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Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Nebraska Recruiting: Battles Won, Home Turf Defended in June Recruiting Wars

July 06, 2023

The summer recruiting dust has finally settled. Standing among the top programs in the country is Nebraska, which added a mind-boggling 17 commitments in a hectic six-week sprint starting with Daniel Kaelin’s decision to flip his commitment to Nebraska. Kaelin became an effective peer recruiter in that moment, a quarterback on the trail helping assemble his future teammates. And now the Huskers are ranked inside the top 20 (No. 15 in the 247Sports Composite) in terms of 2024 recruiting classes.

Now that everyone’s caught their breath, let’s take a deeper look at those 17 and what their summer decisions mean for Nebraska.

First, the Huskers added Ainsworth tight end Carter Nelson. The top-100 overall, 4-star recruit was being heavily courted by Georgia, Penn State and Notre Dame so his decision to commit to Nebraska marks a significant flag planting for Matt Rhule and his staff. Nelson is the highest-rated in-state recruit in over a decade and the 8-man standout is staying in Lincoln. The Huskers also added in-state standouts Dae’vonn Hall and Isaiah McMorris from Bellevue West. Those two talented receivers chose receivers coach Garret McGuire and Nebraska over offers from USC, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Don’t forget Omaha North athlete Donovan Jones, a 3-star athlete that flies under the recruiting radar but stood out to coaches during the camp season.

Nebraska also dipped into Texas to ensure the pipeline is flowing at full potential. Braylen Prude (3-star hybrid linebacker), Carlon Jones (3-star defensive lineman), Kewan Lacy (3-star running back) and Mario Buford (4-star defensive back) all committed to Nebraska during the summer stretch. Coaches like Prude’s potential and growth, Jones is a budding force on the Bay City line, Lacy held offers from programs like Alabama before committing to Nebraska and Buford picked the Huskers despite recruiting charges from Penn State and Michigan State. That collective bunch shows the merging of Rhule’s mentality and the status Nebraska’s held for years. Buford, for example, has been on the Huskers’ recruiting radar for nearly 2 years. He was in good standing with the Huskers even before the coaching change. The other three certainly show the added attention to the Lone Star State. Prude, especially, shows an emphasis on in-person camp evaluation.

The Huskers also added 3-star prospects Callen Barta, Rex Guthrie, Kamdyn Koch, Quinn Clark, Evan Taylor and Jake Peters after eye-catching camp performances. For whatever reason, their collective interest from Power 5 programs is sparse. Taylor is the only one with an outstanding offer thus far (Rutgers). The rest either have not received offers through interest from Power 5 programs or have been overlooked altogether.

Then there’s recruiting battles won. Not only did Nebraska come away as big winners for Nelson, Lacy and Buford, they seized two other noteworthy commitments. Three-star interior offensive lineman Landon Davidson picked Nebraska over Colorado State, Washington State, Iowa and Kansas. Davidson, from Broomfield, Colorado, also holds an offer from Colorado. Deion Sanders’ staff offered him back in January. But the 300-pounder on the interior chose the Huskers after a camp offer. Jacory Barney Jr., a 4-star receiver from Miami Palmetto, chose Nebraska over Miami. That came as a surprise to most as the Hurricanes seemed to gain significant momentum on the talented pass catcher. The speedy, twitchy playmaker made his decision after official visits to Miami and Texas A&M. That leaves the Huskers in good standing during the current dead period.

Recruit Watch

Cross County standout tight end Tanner Hollinger and Omaha Central offensive lineman Caleb Pyfrom both committed to Illinois in the last week. Both 3-star recruits took official visits to Lincoln during June and there was some buzz Pyfrom could pick Nebraska. Instead, they’ll both stay in the Big Ten but do so by heading east of the Missouri River. Joseph Anderson, a 2024 recruit from St. Louis, chose Iowa over Nebraska. The 3-star edge rusher also visited Nebraska.

The Huskers also missed out on 4-star safety Peyton Morgan from Weiss High in Pflugerville, Texas. Morgan chose Texas Tech instead after taking official visits to both. Joey McGuire and the Red Raiders also enjoyed a positive summer on the trail, adding not only Morgan but 5-star receiver Micah Hudson over in-state rival Texas.

Nebraska’s coaching staff extended two new scholarship offers in the 2026 class. Tedarius Hughes and Tedrick Lee, teammates at South Dade High in Homestead, Florida, both announced offers from Nebraska earlier this week. Lee is a physical defensive back and standout wrestler while Hughes takes snaps at both defensive back and receiver.

Lincoln Southeast defensive end and Husker legacy Pierre Allen Jr. received an invitation to IMG Academy on Thursday. The 2025 linebacker/edge rusher already holds interest from Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Kansas and Nebraska.


>> Keisei Tominaga is coming back to Nebraska. His hot hand helped the Huskers make a late-season surge to briefly resuscitate post-season hopes. Hail Varsity staff writer Jacob Padilla broke down tape from Tominaga’s final nine games of last season.

>> Nebraska football strength and conditioning coach Corey Campbell joined Jessica Coody on a recent episode of Sports Nightly. He provided updates on summer workouts, the new facilities and what in the world “The Ten” actually is.

>> The Nebraska soccer team added a third full-time assistant coach in former Husker Savannah Anderson-Baer last month. Hail Varsity has more on her hiring along with other Husker soccer notes.

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