Official visits during the regular season are fun but the visits in January are when the real action happens. With National Signing Day just weeks away, prospects are much more likely to pull the trigger as opposed to when they take a visit in October. With that in mind, Nebraska will be hosting four (or possibly five) official visitors this weekend, including one long-time commit who will be taking his first trip to Lincoln.
DE | 6-4, 215 pounds | Miami, Florida
Thomas, a weakside defensive end out of Miami, was a surprise commit in August, as John Parrella beat out powerhouse recruiting teams such as USC and Auburn. Despite committing to Nebraska, Thomas never made it onto Nebraska’s campus, leading many to believe that he would not stick with his commitment. Late charges from Maryland, Louisville, Pittsburgh and Florida State made a Thomas flip seem inevitable but Parrella was able to convince Thomas to take his first official visit of January to Lincoln.
Watch for the Husker coaches to put everything on the table to convince Thomas that Nebraska is the place for him. Following his visit to Lincoln, Thomas has official visits scheduled to Pittsburgh on the Jan. 20 and Louisville on Jan. 27.
OT | 6-6, 275 pounds | Lincoln, Nebraska | Currently committed to Wyoming
Nebraska finally made the move on Walker last Friday, officially offered the Lincoln East standout. There are some that will label Walker as a backup plan in case Nebraska misses out on Foster Sarell and Chuck Filiaga, but Walker is a pretty good backup plan if so.
Walker earned first team all-state honors on the defensive line last season and his efforts helped lead the Spartans to a 7-5 record and the Class A quarterfinals. Walker has been waiting for an offer from the Huskers for quite some time now so while he has not yet committed, it may just be a matter of time.
Chance of committing over the weekend: 80%
TE | 6-7, 230 pounds | Carmel, Indiana | Considering Nebraska, Iowa and Maryland
While many Husker fans were busy recovering from the gut punch of Reese Leitao flipping from Nebraska to Texas, Tavita Thompson was busy making a push for longtime tight end target Kurt Rafdal. Rafdal had taken a visit to Nebraska over the summer, but the Huskers backed off after receiving commits from Austin Allen and Reese Leitao. As a result, Rafdal committed to Indiana.
That’s not where the story ends though. Rafdal re-opened his recruitment after Indiana tight ends coach James Patton was relieved of his duties. Nebraska’s has had Rafdal’s visit set for almost two weeks now and no other teams have emerged, meaning the Huskers have a significant lead on the rest of the pack. Watch for Rafdal to commit over the weekend, as the Huskers have recruited him aggressively to fill their final tight end spot.
Chance of committing this weekend: 65%
WR | 5-9, 165 pounds | Buena Park, California | Currently committed to Cal
Nebraska offered Hawkins last February, but the Huskers only came back into the picture in the past seven days. Hawkins visited Nebraska for the spring game last April but committed to Cal soon after, choosing to become a part of Sonny Dykes air raid offense. Now that Dykes has been fired, a surprising move by the Cal athletic department, Hawkins has started to look around. Nebraska will be Hawkins’ first official visit of the cycle, usually a good sign in recruiting.
One thing to watch for regarding Hawkins’ recruitment is that Jamire Calvin still might be on the table for Nebraska. Both Hawkins and Calvin play the same position, and Nebraska is believed to prefer Calvin to Hawkins. I believe Hawkins is Nebraska’s for the taking if he is wanted, but the Huskers may still be holding out hope of flipping Calvin from Oregon State.
Chance of committing over the weekend: If Nebraska takes his commit: 65%; If Nebraska wants to hold on until Calvin chooses: 0%
DT | 6-3, 335 pounds | Lafayette, Louisiana | Currently committed to LSU
Can John Parrella get Shelvin on campus? That’s the question Husker fans will fret over for the next couple days. Parrella has worked tirelessly to get Nebraska into the mix with Shelvin, going toe-to-toe with Ed Orgeron and Nick Saban in the process. Landing Shelvin would be one of the biggest recruiting upsets in recent memory and Parrella looked to have made a move toward that when Shelvin scheduled an official visit for this weekend. Recent rumblings say Orgeron has put the kibosh on those visit plans, but we won’t truly know until Saturday morning.
Chance of him actually visiting: 15%