator Erik Chinander’s defense.
5. OLB Soni Fonua (Mesa, Arizona)
Finding players that can rush the passer and disrupt an offense will be at a premium in the late period. One player that shows a knack for that on film is Mesa Community College defender Soni Fonua. He stands at 6-foot-4 and 255-pounds and told Hail Varsity that he is planning to come to Lincoln for an official visit in January.
6. LB Eugene Asante (Centreville, Virginia)
The younger brother of former Blackshirt Larry Asante, the athletic linebacker has seen his stock rise recently. On film he is aggressive, runs well and is a good tackler. Teams are starting to really take notice of him as he’s picked up offers from Maryland, UCLA, Baylor and Virginia Tech recently. The Huskers should get a January visit from Asante.
7. RB John Bivens (Dayton, Ohio)
The former 4-star running back from Ohio did not play during his senior season and elected to spend the entire year rehabbing a previous knee injury. The staff really liked his junior film and kept in contact with him during the season, which is why it wasn’t a total shock when Bivens announced he would be taking an official visit to Lincoln in January. Now that Dedrick Mills’ status is in question, a spot could become available for Bivens.
8. DT Matthew Pola-Mao (Phoenix, Arizona)
We might not be talking enough about the defensive tackle from Arizona who happens to be a cousin of Huskers target Noa Pola-Gates. Pola-Mao was a 4-star prospect coming into his senior season but has seen his rating drop in part due to injuries limiting him. At 6-foot-2, 300-pounds he would be a nice player to bring along slowly behind Darrion Daniels and Damion Daniels at nose tackle.
9. DB Jamel Starks (Decatur, Georgia)
Nebraska has been trying to do work in Georgia and hope to keep building momentum with the talented defender. The Peach State native is a two-way standout for his high school. Starks shows good coverage instincts on film and is a good tackler too. He was in Lincoln for an official visit for the Colorado game. He has taken an official visit to West Virginia but still has the Huskers on his list.
10. CB Tavian Mayo (Leesburg, Georgia)
The defender from Leesburg, Georgia, made the trip to Lincoln with his family for the Minnesota game. That trip was one of two officials the Georgia native has made. He also took a visit to West Virginia just before the early signing period. Mayo is a good corner prospect who can also help in run support.
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.