Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Nebraska Recruiting: Huskers Offer McKinney, Texas, Duo With Potential Third on the Way

March 21, 2023

The current football players at McKinney High School in Texas may not know about Nebraska football and its legacy. They may not even know what Matt Rhule’s arrival in Lincoln meant. Or the calamity that’s ensued among the Husker fanbase.

But their head coach does.

“I think Matt Rhule is one of the best head football coaches in the country. That’s based off the things he’s done in his career, things I’ve seen him do at Baylor,” McKinney High School head coach Marcus Shavers said. “Personally, I’m a huge fan of coach Rhule, the ways he goes about building a program the people he brings in to help push his vision forward.”

Shavers has a good relationship with former Rhule staffer and current Texas Tech head coach Joey McGuire, so he’s also familiar with Garret McGuire. He knows Bob Wager well. Shavers attended Allen High School when Dr. Susan Elza was the softball coach there. Through recruiting he’s also gotten to meet Nebraska running backs coach E.J. Barthel. So Shavers knows the kind of program Rhule hopes to build at Nebraska and believes it could lead to the return of Husker football.

Rhule and his staff connected with Shavers again recently because of two McKinney standouts. Nebraska recently offered scholarships to sophomores Zadin Gentry and Riley Pettijohn. Gentry hasn’t received a recruiting evaluation but already holds Power 5 offers. He made 35 tackles with 10 PBUs last season. Pettijohn is a young captain of the defense with 42 tackles, 5.0 TFL and 3.0 sacks last season. Shavers credited Gentry’s work ethic and pointed to his hurdle numbers to show athleticism. Gentry ran the 110 hurdles in 14.83 seconds earlier this month. Pettijohn, the son of an all-conference standout at Syracuse, is the “dog of the defense” with Ivy League-caliber academics, Shavers said.

Shavers and Barthel also talked about 2024 McKinney running back Makhi Frazier. Nebraska hasn’t offered Frazier yet but the Huskers could get involved in his recruitment soon. He’s a bruising back who already holds offers from Boise State, Missouri, Arkansas and Michigan State. Barthel likes him but the Huskers have already offered Bryan Jackson, a 4-star 2024 running back at McKinney. Jackson is near a commitment, potentially to USC, which could open the door for an offer to Frazier.

“If Nebraska is still looking for a running back in the class of 2024,” Shavers said. “I don’t know if there are many that are going to be better than Makhi Frazier. I think they know that as well.”

Recruit Watch

Matt Rhule and his coaching staff hosted a variety of recruits on Monday for the first day of spring camp. Kaedin Massey, a 2024 lineman out of Kansas, and Willis McGahee IV, a 2024 edge rusher out of Florida, garnered the headlines but the Huskers also welcomed Jeron Askren and Brayden Kunz to Memorial Stadium. Askren is a 2024 athlete at Maizee South in Wichita and Kunz is a 2024 running back and linebacker from Conway Springs, Kansas.

Nebraska offered standout athlete Gavin Barlow out of LaGrange, Georgia, over the weekend. Barlow is a versatile athlete who played running back at LaGrange last season and received his first Division I offer with a phone call from Nebraska assistant coach Evan Cooper. Barlow ran a 4.22 40 at the Max Exposure Camp recently, which would give him the fastest 40 time by a high school player in the country. He also tallied 22 feet, 1 inch in the long jump last month.

Rhule’s coaching staff offered two young Pennsylvania standouts on Thursday. Kyshawn Robinson from Westinghouse High School and Scoop Smith at from Woodland Hills, both 2026 prospects, announced offers from Nebraska. Both claimed that was their first Division I offers.


>> The Nebraska softball team is set to host Iowa State for a one-off game before hosting Purdue for a three-game series at Bowlin Stadium starting Friday. Here are a couple keys so the Huskers can regain momentum into the start of the Big Ten season.

>> Nebraska’s WNIT journey continues this week with a visit to Allen Fieldhouse and Kansas. Hail Varsity’s Drake Keeler will be there with coverage. He’s covered the Huskers the whole season and was there for Nebraska’s second-round handling of Northern Iowa. You can also check out the Hail Varsity photo gallery of that game.

>> The new issue of Hail Varsity is on newstands now. Here’s a preview of what you can find in its pages.

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