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Ryan Held during practice indoors
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Nebraska Recruiting: Huskers Balance Recruiting Nationally with Local Emphasis

April 29, 2021

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.

Since coach Scott Frost arrived at Nebraska, the average distance from home of his high school recruits is 726 miles. It was 706 miles in the 2021 class. That number was bumped up by having Hawaii linebacker Wynden Ho’ohuli in the class. He is from 3,785 miles away from campus.

The thought over this last year is that teams would focus more on recruiting locally because of the pandemic. We certainly saw some of that from Nebraska. They are still always going to recruit nationally. The base has to start within 500 miles. There are a couple reasons for that. In general, it is easier to hold on to players when they are from closer by. Also, the talent in the region continues to get better. The time is ripe to increase Nebraska’s focus on the surrounding states.

“We’re going to nationally recruit and we’re going to go everywhere,” Held said on Wednesday. “But we have to be able to get region kids to stay here. Within 500 miles, that still has to be the main point of emphasis for us and then we branch out as we go. Yeah, we’ll go anywhere to get kids. But again, when you do that, you got to make sure that kid is the right fit and the kid will be able to come to Lincoln, Nebraska, and embrace our culture and embrace what we’re trying to get done.”

Finding the right players that fit the program was a challenge in the 2020 cycle given the attrition we saw immediately from the Florida players. The Huskers were trying to adjust from that cycle.

Another wrinkle was added when the pandemic hit. Recruiting has been challenging with COVID for coaches around the country. They’ve had a lot of Zoom calls with prospects to get to know them. The NCAA relaxed a rule allowing teams to initiate calls with 2022 prospects. That would not have been allowed before the pandemic. Held still feels like there is no substitute for getting in front of prospects.

“Even though we’ve done a really good job, I think, identifying kids and having good relationships, nothing beats a kid coming here and seeing all this and seeing Lincoln and our fans and all the great things we have,” Held said. “Then the new facility that’s going to be starting here soon, that’s going to put us in a whole different category. We got to go in the fall. We got to do our thing in the fall because you know that that’ll be another phase of it. Us continuing to show that we’re getting better and getting this program where it needs to be.”

Nebraska has done a good job stacking quality recruiting classes under Frost. The program isn’t trying to win Signing Day and trophies aren’t handed out for that. Adjustments are being made to how the team sells its vision even if it’s subtle. We’ll see more of that as a busy summer hits for the programs hopes of building a great 2022 class.

Recruit Watch

>> Shelton Sampson Jr., a 2023 5-star wide receiver has been offered by Nebraska. He will be in town for the spring game.

>> Illinois 2022 tight end Henry Boyer has committed to the home state Illini.

>> Check out the pile of information that Nebraska sent out to Elkhorn North 2022 lineman Shan Acharya got.

>> Lincoln Southeast linebacker Jake Appleget got a cool edit from the Huskers.


>> You can take a look at the Nebraska spring game game day forecast and weather updates here.

>> There are no final decisions yet (Premium) but Scott Frost indicated confidence in the quarterback room.

>> The defensive specialists are the subject of Jacob Padilla’s 2020-21 Nebraska volleyball player reviews.

>> Nebraska women’s golf is heading to Columbus for NCAA Regional Play for the first time since 2008.

>> The Huskers’ bullpen is providing a big returns after and offseason overhaul according to Mike Babcock.

>> A leaned out Damion Daniels is feeling as good as ever. He’s hoping to take another step (Premium) writes Derek Peterson.

>> The Husker coaching staff added 10 newcomers to the team this January. See what was said about them (Premium) in the second half of spring football.

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