As of Aug. 7, 2018, Nebraska sits at 16 known commitments for the 2019 recruiting class. The only commit that didn't make a trip to Lincoln this spring or summer was Ronald Thompkins. Thompkins had plans to make it for an unofficial but travel fell through, keeping him from the visit.
Going into the spring, Nebraska had two official visits left to use to host potential new additions to the roster. The staff used one of those officials on defensive line graduate transfer Vaha Vainuku. That left one official, which is believed to have gone unused.
The visit count has reset and Nebraska has its full allotment of official visits at its disposal. The Huskers already look to have a strong list of official visitors for the regular season debut of coach Scott Frost against Akron.
Before we can get to that though, we need to talk about how remarkable it is that the class is 64 percent full before Nebraska was able to pay for any prospects and their parents to visit Lincoln.
It helps that 10 of Nebraska’s 16 current commitments are from the 500-mile radius, if you count Desmond Bland (who is from Chicago). That did make it easier for Nebraska targets to get to campus during the spring and summer. In the case of players like quarterback Luke McCaffrey, defensive end Mosai Newsom, linebacker Nick Henrich, linebacker Jackson Hannah, athlete Garrett Snodgrass and defensive tackle Ethan Piper, they've all made multiple visits to Lincoln already.
Comparing the strategy Nebraska deployed this spring to Iowa's, you can see that the Hawkeyes have already used their fair share of official visits to hook their commitments.
Head coach Kirk Ferentz told Hail Varsity how many official visits he used during the spring at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago, while also taking the chance to advocate for a rule change.
“It was in the mid-teens, 13-15 in that ballpark," Ferentz said. "You probably know the crazy rule. They moved the visits up but you still don’t start your calendar until August. Someone has to explain that one to me. I know I’m just a dumb football coach but tell me how that makes sense.
"Hopefully next year they’ll move that thing up a little bit. Someone overlooked that thing.”
Four of Iowa’s 14 current commits took an official visit this spring before joining the Hawkeyes' class.
Looking further at the Big Ten West, every one of Wisconsin’s 13 commits have already taken official visits to Madison this spring or summer. In Wisconsin's case, it will be interesting to see if the Badgers can hold onto all their current commits from out of state. If their out of state prospects start taking official visits for game day experiences to other campuses, it could be hard to keep them in the class.
On the flip side of that dilemma, Nebraska was forced to roll the dice that it could land prospects without being able to pay for the trip and meals. Now with game day official visits looming, how good can Nebraska’s class get?
The next few months leading up to the December signing period are sure to produce some surprise visitors in Lincoln. Husker fans are already looking forward to seeing which prospects get to enjoy a game day at Memorial Stadium.
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.