The recruiting world has been turned upside down by the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. At first, everything seemed to be put on pause. The longer things have lingered the more prospects are moving up their timelines.
Kansas City 3-star (HV Rating: 83.8) wide receiver Jaylin Noel intended to decide on a college later in the summer. Now he has trimmed his list of 14 offers down to only two schools.
— Jaylin Noel (@noel_jaylin) April 24, 2020
“With all the shutdown going on and not being able to do on-campus recruiting I wasn't sure when I would be able to get on campus recruiting going,” Noel said. “With the virus still ramping up and things starting to shut down even more I want to narrow it down to two because I had a good feeling on what two schools I liked.”
Noel has noticed that other recruits have started to commit quickly these days. So he wanted to cut the list down to focus on Nebraska and Iowa State before he decides on a school. He has a really good relationship with both the Cyclones’ and Huskers’ coaching staffs. Both have kept in contact on a regular basis to get to know him better. The offensive fit is there too.
“With Iowa State, they wanted me to play their M position,” Noel said. “At Nebraska, Coach Frost coming from a school like Oregon and running the offense there and seeing what he did with that offense is really cool. With him bringing that to Nebraska I feel like I could fit into that system and make a difference in the program. Also at Nebraska the nutrition plus strength programs are top of the line. Iowa State is trying to make them better and they're doing new things to improve theirs. So those things were really like a big factor in like me choosing those two.”
The speedy pass catcher has been to both Nebraska and Iowa State before. He took two game day visits to Iowa State and went to Ames for a Junior Day. Noel attended a game day in Lincoln last season and a Junior Day in January. His third visit to Nebraska was scheduled for March but it was canceled due to the NCAA mandated dead period. He got to connect with new offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Matt Lubick during that January visit.
“He was hired three days before the Junior Day that I went to which was on my second time going up there,” Noel said. “I was one of the first players he would able talk to and sit down with. He talked to me about his philosophies and how he sees the game. Plus, how he likes to coach so it was really interesting and I feel like we connected very easy after that conversation.
“Then ever since that we were continuing to talk and build a relationship. I feel like he's a really good coach.”
Noel says he hears from running backs coach Ryan Held, Lubick and Frost equally. It certainly stands out to him that he hears from Frost as often as he does.
“It feels really good knowing that they want me and I'm a priority guy,” he said. “Knowing that if I was to choose Nebraska it wasn't just an offer they threw out there. They really see me as a player that can make a difference in the program too.”
Noel heard from commits at both Iowa State and Nebraska wanting to make a sales pitch. He stays in contact with players at each school. During the shutdown he has been busy talking to the Huskers via Zoom and FaceTime to get tours of facilities. It's also been a way to just see how the coaches are doing and stay connected.
If the NCAA extends the dead period then Noel will look to decide in the coming month. If June officials are allowed then he will decide soon after his Nebraska (June 12) and Iowa State (June 19) visits. Either way, he has a solid list of criteria that he will be using to evaluate each school.
“I've always said picking a school there are three things for me. Education is really important to me to have a backup plan. Both of those schools I feel like their education fits me well. Either one, if I was to graduate from would give me a successful career, whether that's in the NFL or not.
“And then second it would be, does it feel like family? Not just during the football season but outside of the football season. Knowing that even after football season that they're there for me, their support and how their culture feels. Then third, can they develop me and help me develop my game get to the next level? Ultimately, my goal is to go to the NFL. So being able to develop my game is a big thing for me.”
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.