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Nebraska Recruiting: Huskers Keeping Eye Out For JUCO Prospects as Part of Strategy

September 22, 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.

The Huskers are going to need every tool in the bag this recruiting cycle. The class is lagging currently with eight commitments. We know the class size will be small which presents a lot of challenges. Part of the reason why the class is so small is that the team being young. The Huskers have 59 scholarship players that are freshmen or sophomores. The COVID eligibility freeze kept Nebraska young.

The Huskers may need to look at adding more player from the transfer portal to balance out the roster. Another way to balance the roster would be to look at junior college players. What makes JUCO recruiting unique this year? The schedule got out of whack in 2020 for those players. They played in the spring then turned right back around and played in the fall.

Running backs coach Ryan Held leads Nebraska’s efforts recruiting junior colleges. He hasn’t seen big difference in recruiting JUCO players this year.

“I think it looks the same,” Held said. “There’s some JUCO kids that I’m keeping an eye on as they get their games and get for highlight videos in certain positions. Now that they’re through two or three games in, I’m really hammering out with our staff, who do we, who do you feel we need to look?

Held wanted to make sure the other coaches on Nebraska’s staff had a chance to know who the available players are. It’s hard to actively recruit players if the staff doesn’t have a feel for the players they are going after. That also give the kids the best chance to be recruited. There are JUCO players the Huskers are looking at.

“We’re going to be smart with every kid that we take making sure we’re strategic,” Held said. “We have to make sure it makes sense in the whole global picture of what the future looks like for us.”

The impact playing seasons so close together is a wrinkle in JUCO this year. Held has seen players elevate their games because of that. He’s also seen the other side of it where players have taken a step back because the seasons were so close together. Nebraska’s staff is evaluating that like they would for a high school player. Players change between their junior and senior film.

What positions Nebraska could target from JUCO is a moving target right now. Things will evolve as the season goes on. The Huskers do prefer players that can be in Lincoln in January. Getting that extra time with strength coach Zach Duval and his staff is key. That helps jump start their Husker experience.

The Huskers will need to add some older players to the roster before the 2022 season. The team is keep an eye out for players that can help the program.

Recruit Watch

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>> The competition at running back continues (Premium) after Gabe Ervin’s season-ending injury, writes Jacob Padilla.

>> Brandon Vogel dug into the numbers to see how many points the Huskers have left on the field (Premium) in the kicking game.

>> In the latest Mind Your Own podcast Erin Sorensen and Sausha Durkan instruct people on why you should literally say less.

>> Special teams, possible football staff changes and volleyball’s losing streak are a few of the hot topics in this week’s Hail Varsity mailbag.

>> In this week’s Padding the Stats, Jacob Padilla looks at a Big Ten volleyball preview power ranking.

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