Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Nebraska Recruiting: Examining The Ohio State Juggernaut

October 22, 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.


The Huskers face off against Ohio State this weekend to open the 2020 football season. Nebraska will be huge underdogs. Vegas has the line at anywhere from 21 to 26 points. Nebraska’s recent history isn’t the only reason for that. This is a testament to the Buckeyes’ ability to reload seamlessly.

The reason for that is recruiting and development. The Buckeyes are picked to be one of the top teams in the nation this year. That’s despite losing 10 players that were selected in last year’s NFL Draft. That included the second pick defensive lineman Chase Young and the third pick cornerback Jeff Okudah. Ohio State has to replace three starters on the defensive line. There is talk that the group could be better overall this year. The team also has to replace three starters from a secondary that was among the nation’s best in 2019.

There is another problem for the Big Ten and Nebraska this weekend. While Young and Okudah are off to the NFL, the next big stars are waiting in Columbus. Former 5-star defensive end Zach Harrison is ready to replace Young. Former 4-stars Tyreke Smith and Javonte Jean-Baptiste are ready to get after opposing quarterbacks. The secondary is the same way which will be led by former 5-star Shaun Wade this season.

On the offensive side of the football, the Buckeyes return a lot of skill position players. The group is led by Justin Fields who was the No. 2 player in the nation in his cycle behind Trevor Lawrence. Ryan Day’s team does have to replace two starters on the offensive line. Yet, the two newly named starters are former 5-stars too. In fact, Nicholas Petit-Frere, who is the new starting right tackle, beat out Paris Johnson for the job. Johnson is also a former 5-star.

To give some perspective on the amount of talent the Buckeyes have amassed they has 66 blue-chippers (4 or 5-star players) on the roster right now. Nebraska has landed 61 such players since joining the Big Ten. A staggering 77% of Ohio State’s 85 scholarship players are considered blue-chip players. The next closest in the conference is Penn State at 56.5%. Nebraska is best in the West this year at 25.9%.

The Big Ten has 20 active 5-star players in the conference. Ohio State has 16 of them.

Football isn’t just played based on recruiting rankings. Ohio State does an excellent job at developing those players. There are other programs that get talent and don’t develop it. Ohio State’s culture is strong too.

The Buckeyes have the program rolling right now. It is unlike any team in the country not named Alabama or Clemson. They are the exception to the rule in the North right now. We’ll see if anyone in the Big Ten can find ways to close the gap.

Recruit Watch

>> The Huskers offered JUCO pass rusher Jae’vien Gill a scholarship on Tuesday.

>> Elkhorn South senior lineman Isaac Zatechka released his regular season highlights.

>> Check out 2022 offensive lineman George Maile getting some pancakes.

ICYMI

>> As I wrote, Ronald Thompkins’ comeback story is just getting started at Nebraska.

>> The Huskers need Caleb Tannor to be a big-time player this season. He’s working to close the gap and become and every-down guy this year.

>> In the latest Padding the Stats, Jacob Padilla ranks the position groups by confidence level.

>> This week’s Mind Your Own Podcast reminds you to not forget grace in 2020.

>> Husker head coach Scott Frost met with the media one final time Thursday after practice to tie up some odds and ends before his team departs for Columbus on Friday.

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