Nebraska and head coach Matt Rhule were credited with compiling a “sneaky good” recruiting class in 2023. That class sees the field in a week as the Huskers start fall camp. But that class comes at a time when it’s incredibly difficult to retain recruits.
The transfer portal is a component of college football. It’s worth fighting as much as the sunrise. Players can now chase opportunity elsewhere if they’re dissatisfied or go elsewhere in the event of a coaching change. Nebraska just made a coaching change. Just one Husker entered the transfer portal in the 30-day period after Scott Frost was fired. That person, Isaiah Garcia-Castaneda, is back with the team. But with Nebraska recruiting at a high level, what is the player retention rate of the other top-20 programs in the recruiting rankings?
Let’s start with the 2022 rankings. Texas A&M scored the nation’s best recruiting class that year with eight 5-stars, including three of the top 10 overall recruits. Of the Aggies’ 30 recruits in that class, seven transferred after one season. Alabama finished No. 2 in the 2022 rankings with 26 recruits. Just three of them have transferred since arriving in Tuscaloosa. Ohio State ranked No. 4 in that class and only one of the Buckeyes’ 21 recruits have since transferred. Perhaps a better comparison for current Nebraska is Missouri, an in-land middling program among giants in a major conference. The Tigers were No. 15 in the rankings and only one of the 19 signings in the class transferred.
Nebraska’s 2022 recruiting class ranked No. 41 in the composite. That’s with the one-year hodgepodge coaching staff at a time of flux. There’s been a complete coaching change since then and the new staff is recruiting at a different level. Having said that, Nebraska’s lost a few from that 2022 class. Top recruit Ajay Allen transferred to Miami after the spring. Richard Torres transferred to Incarnate Word and his hometown of San Antonio. Jaden Gould followed former position coach Travis Fisher to Syracuse. Ernest Hausmann went to Michigan and De’Coldest Crawford returned to Louisiana. Former kicker Charlie Weinrich transferred to Kansas.
Turn the calendar back a year further. Nebraska’s 2021 recruiting class cracked No. 20 thanks to top haul Thomas Fidone. It’s worth noting eight of that class’ 20-recruit team have since left the program.
How many members of Nebraska’s “sneaky good” 2023 class stays in Lincoln after the 2023 season? Guess we’ll have to hang around and find out.
Elkhorn South quarterback Carson Rauner committed to Holy Cross last week. Rauner stepped into the starting role as a junior last year and played well, although was clearly overshadowed by other quarterback play in the Omaha metro area. You can see he and Storm teammate Ashton Murphy, a commit in Nebraska’s 2024 recruiting class, host Lincoln Southeast in the season opener on August 24.
I am extremely honored & excited to announce that I have committed to further my academic & athletic career at Holy Cross. I would like to thank my family, coaches, trainers & teammates who have all played a huge role in getting me here. #GoCrossGo ⚔️✝️⚔️ pic.twitter.com/w5rTy5j77H
— Carson Rauner (@CarsonRauner) July 20, 2023
Speaking of in-state high school football games on opening weekend, there’s some recruit intrigue off the bat. Bellevue West and commits Daniel Kaelin, Dae’vonn Hall and Isaiah McMorris host Omaha North and 2025 commit Tyson Terry in the opener.
>> Hail Varsity has started uploading features from its 2023 Annual Football Yearbook onto its website. Our own Erin Sorensen wrote about Nebraska’s offensive line and Rhule’s belief in them.
>> Another feature in this annual yearbook centers on running back Gabe Ervin Jr. This coaching staff believes in him and he’s repaying them while feeling as good as he ever has. Expect to see No. 22 a lot this fall.
>> With Big Ten Media Days encroaching later this week, be sure to check out Saturday morning’s edition of Hail Varsity Radio. Chris Schmidt, Elijah Herbal and Mark Kraynak talk off-season subjects and Hail Varsity editor Brandon Vogel joins them to discuss the upcoming football season. Catch it on the Hail Varsity YouTube page.