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Nebraska Recruiting: Evaluating Film More Important Than Ever

June 14, 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.

There is no denying at this point that the 2021 recruiting cycle—and likely 2022—will be much different than previous years. The COVID-19 pandemic and response to it has touched every aspect of American life. College football recruiting has certainly been impacted in a large way. 

On-campus visits by prospects and their families have been on hold for months now. A huge part of the recruiting puzzle has been missing. Schools have adapted by conducting virtual visits and Zoom calls have been in overdrive. There is a big thing that prospects miss from not being able to visit campuses though, and that is getting a feel for what a school is like through their own eyes versus what a staff is telling them. 

Virtual visits are a great tool but there is no substitute for getting on campus. Many are keeping a close eye on when the current dead period ends and whether or not official visits will happen this fall. Lincoln College Prep coach William Lowe is keeping an eye on that personally. He has several players being recruited, including Huskers defensive end target Tobechi Okoli.

“It'll all depend on when the dead period opens back up for kids to take official visits,” Lowe said. “I know with Toby there are some schools in the SEC that he would at least like to look at but the longer that goes, they just extended it all the way through July. I don't know what's going to happen. It's really tough on the kids. If a kid gets an offer from a school and was never able to visit it, it's really hard on them right now, especially to commit.”

One hidden benefit to those on-campus visits for the coaches is the ability to verify if a prospect's size is accurate. Being able to verify prospects’ size and testing numbers was also a huge component lost by losing camps. The ability for coaches to work directly with prospects in those settings is key too. It also goes the other way. Prospects like to see what type of instruction their potential future coaches give. Prospects that go to national camps like the Five-Star Challenge and Nike’s The Opening have an opportunity to get rated or re-rated.  

So, what’s going to fill that void in the evaluation process for the 2021 cycle?

In my eyes, film work has been very critical this cycle. Having a coaching staff that is diligent in watching film with a recruiting staff that has an eye for what the coaches want is key. That will especially be important when high school football starts around the country. Senior film evaluations will be a big deal for so many prospects. There are also senior risers around the country hoping for offers. Senior film might also rearrange the recruiting boards for staffs around the country. 

This year more than ever fans will need to be patient with early recruiting rankings. Everything is so fluid. A large number of prospects still need to be seen to get a true evaluation of their talents but the staffs that have an eye for talent could be rewarded down the road. 

Recruit Watch

>> Isaiah Newcombe, son of former Husker Bobby Newcombe, committed to UCLA over the weekend. 

>> LSU got a big 2022 commit when Husker quarterback target Walker Howard elected to verbally commit to them.

>> Texas wide receiver Latrell Nevile has a commitment date in mind which has Husker fans quite excited. 


>> The head coach of the latest Husker commit Will Schweitzer joined Hail Varsity Radio to discuss what type of player fans can expect. 

>> Former Huskers organized and led the NOT ONE MORE LIFE. March on Saturday. 

>> Nebraska film study rolled on to look into defensive end Casey Rogers and how last season went for him. (Premium)

>> In the latest Varsity Club podcast, I joined Derek Peterson to discuss my story on the making of Wan’Dale Robinson for the 2020 Hail Varsity Football Yearbook.

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Tags: 2020