Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Nebraska Recruiting: How Nebraska’s 2023 Recruiting Class Compares to Big Ten, Past

February 05, 2023

The 2023 recruiting cycle has essentially closed. Recruits can still arrive on campus in the fall and the transfer portal opens again after spring ball. But, for all intents and purposes, this recruiting class is finalized.

Head coach Matt Rhule and his coaching staff brought in dozens of new faces for a competitive spring. In total, 41 players are now signed to play in the fall who weren’t with the team when Rhule was introduced as head coach the day after Nebraska beat rival Iowa for the Heroes Trophy. Twenty-seven of them came from high school, one came from junior college, 11 came via the transfer portal and two re-joined the team after entering the portal for different reasons.

“Now the focus is just purely on the guys that are here,” Rhule said. “There are a lot of winners on this team. There are a lot of guys that I need to do a great evaluation on to help them be the most successful they can be.”

Recruits will develop, grow, sometimes switch positions, and potentially transfer out. This makes it nearly impossible to forecast this recruiting class’ impact. But it’s worth comparing this class to others in the country, the Big Ten or even previous classes at Nebraska.

Consensus recruiting rankings, weighing all four major recruiting databases together with equal shares, puts Nebraska at No. 29 in the 2023 class rankings. That’s fifth in the Big Ten behind Ohio State (No. 4), Penn State (No. 14), Michigan (No. 19) and Michigan State (No. 24). Nebraska’s 24 three-star recruits are the most among any program in the top 40. The Huskers four four-star recruits, however, is the lowest of any team in the top 30. Nebraska, of course, did not sign a five-star recruit in the 2023 class.

All of those metrics surpass Nebraska’s 2022 recruiting class. The program ranked No. 40 in that class (No. 9 in the Big Ten) with three four-star and 17 three-star recruits. Nebraska’s 2021 recruiting class ranked No. 23 nationally (No. 6 in the Big Ten) with four four-star recruits and 17 three-star recruits. It’s worth noting five members of that recruiting class have since left the program.

Nebraska’s 39 additions via the portal and recruiting class is among the most of any program in the country. Colorado, for context, leads the country right now with 43 roster additions through those channels—24 via the transfer portal and 19 signed letters of intent.

Ohio State once again led the Big Ten in recruiting rankings with 19 four-star recruits and a three-star recruit for its 20 signings. Penn State signed 14 four-star recruits and nine three-star recruits. Michigan signed eight four-star recruits and 16 three-star recruits. And rival Michigan State finished just behind with eight four-star and three-star recruits each. No consensus five-star recruit signed with a Big Ten school in 2023.

Recruit Watch

The only newly announced Nebraska scholarship offer went to 2024 running back Peyton Lewis out of Salem, Virginia. He’s a speedy back who proved a dangerous kick returner last season. Lewis went largely unnoticed until January. Schools such as Penn State, South Carolina and Virginia offered him last month. Lewis isn’t yet evaluated by the major recruiting services.

Four-star 2024 recruit Ju’Juan Johnson committed to Colorado last week. The two-way player from Lafayette, Louisiana, chose the Buffs over LSU and Florida. His first offer came from Nebraska during a Friday Night Lights camp last year.

ICYMI

>> Hail Varsity was there to capture the pivotal moments of the No. 4 Nebraska men’s gymnastics team’s clash with No. 5 Michigan. That photo gallery can be viewed here.

>> The Nebraska women’s basketball team returns to the court tomorrow against a struggling Northwestern side. This comes at a pivotal time for the Huskers to get another in the win column.

>> Hail Varsity’s own Jacob Padilla went to the battle between Omaha Roncalli and Ralston on Saturday. Here are a few of the takeaways from Roncalli’s 11-point victory.

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