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Nebraska Recruiting: How Portal and Team Results Play a Role in Projecting 2023 Class Size

March 08, 2022

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 questions never stop in the recruiting world. No matter what time of year it is, there is always something to talk about so we take reader and listener suggestions on questions. I then answer the questions in a quick video. This week’s topic is always a moving target as we have learned over the years. Now that the Huskers are off and running with the 2023 class how big will the traditional class be? How will the transfer portal impact the number of high schoolers taken this cycle?

The Huskers ended up taking 18 traditional signees for the 2022 recruiting cycle. That included three junior college transfers and 15 high school prospects. The majority of last recruiting cycle the thinking was that Nebraska would take just 12-15 prospects. That number expanded due to attrition and players leaving for the NFL Draft. The Huskers did not have many players use the bonus year from the COVID eligibility freeze. Nebraska also had 10 transfers that it brought into the program.

We know that one year impacts the next cycle. I would expect about 15 traditional signees in the 2023 recruiting class. That means that the Huskers are actually about one-third of the way done with the class at this point. The team is ahead of schedule putting together this class. There is still plenty of intrigue left with this class. After going through last recruiting cycle, we know that the portal will play a role. Is the 2022 cycle the new normal or just a blip on the radar? Coach Scott Frost addressed this recently.

“Time will tell but I would guess so,” Frost said last week. “I think that is just happening across the board. Teams are not taking full recruiting classes of high school kids and looking for other ways to improve the team. Again, that is going to be a lot of work for the coaches to make sure that you get new guys up to speed on Xs and Os and scheme and terminology and everything else. I think we are probably going to need to be ready to do that every year.”

Nebraska leaned heavily on the transfer portal in the 2022 cycle. That comes with good and bad consequences. It’s a good thing having the ability to change rooms quickly if a talent infusion is needed. That allows you the ability to plug holes on the roster without waiting on young players to develop. The Huskers are trying that this offseason at wide receiver and defensive back.

The downside to loading up on the portal every cycle is that it can hurt team chemistry and culture. It is possible for Frost and his staff to seamlessly bring in transfers on a yearly basis. It just isn’t likely. There is a reason why team building this way isn’t the norm. It is a very high bar to clear to be able to pull this off. There is a much safer route. Nebraska needs to sign top-20 recruiting classes. It can also boost the roster with a handful of portal additions. That would likely be a sign that the program is heading in the right direction.

How the ultimate numbers shake out for the Huskers this cycle will depend on how the team performs this season. If a bowl game is missed again and Frost returns we will likely see a high number of transfers. If the team performs well, we will likely see the transfer number return to just a handful.

Recruit Watch

>> Bellevue West 2024 quarterback Daniel Kaelin was offered by Michigan State on Monday.

>> Nebraska pass rushing transfer portal target Jordan Domineck is heading to Arkansas.

>> Scottsbluff 2023 offensive lineman Brock Knutson was offered by Wyoming after taking a visit.

>> Lincoln East 2023 athlete Malachi Coleman was offered by Colorado State on Tuesday.

ICYMI

>> The March edition of the Greg’s Guys list is out and prospects in the trenches are making a move.

>> Bryce McGowens picked up a number of honors on Tuesday including the AP’s Big Ten Newcomer of the Year.

>> ‘Mature’ defensive back Marques Buford’s mentality is helping him get into the conversation for the Huskers.

>> As Steve Marik writes, those in the know like what they see from Casey Thompson so far.

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