The Huskers have 10 verbal commitments going into the 2019 football season. To this point, the class is lagging behind in total players but the Huskers have landed some of their top targets. Offensive tackle Turner Corcoran, defensive tackle Nash Hutmacher, wide receiver Zavier Betts and quarterback Logan Smothers were near the top of Nebraska’s overall board for 2020.
There is still work to be done this season on the recruiting trail for Nebraska. The class should more than double in size before the early signing period in December. As the Huskers continue building out the class, what are the key questions and storylines to keep in mind? Let’s take a look.
Hit Rate for Official Visits
For as long as I’ve covered recruiting, the common wisdom has been if you get prospects to Lincoln then you have a shot to land them. In Year 1 of the Frost Era, the data backs that up. The Huskers hosted 17 official visitors in-season that were not committed to the team. Ten of those visitors ended up committing to Nebraska, making the Huskers’ hit rate 59%. For comparison, Wisconsin hosted seven prospects in-season and came away with two commits. Ohio State hosted 10 in-season official visitors that were not committed to them. That includes freshman offensive weapon Wan’Dale Robinson. Just three of those players ended up with the Buckeyes.
It will be worth tracking if Nebraska can maintain or even improve that level of success. With this many open slots in the class, it will be important this year.
Keeping Outside 500-mile Radius Commits in Class
The Huskers find themselves in a unique situation this class. There are two players in the recruiting class that have already used an official visit because Nebraska had the ability to use early official visits this cycle. The Huskers chose to do that with running back Marvin Scott III and cornerback Tamon Lynum. Both Floridians committed to Nebraska before their senior seasons. There is a potential that neither could make it back to Lincoln for a game in the fall. Now we will find out if the distance will allow other teams to work on them.
Sept. 14 and Sept. 28 are shaping up to be key dates for how the 2020 class will be shaped. The Northern Illinois game on Sept. 14 will be the first home night game of the season. Nebraska is already scheduled to have at least three official visitors that night. The matchup with the Buckeyes is shaping up to be one of the biggest recruiting weekends ever in Lincoln. There are already eight confirmed official visitors for that game including No. 2 Greg’s Guy outside linebacker Kaden Johnson. Those two weekends will have a big role to play in how good this class ends up becoming.
Just three of the 10 commits so far play on the defensive side of the football. That means we can expect to see a heavy focus on defensive players the rest of the cycle. That’s a positive thing since the biggest need remaining the class is linebacker. Heading into the season, only Iowa 4-star (HV Rating: 90.6) is slated to play outside linebacker of the 10 commits. Both inside and outside linebacker is a top priority in the class. You will see many linebackers come through Lincoln this fall.
What Will a Big Season Do?
One huge question will be what a big 2019 season on the field will do to elevate recruiting. Specifically, what will a big season do to elevate defensive recruiting? Nebraska has its sights set on a few blue-chip prospects on defense. Jackson Bratton a 4-star (HV Rating: 91.6) inside linebacker, is an Alabama commit. The Huskers are trying to flip the talented defender. He’s scheduled to come to Lincoln for the Ohio State game. Nebraska would like to get 4-star (HV Rating: 93.7) cornerback Dontae Manning on campus. The former Oklahoma commit is a potential game-changer in the secondary.
Can a big season help increase interest blue-chip prospects have this cycle?
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.