Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Nebraska Recruiting: 5-Star Arik Gilbert Commits, Huskers Hosting Late 2023 Visits

January 19, 2023

The Nebraska coaching staff is turning its recruiting focus onto the 2024 class but leaving some room to bolster the 2023 class before Signing Day. Good thing, because they landed a big commit Thursday.

Former Georgia tight end Arik Gilbert announced his commitment to Nebraska on Thursday. Gilbert was the No. 1 overall tight end in the 2020 recruiting class, former 5-star recruit and enrolled at LSU as a freshman. He had 35 catches for 368 yards and two touchdowns in one season at LSU. He transferred to Georgia where he had as many catches as national championships (two) in as many seasons. Gilbert comes to Nebraska with a wide-open tight end competition. Nebraska now has two former No. 1 tight end recruits nationally along with Thomas Fidone II (2021).

A handful of high school seniors are in Lincoln for visits this weekend, each a potential late addition to move Nebraska’s recruiting class from the fringe top 25 firmly into the upper echelon.

Two seniors of Martin High School in Arlington, Texas, have  official visits this weekend. That’s the high school Nebraska tight end coach Bob Wager just left after 17 seasons. One of those is Ismael Smith Flores, a 3-star tight end with offers from Iowa, Michigan State, Rutgers, Indiana and others. Nebraska has ins with him because of Wager but his father, Leroy Smith, is a former defensive end at Iowa, winning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in 1991. Jeremiah Charles is the other Martin senior coming to Lincoln. He’s also a multi-sport athlete whose only other football offer thus far comes from North Texas.

Nebraska might add to its defensive front with visitor Sua Lefotu, a 3-star lineman from Bellflower, California. Lefotu’s narrowed his choices to eight, Weber State, Montana State, Indiana, Hawaii, Arizona State, Washington State and Nevada in addition to Nebraska.

Three-star athlete/receiver Demitrius Bell from McGavok High School in Nashville, Tennessee, is also scheduled to visit Nebraska this weekend. He committed to Michigan State the summer but decommitted in August. He’s received several other offers but is most heavily linked with Kentucky.

Also due to visit Lincoln this weekend is 2024 composite 4-star corner Aeryn Hampton out of Daingerfield, Texas. He’s the nation’s No. 8 corner in the composite rankings out of the 2024 recruiting class. Hampton’s received over two dozen scholarship offers already and is heavily linked with Alabama and Texas. Nebraska is still without a commit in the 2024 recruiting class.

Recruit Watch

This Nebraska coaching staff continues to build Texas connections on the road. A week of recruiting trips into the state include multiple scholarship offers to Lone Star State standouts. Most of them are 2024 recruits.

Caden Durham, a composite 4-star running back out of Duncanville, Texas, received a scholarship offer earlier this week. As did composite 3-star running back Kewan Lacy out of Lancaster, Texas. They’re both multi-sport athletes and Lacy ran for over 2,000 yards with 24 touchdowns last season. Composite 4-star lineman Blake Frazier from Austin, Texas, received an offer from Nebraska earlier this week. His father played on the line at Michigan in the late 1990s. Nebraska also offered 6-foot-6, 3-star offensive lineman Ryan Hughes and Koltin Sieracki, both from The Woodlands, Texas. Defensive lineman Joseph Jonah-Ajonye out of Conroe, Texas, also gained a Nebraska offer. He received offers from Nebraska, Houston, Missouri, Memphis, Baylor and USC in a two-day stretch. Loghan Thomas, a composite 4-star 2024 edge rusher from Katy, Texas, announced a scholarship offer from Nebraska earlier Thursday.

Husker coaches have also laid the groundwork for future recruiting classes. Safety/linebacker hybrid Maurice Williams II out of Pearland, Texas, an LSU commit, received a scholarship offer from Nebraska earlier this week. He’s a composite 4-star prospect who also runs track. Composite 3-star safety Landyn Cleveland, a high school sophomore from Mansfield, Texas, got an offer. Kelvion Riggins, who just finished his sophomore linebacker season at South Oak Cliff in Dallas, received a scholarship offer on Wednesday. Freshman athlete Jermaine Bishop Jr. from Willis, Texas, also got an offer from Lincoln. He’s already received offers from Florida and Houston as well.

Nebraska coaches spanned the country and dealt offers outside of Texas. Ondre Evans, a composite 3-star junior athlete from Nashville, Tennessee, gained a Nebraska offer on Thursday.

ICYMI

>> A big fourth quarter from Alexis Markowski prevented a late fall and Nebraska came back to beat Purdue on Wednesday.

>> It took a team effort behind Sam Greisel but the Huskers put away Ohio State with a gritty victory earlier this week.

>> Look back at Nebraska’s obstacle-laden 2022 volleyball season with our position-by-position recaps. Up right now is a look back at the team’s middle blockers.

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