There’s good reason for a player to enroll early if they’re able. "I would say it probably doubles your chances of contributing or playing as a freshman," Coach Scott Frost has previously said, which is why he and his staff have put an emphasis on it in their time at Nebraska. The Huskers, as a result, have nine early enrollees from the 2020 recruiting class. Those nine—which includes six high school players, two junior college players and one prep prospect—are already on campus, in classes and participating in winter conditioning.
To get to know the Huskers’ early enrollees, we’re looking at what they’re getting with each player. We’ve already looked at defensive back Henry Gray, outside linebacker Blaise Gunnerson, wide receiver Alante Brown, quarterback Logan Smothers and offensive lineman Turner Corcoran.
Now let’s look at defensive back Jaiden Francois.
What his recruitment looked like:
The Sunshine State defender had a wild recruiting journey on his way to Nebraska. Francois left Miami’s recruiting class on Oct. 4, 2019. That was actually the third and final time he de-committed from Miami. He took an official visit to Nebraska the weekend of the Wisconsin game.
Francois elected to make his decision public on the first day of the early signing period but it was not without drama. He was visibly upset at his signing cermony due to rumors that defensive backs coach Travis Fisher was leaving Nebraska. Those rumors turned out to be untrue and Francois stuck with his Nebraska decision. Aside from the Huskers and Hurricanes, he held offers from Auburn, Florida State, Ohio State and others.
Why he is important to Nebraska:
Francois is one of many talented Florida natives heading to Lincoln. Pulling a highly-rated player out of South Dade High School that Miami wanted is no easy task. It showed again that Nebraska and Fisher have real staying power in Florida. The door is now wide open for Nebraska to continue pulling kids from the state.
What stands out on film:
Francois fits the mold of what Fisher likes in his defensive back recruits. He’s long, athletic and tough. Watching his film, I noticed that he plays about every position in the secondary. He plays press coverage, zone, nickel and safety. That type of versatility is key for Fisher and will help him see the field sooner. I think his more natural position is safety. Reading the offense and coming downhill is a specialty of his.
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. This is the deepest position group on the team now before you count in the four defensive backs in the 2020 recruiting class.
Why it’s important that he arrives early:
Any incoming defensive back will be best served by starting college early. Getting bigger and stronger is nice but the real key is learning under Fisher. Going through spring ball and learning his techniques and the playbook will be key for Francois. He will have a chance to make an early move for at least a special teams role in Year 1. There is a lot of tough competition in his group so any extra help is needed.
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.