The Huskers are putting the finishing touches on the 2022 recruiting class ahead of signing day in February. That doesn’t mean 2023 recruiting isn’t in full swing.
The team hosted its first Junior Day on Jan. 22 with prospects from all over the country. It was a great opportunity for Nebraska to get players on campus to meet the revamped coaching staff. One of the players that made it to Lincoln is Indiana linebacker Aycen Stevens. The defender (6-4, 210) did not have an offer coming into the weekend but left Nebraska with an offer from the Huskers.
I’d like to thank @BarrettRuud/@coach_frost and the rest of the staff for an offer as a linebacker to play at The University Of Nebraska. Very excited and thankful for this opportunity! 🔴⚪️@SWiltfong247 #GBR@HuskerFBNation @DCHawkFootball pic.twitter.com/DFd0g7jk0V
— Aycen Stevens (@AycenStevens) January 22, 2022
“Getting the offer was unreal,” Stevens said. “We went through all the Junior Day stuff. We went to go eat. They had a whole lunch for us. They asked me and my family to go back up to the offices after we were done eating. We went and talked to Coach Ruud and Coach Frost. We talked for a little bit and he [Frost] told me that he wanted to make it clear that they’re extending an offer out to me. It was really cool a really good experience. Especially because of how good historically Nebraska has been. I feel like they’re going to be really good for the future too.”
Stevens came into the weekend with interest in Nebraska. He had been trying to get to Lincoln for months and it hadn’t worked out. He was supposed to be in Lincoln for the Michigan matchup last season but had just had ACL surgery. He didn’t want to be in the car for nine hours with a hurt knee so he didn’t make it. The next opportunity was to come to Junior Day and he jumped at the chance.
“It was awesome. It compares to all the places I’ve seen before with top of the line stuff,” Stevens said. “It’s even better than during my brother’s recruitment when he went there for a visit. It was really nice facilities. Really nice people. It’s great knowing the stadium gets packed out all the time, that was really nice.”
Aycen’s brother is former Penn State quarterback Tommy Stevens. Tommy graduated from Penn State and transferred to Mississippi State. While Aycen was in Lincoln he spent most of his time talking to Barrett Ruud, Scott Frost and defensive coordinator Erik Chinander. It was nice for him to speak with the Husker coaches face to face for the first time.
“It was awesome especially talking to Coach Ruud,” Stevens said. “I’ve talked to him a couple of times over the phone now. So, this is really my third time talking to him, I think. I really got to know him as a person and as a coach better. Chinander, I’ve been texting with him a lot over the last couple months. I kind of know how he is but it was good actually meeting him in person. Coach Frost is awesome. He recruited my brother too when he was going through it.”
January has been a busy visit month for Aycen and his family. They checked out Miami (Ohio), Nebraska and will head to Purdue Jan. 29 for a visit. The linebacker could be looking at a return trip to Lincoln for the spring game. Distance isn’t really a factor in his recruitment. His family is used to travelling and he is just looking for the best fit.
“I’m really looking for a coaching staff I can rely on,” Stevens said. “Not just in football but in life. Brotherhood in the locker room that I could be in one day is important. I’m a real competitive guy. I want to I want to win where I go.”
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.