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Nebraska Recruiting: 2020 Early Enrollees Miss Out on Full Head Start

June 16, 2020

Recruiting never stops and it's easy to miss the top stories day-to-day. Recruiting analyst Greg Smith recaps all things Nebraska recruiting news, analysis and more so you never miss a thing.

Enrolling early is here to stay as a way that student-athletes can get a jump start on their college careers. Every year it feels like Nebraska has more players electing to skip their final semester of high school to join the program early. This year was no different. 

Nebraska had nine early enrollees in total. On offense, quarterback Logan Smothers, offensive lineman Turner Corcoran and wide receiver Alante Brown all enrolled at semester. On defense, defensive backs Jaiden Francois, Henry Gray and Tamon Lynum came early. So did linebackers Blaise Gunnerson and Eteva Mauga-Clements. Defensive lineman Jordon Riley enrolled in January, too. 

Being an early enrollees usually spells good things for playing time in the first year on campus. But then the COVID-19 pandemic swept the country. In the time away, Gray decided not to return. By losing spring practice guys lost a lot of benefits over their other classmates. All was not lost because they did get to participate in winter conditioning. Yet they missed reps in practice to make a move up the depth chart. It was going to be a tough battle for freshman quarterback Logan Smothers to start in 2020. Scott Frost is hopeful that he will bounce back quickly to make up for lost time.

“Obviously with Logan being new and enrolling early, missing those spring practices wasn’t ideal for him, but we’ll get him caught up. We were sad to see Noah Vedral leave, but I feel great about those three kids and some of the ones behind them. That is going to allow us the opportunity to focus the repetitions in fall camp on the three guys. I think they’ll get plenty of reps in fall and we’ll get Logan caught up.” 

Thinking back to March, quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco was pleased with what he saw from his young signal-caller on day one of spring ball. 

"Logan, man, he’s going to be a good player for us," Verduzco said. "He’s doing real well. I gave him our preliminary quarterback test and he frickin’ ripped it apart. I just wanted to make certain that he was on his toes. From an athletic standpoint, he’s as good as anybody we could have.

"Now, can he match that with understanding the playbook? By what I saw of him (during the first spring practice on Monday) and the reps that we did give him, he feels pretty comfortable." 

Voluntary workouts are going on right now for the football team. Everything looks on schedule to start football activities next month. One of the big subplots of the summer will be how much those early enrollees missed out on. Coaches around the country will settle on early depth charts. Leaning on experience might matter even more in what could be a strange season on the football field.

Recruit Watch

>> Nebraska linebacker commit Chris Paul was offered by Tennessee on Monday evening. 

>> Nebraska wide receiver target Eric McAlister picked up an offer from Wisconsin. 

>> Council Bluffs tight end Thomas Fidone added another big offer to his list when USC became the latest school to offer him.


>> With football on the horizon let’s do a fun Buy or Sell for Indiana Hoosiers football in 2020.

>> One of the biggest football notes from Frost’s time with reporters on Tuesday was that the offensive line has been “fast-tracked” to make room for a young offensive tackle. 

>> Derek Peterson has your recap on what Frost had to say during his Zoom call including test protocols, talks with his team about racial tension and more. 

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