ESD Greg's Guys: No. 4 Linebacker Nick Henrich
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How Local Recruiting Landscape Has Changed in Recent Years

February 27, 2021

The secret is out that Nebraska high school football has a lot of talent.

That has been written a lot over the last two years. That’s because it’s true. Schools around the country have taken notice of the players in Nebraska. There has been a recent explosion of players collecting offers from around the country. Let’s take a look at how this evolution has happened for Nebraskans since the 2018 recruiting class.

Going to back to the 2018 cycle, remember when Cam Jurgens was the seventh-rated tight end in the nation? Before signing with Nebraska, he took an official visit to LSU who was recruiting him hard. Jurgens elected to stick with the Huskers. He remained part of Coach Scott Frost’s transition class. Defensive tackle Masry Mapieu was a Nebraska commit. He didn’t end up in the class because of grade concerns. He also held offers from Iowa and Iowa State, and ultimately signed with Louisiana-Lafayette out of high school. Bryson Williams was overlooked by the Mike Riley staff and Frost tried to salvage things at the end. In the end though, Williams stuck with his Wisconsin pledge. Williams had offers from Iowa, Iowa State, Virginia Tech and Duke among others.

The 2019 class is now famous. Frost and lead in-state recruiter Barrett Ruud were five-for-five landing the in-state players. Garrett Nelson committed so early that other schools didn’t really recruit him. Garrett Snodgrass was quite similar. Each had offers from South Dakota and South Dakota State.

Ethan Piper was down between Nebraska and Iowa for his college choice for he picked the Huskers. He also held offers from Ohio and South Dakota State. Things really started to pick up with the Omaha Burke duo Chris Hickman and Nick Henrich. Hickman had many Big Ten offers to go along with LSU and Oregon. Henrich was a national recruit. Florida, LSU, Notre Dame, Oregon, Texas A&M and many more offered him.

At the same time, those schools were looking at Henrich and Hickman they saw 2020 prospect Xavier Watts. He in at Notre Dame and had quite the offer list. Watts had several Big Ten offers, plus Tennessee, Louisville and Iowa State. Zavier Betts was the top player in the state that cycle and was also a top 150 player in the country. His recruitment wasn’t as big as it should have been. He did get offers from Iowa, Iowa State and Minnesota. The other player to be offered by Nebraska in that cycle was Isaac Gifford. He was offered a blue shirt, meaning he’d go on scholarship at a later date. He received an early Power Five offer from Oregon State.

The 2021 class is unique since they had no summer camps before their senior year or official visits. One player that would have benefitted from camp season is quarterback Heinrich Haarberg. He did hold offers from Boston College, NC State and Vanderbilt. Tight end AJ Rollins picked up early offers from UCF, Missouri and Iowa State. James Carnie was a late bloomer. He collected offers from Iowa, Kansas State and Pitt before he landed the Nebraska offer.

Teddy Prochazka’s offer list was surprisingly not that big. He had eight offers, including Michigan, Northwestern and Iowa. Koby Bretz was a late-developing prospect. He only had Power Five offers from Nebraska and Kansas State. His teammate Avante Dickerson had offers from all over the country. Texas, Ohio State, Michigan, USC and Georgia were just some of the offers he had before picking Oregon. Wide receiver Keagan Johnson picked Iowa over Nebraska, Iowa State and Kansas State.

That brings us to the current class of 2022. Deshawn Woods, Micah Riley, Ernest Hausmann, Kaden Helms and Devon Jackson all have double-digit scholarship offers. All are national recruits at this point. They hold offers within the region and outside of the region. The offers which are pouring consistently show no signs of slowing down. There are more players in the state for the 2022 cycle on the verge of seeing their recruitments take off.

There seems to have been a change somewhere along the way during the 2019 recruiting cycle. That’s when schools from around the country started consistently coming into Nebraska. What stood out to me is how many Big Ten programs are now coming to Nebraska to pluck players. It’s great for the kids to have increased opportunities. It’s up to the Huskers to give them compelling reasons to stay home.

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