Nine players are enrolling early in January from Nebraska’s 2020 recruiting class. That group includes six high school players, two junior college players and one prep prospect. It’s an interesting mix of players too, all of whom will have a chance to jumpstart their college careers by getting on campus early.
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. We’ve already looked at defensive back Henry Gray. Now we turn the attention to outside linebacker Blaise Gunnerson.
What his recruitment looked like:
Gunnerson joined Nebraska’s 2020 recruiting class last July. He was one of the players in the class that took advantage of the ability to take an early official visit over the summer. He delayed the start of his official visit clock so that he could compete in the Friday Night Lights event. He impressed everyone in attendance with his pass rush moves. The U.S. All-American Bowl selection had several scholarship offers but the Huskers held off Iowa State for his signature.
Why he is important to Nebraska:
Winning the battle for Gunnerson over the home state Iowa State Cyclones wasn’t easy. Nebraska made him a priority early on and defensive coordinator Erik Chinander took the lead on his recruitment. The outside linebacker (6-5, 250) is another key cog in the Huskers efforts to continue bringing in talent from Iowa. He also plays a position of need in the 2020 class. Nebraska needs to continue adding potential impact outside linebackers. They hit the mark with Gunnerson.
What stands out on film:
Nebraska needs an outside linebacker that can hold up in the run but also get after the quarterback. In the time the Huskers have been running the 3-4 defense, they have had a tough time finding players that can do both. When I saw Gunnerson play during his senior season, I saw plays like this that show his pass rush ability. If developed properly, he could be a huge asset for the Huskers’ future defense.
What type of room he’s walking into:
The outside linebacker group is a work in progress. JoJo Domann, Caleb Tannor and Garrett Nelson all return. Jimari Butler and junior college transfer Nico Cooper will also enter the fray during the summer. There is a potential logjam at inside linebacker. It might make sense for one of them to move to outside linebacker. The question marks in that position group makes snaps available this fall.
Why it’s important that he arrives early:
Gunnerson will arrive in Lincoln more developed than most freshmen that come in to play in the front seven on defense. That will help him but the big question for him will be when is going to be healthy enough to play. Gunnerson did not take part in the All-American Bowl while recovering from corrective hip surgery. His recovery timetable is unknown now so we will see when he can participate. If he can go through some winter conditioning and spring practice, it will be a huge boost for him to find his way in the rotation in 2020.
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.