Photo Credit: John Peterson

Nebraska Recruiting: Into the Great Wide Open

July 06, 2022

Recruiting never stops and it’s easy to miss the top stories day-to-day. Hail Varsity recaps all things Nebraska recruiting news, analysis and more so you never miss a thing.

New Nebraska commit Omarion Miller isn’t just the highest-rated player in the Huskers’ 2023 class currently, he’s also the second-highest receiver Nebraska has landed in the Scott Frost era.

That’s based on the 247 Composite rating. Miller’s 0.9532 is just a shade behind Wan’Dale Robinson’s 0.9597 in the 2019 class. Robinson was categorized as an all-purpose back, and transferred from Nebraska largely because he had to be that more than he would’ve liked (or, I think, Nebraska would’ve liked). But, he was a receiver, the best one the Huskers have signed, and his play over three college seasons certainly backed that initial rating up.

Elsewhere, from 2018 on, Nebraska’s receiver recruiting has been an adventure. Including the three 2023 commits, the Huskers have brought on 30 wideouts when you include transfers and junior college signees. Nine of those, or a third of all the receivers who enrolled, didn’t finish their careers in Lincoln.

In terms of talent, Nebraska has fared pretty well at the position. Removing the 2023 commits for a second, the Huskers’ average wide receiver rating from 2018–22 ranked fourth in the Big Ten behind Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan. No surprises there, particularly at the top. The difference between the Buckeyes’ average receiver rating and that of second-place Penn State (0.0338) is larger than the difference between fourth-place Nebraska and last-place Illinois (0.0292). When it comes to wideouts, Ohio State is basically 5-star encrusted. Poor Penn State and Michigan are simply solid gold watches by comparison.

That makes Nebraska—I’ll stop after this—titanium, perhaps, if you’re into metals as an analogy. From a talent acquisition perspective, the Huskers have been strong at wide receiver. Mickey Joseph has only made them stronger since his arrival in early December.

Standard disclaimer here about recruiting rankings being an inexact science. Noted. It’s still the best method we have for quantifying something that isn’t entirely quantifiable. Another important caveat: Outside of Robinson, we’re still kind of waiting for Nebraska’s first high school signee at wide receiver to emerge as “the” guy.

Will that happen under Joseph? We’ll need games to figure that out, but he’s already elevated the quality of receiver Nebraska’s getting. The average 247 rating for the 22 receivers Nebraska signed pre-Joseph was 0.8806, which includes Victor Jones Jr. in the 2022 class based on his April commitment.

Since Joseph’s arrival, that average is 0.8930 across eight receivers, close to the 0.9000 threshold for 4-star status. That includes the high school rating for transfers Trey Palmer (0.9499), Marcus Washington (0.9384) and Isaiah Garcia-Castaneda (0.7800). In the past two cycles, 247 started assigning a transfer rating. Palmer and Washington both fell slightly from their high school ratings, Garcia-Castaneda rose significantly, but that’s another topic for another day. I’m using non-transfer ratings to keep this as apples-to-apples as possible.

Based on that, Joseph’s expertise as a recruiter is showing in short order at Nebraska, but you do have to note the LSU factor here. Miller was a former Tiger commit, as was Decoldest Crawford. Palmer is an LSU transfer. Joseph had already convinced those guys he was their guy. Not a slight, just reality.

This recruiting battle doesn’t need more attention, but it adds a little intrigue to the pursuit of Lincoln East wide receiver Malachi Coleman. He’s local, a rapid-riser in recruiting and, most important in this context, Joseph had to start from scratch with him. Coleman already had a Nebraska offer, but not one from LSU, when Joseph arrived in Lincoln.

Coleman’s current rating (0.9422) would rank fifth among all Nebraska’s receiver commits/signees since 2018, behind Robinson, Miller, Zavier Betts (0.9505) and Palmer (again, as a high school prospect). The Huskers have had nine receivers in the Frost era receive a rating of 0.900 or better as a high school or junior college prospect.

One from that group, Miller, is on the way as of yesterday. One, Robinson, is in the NFL. One, Betts, isn’t playing football at the moment. One, Marcus Fleming (0.9072), is probably going to have a pretty good season for Maryland in 2022.

That leaves five still on Nebraska’s 2022 roster: Palmer, Washington, Oliver Martin (0.9251), Omar Manning (0.9053) and true freshman Janiran Bonner (0.9000).

We may not know much about the Husker receivers at this point. There’s no player you can point to and say, with certainty, “Well, there’s your guy.”

But you can probably say the talent level is there, and it’s risen quickly under Joseph’s watch.

Recruit Watch

>>Florida cornerback Tristaen Sion let it be known that he’s not interested in flipping after his commitment date next week. Nebraska is in his final eight.

>> Nebraska extended an offer to 2025 East St. Louis defensive back Sael Reyes, joining the likes of Arkansas, Illinois, Mississippi, Texas A&M and others.

>> True freshman linebacker Ernest Hausmann extends a welcome to the Huskers’ latest commit, linebacker Dylan Rodgers.


>> Erin Sorensen catches you up on the recruiting timeline going forward.

>> In his latest column, Jacob Padilla looks at a key stretch for a few Huskers in the NBA Summer League as well as Isaiah Roby’s fit in San Antonio.

>> Erin and Jacob are talking volleyball in their latest video.

>> The latest Nebraska Preps Postgame podcast is here.

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