Coming soon!

We're taking a short break while we put the finishing touches on a fresh, new way of delivering Nebraska athletics content and stories. Visit soon to experience the next evolution of Huskers sports coverage.
Nebraska Cornhuskers come out of the tunnel walk ready to take on Penn State
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Nebraska Recruiting: Huskers Gain Walk-On Commit, Coaching Carousel Fires Up

December 13, 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 Huskers added one of the best seniors in Lincoln to the 2021 walk on class on Sunday. Lincoln Southeast athlete Derek Branch announced he was committing to the Huskers.

Nebraska benefitted when Branch backed off his pledge to attend Cornell. It was a big moment for Branch when he announced his decision.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to play at Nebraska,” Branch told Hail Varsity. “I believe in the direction of the program and wanted to be (part) of turning it around.”

The moment when a high school player picks his college is always special for his parents. In this case, things were a bit sweeter for Branch’s parents. That’s because his dad, Troy, was is a former Husker linebacker.

“My dad played from ‘89-’93,” Derek said. “He always encouraged me to make my own decision but when I settled on Nebraska he was pretty excited.”

Derek intends to major in business administration and plans to be an entrepreneur one day. The Huskers have him slated to start his career at cornerback. He starred at both defensive back and wide receiver for Lincoln Southeast.

He can’t wait to get things started in Lincoln.

“I’m looking forward to meeting all my new teammates and getting to work,” Derek said.


Switching gears, Sunday was an interesting day around college football. We are just a couple days away from the early signing period opening up. Decisions are being made on coaching staffs around the country. Illinois decided that it would move on from Lovie Smith after five seasons. A new coach will be joining the Big Ten West.

Another coaching move was made down south that will have bigger national implications. Auburn fired Gus Malzahn after eight seasons leading the program. Auburn will likely lead a national search that causes more ripple effects. Each time the coaching carousel gets moving in college football recruiting becomes a big focus. It will be difficult for any team making a decision this close to signing day to hold on to its entire class. Once these jobs start getting filled that creates a different set of recruits to make sure they made the right choice.

In 2020, there is also the consideration of the transfer portal. Players from schools with recently fired coaches could look to go somewhere else. With eligibility being frozen this year they have even more incentive to do so. Many expected few jobs to be available this year. The financial impact of the pandemic was supposed to slow things down. But we could be in for a wild ride this offseason.

Recruit Watch

>> The Huskers made the top five for JUCO defensive end Joker Gill over the weekend.

>> Iowa offensive lineman Tyler Maro elected to stay home by committing to Iowa State on Saturday.

>> Beau Schaller, a lineman from Waukee High School, announced he is walking on at Nebraska.

>> Former Scott Frost quarterback McKenzie Milton is staying in Florida. He announced that he will transfer to Florida State.


>> Get ready for some Friday afternoon football. The Huskers are playing Rutgers on Friday at 3 p.m. CT.

>> As Derek Peterson wrote, Senior Day might be the end of the line for some Huskers and it stung.

>> Honesty might be the only way out for the current situation the Huskers are in writes Brandon Vogel.

>> Check out the post-game video from myself and Brandon Vogel reacting to the Minnesota loss.

>> The Huskers had an opportunity to step forward but the offense splintered in the 24-17 loss.

  • Never miss the latest news from Hail Varsity!

    Join our free email list by signing up below.