Nebraska Recruiting: How Much of a Priority is Defensive End For 2021?
Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Nebraska Recruiting: How Much of a Priority is Defensive End For 2021?

January 31, 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 class of 2021 is off to a great start for the Huskers. There are three priority targets that were secured early in the process in the class. That group took a hit on Wednesday evening when Florida defensive end RJ Sorensen left the class.

"I want to fully reopen my recruitment process and explore other options that have presented themselves," he said in a statement shared on Twitter. "I thank Coach Frost and his whole staff for being the first group of people to believe in me. Thank you Husker Nation for all the support and love you have shown to during my brief time as a committed Husker."

Sorensen’s departure leaves the Huskers without a defensive line commit in the class. It also left me wondering where landing a high school defensive end ranks on the Huskers’ needs list. There is one way to help determine that answer. Let's check out who Nebraska has brought in at the position in the last few cycles. 


Casey Rogers

Tate Wildeman


Mosai Newsom

Ty Robinson


JUCO Pheldarius Payne

It’s not easy to judge this group based on production. None have seen significant snaps at Nebraska yet and have seen no game action in most cases. Nebraska has one redshirt freshman, two redshirt sophomores, two redshirt juniors and a redshirt senior at defensive end going into the 2020 season. That doesn’t count Ty Robinson who played defensive tackle last season. I'm also not counting Jordon Riley who could play either spot. 

It makes sense for Nebraska to sign at least two defensive ends in the 2021 recruiting class. Scholarship distribution and the number of young linemen in program lead to that conclusion. The good news for the Huskers is that the team has hosted some top targets at the position already. Ru’Quan Buckley, Ryan Keeler and Tobechi Okoli were all in Lincoln last weekend for Junior Day. In Keeler and Okoli’s case, they have been to Lincoln many times. Derek Wilkins was also on campus this month for a visit.

More targets are sure to come through Lincoln during the spring and summer before we get to the season. Plenty of other prospects have the attention of the staff right now. They are just unknown by us for now.

I do think landing top of board targets is one of the biggest priorities in the 2021 recruiting class. Developing more talent at defensive end behind the players on the roster will be key. It'll help in the future to prevent big drop offs in play year-to-year. Defensive end need might fluctuate for 2021 by what we see on the field during the 2020 season.

Recruit Watch

>> Recent decommitment RJ Sorensen picked up an offer from Kentucky shortly after leaving Nebraska’s class. 

>> Las Vegas wideout Michael Jackson III got an offer from Nebraska on Wednesday night. The 6-foot, 190 pound prospect has been racking up offers lately.

>> The Huskers have been making the rounds in Oklahoma recent which has been a focus state under Frost. Jacob Sexton, a 2022 offensive lineman, was offered on Wednesday.


>>Today’s Nebraska Roster Reset is taking a closer looking at the defensive backs. (Premium)

>> Tom’s Time is back to look at a wild game for the Huskers against Oklahoma. 

>> It’s time to run it back with Nebraska’s eight-minute lull against Michigan. (Premium)

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