Photo Credit: Greg Smith

Nebraska Recruiting: Heat Turning up on In-State Recruiting for the Huskers

February 10, 2021

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.


In-state recruiting is always a hot topic for college football fans. It doesn’t matter how many players your state produces. No one likes to see that homegrown talent playing for another school. Every head coach seemingly mentions keeping talent home as a priority when taking a new job. It recently happened with Illinois coach Bret Bielema and Texas coach Steve Sarkisian.

The Nebraska coaching staff has a clear understanding of what it means to people in the state to see local players have success. Coach Scott Frost is a Nebraska native. The lead in-state recruiter Barrett Ruud is too. Running backs coach Ryan Held and offensive line coach Greg Austin played here. Recruiting the state well is important to this staff. Times have changed quickly on how much other schools come into the state to recruit. Ruud saw this coming early in his time coaching here.

“When I was coming up, I think maybe other teams were scared off by recruiting in-state players because I think, like me, my decision took 25 seconds to make and I think a lot of kids were like that,” Ruud said. “I think the goal for me is hopefully we get it back to the point where if we offer a kid from Nebraska, we’re just expecting him to commit. Right now, we’ve got to prove it I think there are really good players in this state and I think the guys who get a lot of offers from the state, it’s deserved. I think sometimes there are other cities where maybe guys are over-recruited.

“I don’t think Nebraska’s an over-recruited state by any means but I think now other schools aren’t necessarily afraid to come in to Nebraska and offer really good players.”

The last few recruiting cycles have shown us that schools aren’t afraid to offer players in Nebraska. Look back at the 2019 class. Nick Henrich and Chris Hickman had a variety of offers. Xavier Watts left the state to go to Notre Dame in the 2020 class. Zavier Betts was a national recruit that cycle.

The 2021 class saw the top seven players in the state receive Power 5 interest from outside the state. Nebraska landed five of those players. Keagan Johnson (Iowa) and Avante Dickerson (Oregon) are leaving the state to play college football. The 2022 class is tracking ahead of the pace than 2021 prospects did with offers.

Deshawn Woods, Micah Riley, Ernest Hausmann, Kaden Helms and Devon Jackson all have double-digit scholarship offers. All are bonafide national recruits at this point. They hold offers within the region and outside of the region. The offers which are pouring in daily show no signs of slowing down. There are more players in the state for the 2022 cycle on the verge of seeing their recruitments take off.

It has been a thought for a year now that the battle for 2022 in-state recruits was going to be fierce. The early list of offers for those players is impressive. That’s before any camps this summer or senior seasons. It shows there will be a lot of work to be done. It’s great for the kids. They are getting increased exposure and recognition for their talents. That can only help more kids get noticed in the state moving forward.

Recruit Watch

>> North Dakota 2022 athlete Carson Hegerle had a good virtual visit with the Huskers recently.

>> Elkhorn South 2023 defensive lineman Maverick Noonan was offered by Iowa State.

>> Check out the edit that Husker linebacker target Ernest Hausmann posted.

ICYMI

>> Husker coach Amy Williams gave plenty of updates and talked about Issie Bourne working back into the fold in a radio appearance last night.

>> In the latest Mind Your Own podcast, Erin Sorensen and Sausha Durkan discuss how to be an ally and more.

>> Jacob Padilla is previewing the 2021 Heartland Hoops Classic in the latest Padding the Stats.

>> The Hail Varsity staff is back to answer your questions in the mailbag including who is on our personal Mount Rushmore of sports.

>> Check out 5 thoughts on the hoops game between Waukee and Bellevue West.

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