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Photo Credit: Greg Smith

Nebraska Recruiting: How Have Huskers Done Landing Top Defenders?

September 21, 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.

A couple weeks ago I took a look into how the Huskers have done recruiting offensive skills players. In short, they’ve done quite well at identifying and landing their top targets on offense. There were naturally some questions that came up. The most common was if the team has been close to that on defense.

The defensive results are interesting when you look through the recruiting classes.

The 2019 recruiting class was Scott Frost’s first full class. The team signed three defenders that found themselves very high on the Huskers big board. The Huskers fought hard for inside linebacker Nick Henrich, defensive lineman Ty Robinson and defensive back Noa Pola-Gates. Each player had lots of options from around the country and were highly-rated. What’s also interesting about that class is that the two players that have played the most on defense were not heavily recruited.

Outside linebacker Garrett Nelson and defensive back Quinton Newsome have already carved out roles for themselves on the defense. It’s also worth noting that the coaching staff and players are very high on Myles Farmer. He could have future star written all over him.

The 2020 class is where things start to get shaky as of now. It stings that the top three defensive players from the class have already left campus. Linebacker Keyshawn Greene was a huge win at the time for the Huskers. Swooping into Florida to get defensive back Jaiden Francois was encouraging too. Another defensive back Henry Gray was a 4-star prospect who left quickly. It hurts how your class is perceived if the top guys transfer out before playing a down.

There is no denying the excitement around defensive lineman Nash Hutmacher. He feels like a future starter for the team. Beyond that it’s too early to make sweeping judgements.

There is a perception gap between offensive and defensive recruiting under Frost. It’s has been more likely that Nebraska lands top choices on offense. Especially when you factor in the offensive line. They signed Bryce Benhart, Turner Corcoran and soon Teddy Prochazka in consecutive classes. That probably should be the case since offense is where Frost’s identity is.

The Huskers have landed some good pieces on the defense in the last couple years. They just haven’t played as quickly as their counterparts on offense. It’s been more likely that the Huskers find under the radar talent. Cam Taylor-Britt or Braxton Clark are a couple examples on defense so far.

It will be fun to track long term how this plays out but so far the defense is lagging behind the offense on star power. They have been able to bridge the gap with development and strong evaluations. That can also be a winning formula.

Recruit Watch

>> Running back target Tavierre Dunlap committed to Michigan over the weekend.

>> Norris 2021 tight end James Carnie got his first Power Five offer on Saturday when Iowa offered him a scholarship.

>> Talented 2022 linebacker target Tyler Martin also committed to Michigan over the weekend.

>> Check out this big hit by 2022 linebacker target Gavin Meyers out of Kansas from his game on Friday.


>> Nebraska’s hard work on the recruiting trail led to 2022 tight end Max Whisner taking a trip to Lincoln (Premium) this weekend.

>> Lauren Stivrins has grown into quite the leader at Nebraska as Jacob Padilla details in his magazine feature.

>> Amid uncertainty Nebraska hopes sports don’t hit a “critical mass” any time soon.

>> Nebraska volleyball is turning its attention to spring as their destination is unknown.

>> Kearney Catholic is looking to rebound from the first adversity of the season following a 33-7 loss over the weekend.

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