Nebraska’s 2020 recruiting class features nine players that are enrolling early in January and there is an interesting mix of players arriving in Lincoln early. Of the nine early enrollees, six are high school players, two are junior college players and one is a prep prospect. Early enrolling should give these players a nice boost when it comes to jump starting their college careers.
In order to get to know the Huskers’ early enrollees, we’re going to take a look at what they’re getting with each player. First up is defensive back Henry Gray.
What his recruitment looked like:
Gray became the first in-season commitment for Nebraska’s class of 2020 last September. Gray visited Nebraska for the Northern Illinois game with his parents. His player hosts were fellow Florida natives Dicaprio Bootle and Deontai Williams. At one point he was committed to Miami but held offers from the likes of Florida, Michigan, Penn State, Ohio State.
Why he is important to Nebraska:
Gray gives the Huskers another versatile defensive back for defensive backs coach Travis Fisher to cross-train at both safety and cornerback. The Florida defender does not shy away from contact which is a valuable trait if you are going to play defensive back in the Big Ten. Gray wasn’t the first commitment from Florida to join the class but he was one of the most vocal peer recruiters the Huskers. He was active on social media when players got offers from Nebraska or announced they were taking visits. That paid dividends down the road for the class as he helped recruit players like Marcus Fleming, Jaiden Francois and Keyshawn Greene.
What stands out on film:
Most of Gray’s recent highlights are of him making tackles. He shows a good ability to change direction while being decisive in what he needs to do. On the play below, he recognizes the quarterback is scrambling, breaks out of coverage and closes the gap quickly to make the tackle. That skill can help the Huskers in improving their run defense. It will also help on special teams where Nebraska needs a boost of athleticism.
What type of room he’s walking into:
The defensive back room at Nebraska is loaded with potential. There are also returning starters in the mix. Cam Taylor-Britt, Dicaprio Bootle, and Marquel Dismuke all return. Projected starter Deontai Williams is returning from injury. Braxton Clark and Quinton Newsome saw time on the field last season. Myles Farmer, Javin Wright and Noa Pola-Gates are waiting in the wings too. Gray’s class features a slew of defensive backs in Tamon Lynum, Jaiden Francois and Ronald Delancy III. Fisher has done a great job recruiting and developing his group. The competition for playing time will be fierce.
Why it’s important that he arrives early:
It is always a nice bonus to get a jump on strength and conditioning going into your freshman season. Getting bigger, stronger and faster will be a priority for any prospect that early enrolls. In Gray’s case, jumping right into the mix for reps at defensive back will be key. He is projected to start his career playing safety. There are three players (Williams, Wright and Pola-Gates) at the position coming off injury. Getting in early should put him in the mix at least on special teams as a way to help the team immediately.
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.