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Nebraska Recruiting: Huskers Have More to Balance on Trail Than Meets the Eye

May 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 landscape of college football recruiting is rapidly changing. Which portions of recruiting have changed most varies from school to school. The transfer portal, name, image and likeness and one-time transfer rule all play a role. We’ve seen the Huskers attempt to adjust to everything happening in college football on the fly. Coach Scott Frost spoke about that recently on Sports Nightly.

“The new way of college football is going to be doing your best to recruit for positions, expecting attrition, expecting to lose some kids and then going out and fill the gaps you have,” Frost said. “I think that’s just going to be the way it is.”

The changes in college football have made things more difficult for the Huskers. There are other factors, too. The Huskers are undergoing their own set of changes. There has been more of an effort to recruit regional prospects. The talent in the region has continued to improve on a yearly basis, and this is one of the best years yet. Nebraska is also trying to rebuild relationships with in-state high school coaches. The program has seven offers out in the state for the 2023 class.

It’s part of the Huskers’ evolving strategy to build the team with regional recruits from the Midwest. The program is trying to land players from other parts of the country to boost team athleticism. Those are two competing philosophies on the surface. The Huskers need to be a developmental program. That’s hard to do while chasing top recruits and splashy portal additions. In some ways, Nebraska is trying to recruit like Ohio State and Iowa at the same time.

There is another wrinkle unique to Nebraska. The addition of four new offensive assistant coaches gets new recruits on the big board. It’s a tall order to get everyone on the same page about recruits. The team has to evaluate the recruits the team previously made progress with. That needs to be matched up with players the new coaches think they should be recruiting.

All that is enough to recognize the Huskers are walking a recruiting tightrope. The evolving offensive and defensive philosophies complicates things for Nebraska. Nebraska is trying to marry Mark Whipple’s offensive philosophies with Frost’s spread. The team has also steadily moved toward playing more 4-3 defense. Each year the defense runs less of the 3-4 it arrived in Lincoln running.

All those schemes require different players. The skill sets of defensive linemen playing in the 3-4 are much different than those playing in a 4-3. It’s hard to change those recruiting profiles in a fifth year of a coaching staff. Being “multiple” on offense and defense is great in theory. If done correctly it presents a lot of problems for opposing teams. The danger Nebraska runs is not having a clear vision for the types of players its recruiting. It also takes years to change the types of players a program is recruiting.

This developing situation makes for an intriguing subplot for the 2022 season. It’s not impossible to pull off what Nebraska seems to be attempting. It just raises the degree of difficulty in a critical season where progress needs to be made on the field.

Recruit Watch

>> Priority wide receiver target from Missouri, Joshua Manning, was offered by Stanford this weekend.

>> Archbishop Bergen athlete Kade McInytre received his first Big Ten offer when Minnesota offered him.

>> Nebraska 2024 tight end target Christian Bentacur was also offered by Stanford recently.


>> I have three burning questions for Nebraska recruiting this summer that have my attention.

>> Drake’s Takes are looking at NIL debates and Ochaun Mathis’ transfer this week.

>> Trent Hixson stuck it out and now he has an opportunity in front of him as Steve Marik wrote.

>> Ashland-Greenwood guard Cale Jacobsen committed to walk on at Nebraska this weekend.

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