Nebraska Recruiting: Internal and External Help Needed at WR
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Nebraska Recruiting: Internal and External Help Needed at WR

October 14, 2019

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 bye week will present some good opportunities for the Huskers to step away and assess. It’s the perfect time look at personnel that has been effective and where if any changes need to be made. 

One area that we know coaches are looking for more production from is the wide receiver group. Each week offensive coordinator Troy Walters and head coach Scott Frost say that they need more. They have also said many times that  guys are close to breaking through. Ahead of the Minnesota game, Frost said something that was interesting but went under the radar. He hinted at a separate problem when asked about wideouts recognizing and seizing the opportunity in front of them.  

“There are opportunities to be had there,” Frost said. “There are several young guys that are close to being ready to play. If we are going to play them I want them out here in practice looking like they are playing better than the guy in front of them. That should be their goal. At times it looks like that and at times it doesn’t. 

“We are waiting on some of those guys to step up. Even if we aren’t going to play them full time they can all play in four games. We want to use them if they are ready. We need a little more urgency from some of them and we are seeing it from others.”

It can be very difficult as a young player to go from being a superstar on your high school team to not contributing in college. It’s especially difficult if your group is clearly struggling as the wide receivers are. It’s very plausible that Demariyon Houston, Jamie Nance and Darien Chase are having had a hard time staying engaged if they feel like the work they put in was for nothing in the early going of the season. 

It’s also easy to see guys like Mike Williams, Jaron Woodyard and Jaevon McQuitty throwing their hands up. They are getting limited snaps and even fewer targets. 

Let me make something clear. I am not placing all the blame of the struggling wide receiver unit on the players themselves. There are six players I just named. Add JD Spielman, Wan’Dale Robinson, Kanawai Noa and now the returning Kade Warner. It also falls on the coaching staff to find the best way possible to get more of them involved. 

Adding in Miles Jones, eight of the 11 wide receivers named were recruited by this staff. The bye week is a great time to re-assess how to get more of them involved, even if it means only asking them to do what they are most comfortable with for now. 

The Huskers will continue searching for more size to add to its receiver corps for next season. Zavier Betts (6-3, 190) is a great start. Will Nixon is a good prospect but more in the Wan’Dale Robinson mold of a smaller do-everything type player. Junior college wideout Omar Manning (6-3, 201) has long been at the top of my Greg’s Guys list for good reason. Recent official visitor Justin Robinson (6-4, 200) will be tough to flip from Georgia but the Huskers are at least in the game making a push for him. 

It will be a tough process to elevate the position group from where they have been so far in 2019. The bye week gives everyone a chance to see what can be done in the short-term while continuing to bring in more reinforcements.

Recruit Watch

>> Columbus athlete Joey Braasch committed to Wyoming on Sunday. 

>> Priority inside linebacker target Caleb McCullough took an official visit to Boise State over the weekend.

>> Minnesota 4-star outside linebacker Kaden Johnson took an official visit to Oregon State. 


>> Derek Peterson has a handful of smaller, bite-sized thoughts from the weekend for his weekly column. 

>> Nebraska will open the 2021 season against Illinois in Ireland. 

>> I’ve got a running list of which recruits (Premium) the Huskers will visit during the bye week. 

>> Nebraska volleyball is holding steady in the AVCA Coaches Poll after a 2-0 week. 

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