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Nebraska Recruiting: Huskers Have Lots Puzzle Pieces to Fit Before Early Signing Period

November 30, 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.


Welcome to the offseason for Nebraska football. Although it doesn’t feel like an offseason yet because things are currently busier than ever.

There are many things going on at once as the Huskers try to find ways to improve the team. The Huskers just concluded a disappointing 3-9 season. When that happens in the fourth year of a coaching tenure, there almost always are shakeups. The Huskers have had that since coach Scott Frost elected to fire four offensive assistant coaches before the season was over.

Presumably, those moves were made early so that Frost could get a jump on identifying assistant coaches that he would hire. There is no doubt that Frost is working on finalizing those moves as the offseason gets kicked off. There is a problem. There have been massive shifts in the landscape of college football in recent days. The potential for the fallout after Lincoln Riley going to USC and Brian Kelly going to LSU is real. We’ll see what impact if any that has on Frost’s plans for filling the coaching vacancies.

It’s tough to recruit without having a full staff in place. It’s also difficult when the team doesn’t know for sure which players are returning to school next year. The Huskers have the opportunity for several players to return to Lincoln. The extra year after the COVID eligibility freeze from last year is available. We only know a handful of those decisions for sure. That’s going to impact how the Huskers proceed on the recruiting trail between now and the early signing period.

Identifying good players and fits for the program is a high priority. There are only so many players the team can take in the 2022 recruiting class out of high school. It’s unlikely that the team will find impact freshmen that are interested in the program right now. Taking high upside players that can be developed make a lot of sense, especially for the remaining spots at defensive back, pass rusher and offensive lineman.

Then there is junior college recruiting. The Huskers can’t do everything over these two weeks so I wonder if JUCO recruiting will go on the back burner. The team tried to get interest from a few top defensive backs and pass rushers during the season. It doesn’t feel like there is a lot of traction there at the moment. I could see the team pulling back on new JUCO players. This area could be where the team feels the impact of former coach Ryan Held not being on the staff. He spearheaded the Huskers’ JUCO efforts and picking that slack up on the fly is difficult.

We know Nebraska is planning to go heavy on finding players in the transfer portal. The Huskers need to turn things around quickly. Identifying players that can contribute in the 2022 season is key. It will be easiest for Nebraska to do that through the portal. It’s worth remembering that there are two different types of portal players out there. Nebraska could look for one-year grad transfers. It could find players that have multiple years of eligibility left in college. The way you recruit each is different.

There are a lot of things Frost and his staff have to juggle right now. Nebraska has a high bar to clear this offseason in order to improve the team for the 2022 season. This is just the beginning of that climb. We shouldn’t underestimate how many things have to go right for things to get flipped around.

Recruit Watch

>> Gretna 2023 quarterback Zane Flores posted his junior highlights fresh off a state championship season.

>> Mississippi 2022 defensive back Malcolm Hartzog picked up an offer from the Husker on Monday night.

>> California 2022 defensive end Brodie Tagaloa got a visit from Tony Tuioti on Monday night.

ICYMI

>> The week one of the offseason recruiting tracker is rolling (Premium) with Tuesday updates from the Huskers activity on the road.

>> I’ve got Hail Varsity Radio host Chris Schmidt on this week’s Straight Up Breakdown podcast to talk through the first wave of big news in the college football offseason.

>> As Steve Marik writes, the transfer portal can help Nebraska especially at four key positions. (Premium)

>> Nebraska basketball is ready to hit the road for the first time in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

>> The biggest test of the season awaits Amy Williams’ squad in Winston-Salem.

>> JoJo Domann and Cam Taylor-Britt led Nebraska’s All-Big Ten defensive selections.

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