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Nebraska Recruiting: Balancing 500-Mile Radius and National Recruiting Priority for Huskers

April 04, 2022

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.


Recruiting at a high level is a balancing act.

It’s always been a tough task for recruiting and coaching staffs to balance everything necessary to recruit well. There are a lot of skills necessary to execute the recruiting part of the job. Good organization skills, communications and a clear vision help.

What types of players does a coaching staff want for each position? How do you evaluate character and intangibles? These are all just a few things that go into a school building a recruiting class each cycle. All this is happening while coaching or evaluating your current team.

One of those big picture tasks is deciding where to try to get players from. Each school has its sweet spot. It has been difficult for Nebraska to rely on the state and surrounding areas to build its roster in the past. Now the talent has continued to swell in the region.

The Huskers have the potential to sign a chunk of the 2023 recruiting class from the 500-mile radius. It’s an area that has been discussed often. The region is now a primary focus of Nebraska’s shifting recruiting efforts. Those efforts are being led by Vince Guinta. He took over running the operation in February as the senior director of player personnel and recruiting. Guinta came to Nebraska after two years at Baylor. He worked under Bill Callahan in the mid-2000s in the recruiting department.

There are two things Nebraska must balance. It is a national program and can go anywhere for players. The school also needs to excel in recruiting the 500-mile radius. Guinta explained the importance during a sit down with a group of reporters on Monday.

“It’s paramount to be able to do that,” Guinta said. “That’s something that we work on every day. We use our relationships and our connections to certain geographical regions. One of the great things about Coach Frost’s staff is that he has guys, with their success that they had at UCF, that have connections in different parts of the East Coast. Then myself and coach [Bryan] Applewhite, and Mickey Joseph we’ve spent a lot of time in Texas and certain parts of the Southeast recently.”

The trick of it is blending that into a cohesive unit. That’s been part of Guinta’s challenge every day. It’s a priority to the program to make sure they keep recruiting the 500-mile radius. The program must also spread out to recruit nationally.

Nebraska is a program that needs to start in the state but be regional recruiters according to Guinta. The program also needs to go out into different parts of the country to recruit. The team has a mixture of backgrounds and personalities on the coaching staff to handle those responsibilities. That focus on the region is the foundation.

“This radius of states around this area produce a lot of good players,” Guinta said. “We brought up the portal earlier and players that are closer to home tend to stay with the programs they choose. That’s something long-term that’s kind of always in the back of my head. There’s no doubt if especially when you look at a program like this, where the ties are so deep to people’s families and to their experiences growing up, it makes a lot of sense to recruit people that it means something to.”

It couldn’t be better timing for the Huskers to reignite their efforts locally. The Power Five talent in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri has continued to grow in recent years. Putting together a stable roster in today’s college football is difficult. Nebraska may have found a path forward if it leans on areas where the program has more ties.

Recruit Watch

>> Class of 2024 Iowa athlete Derek Weisskopt is taking a visit to Nebraska this week.

>> Check out priority 2023 defensive back target Braeden Marshall on the track. Marshall will be in Lincoln for the spring game.

>> The Huskers offered 2023 defensive end from Maryland Devan Houston on Sunday.

ICYMI

>> There is a running list that will be updated through the week of visitors for the Red-White Spring Game on April 9.

>> Scott Frost spoke about the spring game format, progress from the offense and more on Monday.

>> Nebraska volleyball is looking to fill the void left by Tyler Hildebrand this spring.

>> Fred Hoiberg added Adam Howard as an assistant coach.

>> Trey Palmer met with Nebraska media for the first time and we learned that he doesn’t lack confidence.

>> With newcomers and returners alike in the mix for starting jobs, competition has been fierce in the Nebraska secondary this spring.

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