Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Nebraska Recruiting: Bracing for Potentially The Biggest Recruiting Event in Husker History

March 16, 2023

There may be no bigger recruiting day in the history of modern Nebraska football than next Saturday.

The Huskers start their spring season on Monday. They’re scheduled to practice three other days next week, including Saturday morning. Over two dozen recruits will be in Lincoln for the big Junior Day, potentially in the building to watch parts of that practice. Unlike the vast majority of spring practices, there is no media availability after next Saturday’s practice.

As of Thursday afternoon, two 5-star recruits—Dylan Raiola and Kansas City defensive lineman Williams Nwaneri—are scheduled to visit on March 25. Along with them are 14 4-star recruits and nine 3-star recruits. Those are all members of the 2024 recruiting class. Nebraska is also planning to host 2025 receiver Isaiah Mozee, a teammate of Nwaneri’s at Lee’s Summit North. Not in the era of modern recruiting has Nebraska hosted such a star-studded group on a single day.

Nebraska’s only signed two 5-star recruits since the creation of the modern recruiting database. Running back Marlon Lucky is currently the highest-rated Husker recruit of all time (.9950). Both Raiola (.9996) and Nwaneri (.9954) are rated higher than Lucky. Recruiting analysts called Riaola “college ready” before the end of his junior season. Nwaneri is a rare defensive lineman with incredible athleticism, agility and power.

Also on the guest list next weekend is the nation’s No. 1 offensive tackle, 4-star Brandon Baker out of Mater Dei in California, Rockhurst High 4-star offensive tackle Andrew Sprague from Kansas City and Iowa native 4-star offensive lineman Grant Brix. Three-star offensive linemen Gibson Pyle, Gage Ginther and Riley Sunram are also scheduled to visit. Melissa, Texas, 4-star defensive lineman Nigel Smith, 4-star defensive lineman Jerod Smith from Cheshire, Connecticut, and his 4-star edge rusher brother Jacob Smith will also visit Lincoln.

Nebraska’s hosting 4-star receivers Ryan Wingo (St. Louis), Ryan Pellum (Long Beach, California), Gatlin Bair (Burley, Idaho) and Dae’vonn Hall (Bellevue West). Bellevue West athlete Isaiah McMorris and Omaha Westside athlete Caleb Benning are locked in for in-state visits. Running backs Nathan Frasier (4 star, Mater Dei) and Peyton Lewis (3 star, Salem, Virginia) are scheduled to visit along with 3-star linebackers Michael Boganowski (Junction City, Kansas) and Thomas Heiberger (Sioux Falls, South Dakota).

Carter Nelson, the 4-star tight end from Ainsworth, and 3-star Katy, Texas, tight end Ian Flynt accepted invitations. So is 4-star cornerback Mario Buford, younger brother of Husker starting safety Marques Buford. Nebraska’s only commit of the 2024 class so far, Roger Gradney in Altair, Texas, is visiting Lincoln next week.

Lyndon, Kansas, offensive lineman Kaedin Massey is scheduled to visit Nebraska early next week, as is 2025 quarterback Stone Saunders out of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. More visits are also scheduled after March 25. It’s unsure how many of the Junior Day attendees will return to Lincoln for the Red-White Spring Game on April 22. So far, only Pyle has confirmed he’ll be at both Junior Day and the Spring Game. Although, it is reported Raiola will return for the Spring Game.

Recruit Watch

Bellevue West junior Danny Kaelin committed to Missouri earlier this week, unequivocally putting Nebraska’s full quarterback recruiting attention onto Dylan Raiola. A timeline for Raiola’s decision is unknown. He went to USC last weekend, is scheduled to visit Georgia this weekend and is reportedly set to visit Oregon for its Spring Game on April 29. Those are the only schools, along with Nebraska, left in the mix for his commitment. Current Husker receivers Isaiah Garcia-Castaneda and Roman Mangini (an Arizona native) went to Arizona and worked out with Raiola earlier this week.

Nebraska coaches extended a few new scholarship offers recently. Dakorien Moore, a 5-star receiver out of Duncanville, Texas, in the 2025 recruiting class, received one of those offers. Emmanuel Okoye, a 2024 edge rusher from the NFL Academy in London, England, received an offer. The Huskers also offered a duo out of McKinney, Texas. Zadian Gentry, a 2025 cornerback with 35 tackles and 10 PBUs, and Riley Pettijohn, a 2025 linebacker/safety with 42 tackles and three sacks last season, both received offers from Nebraska. Niether have received evaluations from all major recruiting databases.

Peyton Morgan, a 4-star safety out of 2024 from Pflugerville, Texas, with 143 tackles, 11 PBUs and 10 picks in the last two seasons received an offer as well. As did 2025 receiver Daylan McCutcheon out of Lovejoy High in Lucas, Texas.


>> The Nebraska women’s basketball team pulled away to beat Missouri State on Wednesday night at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Check out the Hail Varsity photo gallery of that game here. Give a listen to the post-game interview with Amy Williams and a few Huskers. The Huskers will play the winner of Thursday night’s game between Colorado State and Northern Iowa.

>> Nebraska swept Omaha in a softball doubleheader on Wednesday. Here are some takeaways from the Huskers’ preseason slate, ahead of this weekend’s Rock Chalk Challenge. When you’re done reading be sure to listen to the new episode of Behind The Plate, Hail Varsity’s softball podcast, featuring Nebraska shortstop Billie Andrews.

>> While brackets bust around the country, the Nebraska men’s team sits on the sidelines. Hail Varsity’s Jacob Padilla examines the Huskers’ season and talks about it on the new episode of the Nebraska Shootaround. The offseason also means attrition. Keep track of Fred Hoiberg’s roster with our tracker.

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