Nine players from the Huskers’ 2020 recruiting class have elected to enroll early at Nebraska and those players have already arrived on campus to start classes. Six are high school players, two are junior college players and one is a prep prospect. Having a good number of early enrollees has been a trend for Coach Scott Frost and his staff so far in their time at Nebraska. It also gives the players a nice boost toward jump starting their college careers on and off the field.
To get to know the Huskers’ early enrollees, we’re going to take a look at what they’re getting with each player. We have already looked at defensive back Henry Gray, outside linebacker Blaise Gunnerson and wide receiver Alante Brown. Now let's look at quarterback Logan Smothers.
What his recruitment looked like:
Smothers was Nebraska’s first commitment of the cycle and is the only quarterback in the class. He got the ball rolling for this class back on July 26, 2018. Frost and quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco identified Smothers early but there were many schools that tried to recruit Smothers until he signed. Ohio State, Ole Miss and Florida State were a few of the schools jostling for an official visit from him.
Why he is important to Nebraska:
Having your quarterback locked up that early paid dividends for the Huskers. Smothers became one of the leaders of the class and an active peer recruiter. He built relationships with all Nebraska’s eventual top commits. Turner Corcoran, Blaise Gunnerson and Nash Hutmacher all count Smothers as a leader. Frost and Verduzco could also work ahead on evaluating quarterbacks. It was a luxury to look at "cubes" for the class of 2021 and 2022.
What stands out on film:
Smothers is the complete package at quarterback. He has good mechanics as a passer. He’s an accurate passer with good arm strength as well. Smothers doesn’t get enough love for his passing skill though because as a runner he is dynamic. His top end and speed and elusiveness is something that you can’t teach. Nebraka’s offense will always feature a true dual-threat quarterback under Frost. Smothers’ skills keep a defense honest forcing them to worry about the run and pass.
What type of room he’s walking into:
Nebraska’s quarterback room is the healthiest it’s been since I’ve been covering the team. Returning starter Adrian Martinez enters the offseason with something to prove. After a rocky sophomore season he will have talented players to hold off. Luke McCaffrey and Noah Vedral showed flashes of good play during the 2019 season. Still, Smothers is jumping right into the mix.
“I want guys who want to compete,” Frost said during his signing day press conference of Smothers. “When you talk about the best programs in the country, usually they’re already loaded with people at position. The kids who have the right frame of mind and want to come in and win the job anyway. We hit it off with Logan right away. Him and [Quarterbacks Coach] Mario [Verduzco] have an unbelievable relationship. He is the type of kid I want on our team and the type of kid I want to coach. We are going to get started with him right away in January.”
Why it’s important that he arrives early:
Smothers has good size (6-2, 180) but there is always room for improvement there. Going through winter conditioning will only help his development. More importantly being on campus early allows him to dive into the playbook and build rapport with his new teammates. He hopes to compete for the starting quarterback job this spring. Smothers faces tough competition against an entrenched veteran. Not to mention a rising star with McCaffrey. The jump start is important for Smothers. It may even the playing field a bit if Martinez is limited this spring. He underwent surgery after the season ended.
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.