Nebraska Recruiting: ‘Best Player Available’ Approach to JUCO Targets
Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Nebraska Recruiting: ‘Best Player Available’ Approach to JUCO Targets

October 30, 2019

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.


We are just about six weeks away from the early signing period in December. That means we are officially in the home stretch of signing the bulk of the 2020 recruiting class. Nebraska currently has 13 public commitments for the class. There is still a likely nine to 11 spots left to fill. 

Nebraska’s top needs for the class aren’t hard to figure out. Based on how the season has gone, we know that Nebraska needs to get more athletic at inside linebacker, continue to bring in more prospects to groom at outside linebacker and find at least one more bigger wide receiver that can go win 50/50 balls in traffic. Bellevue West start wideout Zavier Betts (6-3, 190) is in the class but more help is needed. 

Since the Huskers have some immediate needs, the question of junior college recruiting has resurfaced as a topic of discussion. Under Coach Scott Frost, the Huskers have brought eight total JUCO transfers into the program. Just like high school recruiting, it’s been a mixed bag. Will Honas and Deontai Williams are two hits from the JUCO ranks as starters even if Honas was injured for most of last year and Williams is injured now. 

Greg Bell was a starter before he left the team abruptly. Wide receivers Mike Williams and Jaron Woodyard have had their ups and downs on the team though they haven’t contributed as much as most expected. Remember defensive back Will Jackson? He didn’t make it to the start of last season. Dedrick Mills is a hit and is now the starter at running back. The jury is still out on defensive lineman Keem Green, though the chatter behind the scenes is positive. 

To finish out this cycle, JUCO recruiting will continue to be monitored as running backs coach Ryan Held explained on Wednesday. 

“I think we’re looking at kind of the best player out there mentality,” Held said. “If there’s a guy we feel like can upgrade a position. This year, there’s a little bit more nonconventional four-for-three guys that are out there that might have opportunities and aren’t just your regular two-for-two that are qualifiers. So, we’re looking like an NFL deal, we’re looking for the best available players. There might be a position more or less that we can find the right guy, but it’s finding the right guy; we don’t want to just take the 10th best JUCO kid that you could get a high school kid that’s No. 3 on your board, or vice versa. We want to really do well and finish up strong in recruiting. 

“I think we got a really good start to it and you just have to grind and finish to the end and work your butt off to get the right kids here that love football, that want to come here and help us get this thing turned around, because we will get it turned around.”

As the calendar turns to November, it will be interesting to see where (if anywhere) the Huskers add a JUCO player. Wide receiver Omar Manning has long been a top target for this cycle. It would be huge for Nebraska to land his commitment. Beyond that it sounds like the staff is keeping things open on taking more JUCO players. 

Recruit Watch

> > Speaking of JUCO recruiting, the Huskers offered Xavier Hutchinson, a wide receiver at Blinn College. He’s committed to Iowa State. 

>> Huskers’ commits Ronald Delancy and Marvin Scott got cool edits from the team. 

>> Outside linebacker target Latarie Kinsler posted some pictures from his official visit to Nebraska last weekend. 

>> Former Nebraska linebacker commit Rodney Groce is still sharing Husker edits on Twitter. 

ICYMI

>> Adrian Martinez is ‘ready to go’ if given the chance against Purdue this weekend. 

>> The Hail Varsity staff is back to answer your questions in the mailbag including which position is most crucial for Nebraska’s next recruiting cycle. 

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