Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Tony Tuioti Visits a Pair of Versatile JUCO Defensive Lineman

October 23, 2021

The last time the Huskers signed a player from junior college was the 2020 recruiting class. That cycle the team added a handful of JUCO players. Jordon Riley, Niko Cooper, Eteva Mauga-Clements, Nadab Joseph and Omar Manning all signed. The team hasn’t been shy about recruiting players from junior college. Coach Scott Frost has tried to use many ways to add talent.

Defensive line coach Tony Tuioti’s hit the road during the bye week. His first stop for recruiting was Independence Community College in Kansas. That was the most recent school for Joseph, so the Huskers are familiar with the program. Defensive line coach Pierre Leonard says things came together quickly with the Huskers’ visit.

“It was great to have Coach Tuioti out,” Leonard said. “They just decided to come out and check Jeffrey [M’ba] and Asi [Langi] out. They just wanted to see them in person. They got to see our other guys, too. We get some length on our team. Not only height but it’s length when it comes to football and quick twitch. They saw some other guys out there that they liked as well. It was just a blessing. It’s great to meet coaches and learn little tidbits from them. I’m always learning, always trying to get better. It’s the same thing I preach to my players so I do it and live it in my coaching life as well.”

The Huskers offered Langi on Thursday. Langi (6-6, 315) has the potential to be a nose tackle in the Huskers’ defense. He was committed to Maryland at one point but has since left the Terps’ class. He’s pretty open right now to a lot of schools and new schools show interest in him each week. South Florida was his most recent new school to offer along with Nebraska.

M’ba [6-6, 305] is an intriguing player that the secret is out on. West Virginia, Arizona State, Houston, Minnesota, North Carolina State, Mississippi State, USC, Nebraska, Florida Atlantic and Miami each offered M’ba scholarship in the last month. M’ba has spent time in France and the Congo on a twisting road to get to this point. When I spoke with Leonard, the pair were on a trip to Miami to check out the Hurricanes. Michigan will get a visit from M’ba as well. He is sorting out the rest of the dates.

There have been a lot of schools coming by Independence to check out this pair of defensive linemen. Leonard feels like a different school is visiting daily or setting up a visit. He noted that the strengths of the two players are important for the team’s defense.

“Run stoppers. That’s the strength of both of them,” Leonard said. “Both of them can rush the quarterback as well. Right now, we’re sitting at third in the country in sacks. That doesn’t just come from blitzes. It comes from the defensive line getting after them, too. To be fourth in the country in sacks, and I think we are second in the country with rushing yards allowed, with those numbers, that’s led by those two.”

The Huskers will be after immediate impact players. Junior college and the transfer portal could help bolster the team in 2022. It sounds like making the stop in Kansas was a smart place to start looking for them.

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