Nebraska football team runs out of tunnel before game
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Nebraska Recruiting: Is Heavy Portal Recruiting Here to Stay for Huskers?

December 30, 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.


There is a shift happening in college football recruiting.

The two big drivers of this shift are recent rule changes. The rule allowing players to transfer once without penalty goes hand in hand with the transfer portal. Those two things combined might be shifting how some teams build programs.

Recruiting has become more complex. The days are over where you have 85 scholarships and you know how many players are graduating. That way you know the number of scholarships you have available. The bonus COVID year and the transfer portal have made for uncertain times. We see this all around the sport.

The Huskers are already trying to reshape their roster with transfers. There are five players committed to join the program as scholarship transfers. More are on the way. There are key spots like quarterback and offensive line where the team is still looking to upgrade. One of the key questions of the offseason is if this type of recruiting is here to stay for Nebraska. Coach Scott Frost gave a hint about that but also left wiggle room on signing day.

“I don’t want to live in that world but if there’s players that come up in the portal that we feel like can make us a better team and fit with our culture and our team and make us better we are going to keep our eye on that,” Frost said. “We definitely will save some spots in case those people show up and want to be at Nebraska.”

The Huskers definitely saved roster spots this cycle for portal additions. That’s clear since the team only took 13 high school prospects and one JUCO player in December. That strategy was born from two circumstances. Nebraska did not have good luck during the season gaining traction with top high school prospects. The team also is young based on class standing from the COVID eligibility freeze. Older players are needed. That helps balance the roster and provide an immediate boost to the team for the 2022 season.

Let’s say the Huskers have a bounce back year under Frost in 2022, the team wins seven or eight games and makes the first bowl game since the 2016 season. Part of that success would be because the transfers that came into the program helped. I don’t think that would mean the Huskers would always look for seven to 10 transfers per season. It’s also worth noting something else. Each transfer the Huskers have brought in so far has more than one year of eligibility remaining.

Practically speaking the team won’t have room for that on a yearly basis. If the team gets better, less players will need or want to move on after each season and less roster spots should be available.

Also, if the team improves the ability to recruit high school players gets better. The key ingredient missing in Nebraska’s pitch is winning. If that changes, the Huskers should be a top 20 recruiting program every year. That doesn’t mean Nebraska will abandon portal recruiting. The team has embraced it under Frost. It will continue to be part of the team building equation. Even if the number of transfers goes back to three or four yearly.

That’s probably the best-case scenario for the Huskers moving forward. Use the portal to jump start the program in 2022. Use that success to recruit high school players at a higher level and keep building the program. It’s not impossible do, but the Huskers need a lot of things to go right over the next year.

Recruit Watch

>> Lincoln East quarterback Noah Walters was offered by North Alabama on Wednesday night.

>> Nebraska 2023 linebacker target Phil Picciotti was named all-state in Pennsylvania 6A football.

>> Check out the junior highlights for Florida athlete Jamond Mathis where he starred on defense and offense.

ICYMI

>> Tom’s Time is back to look at the Huskers’ business trip in Miami to close out 1994.

>> Jacob Padilla has your 2021 Metro Holiday Tournament semifinals round-up.

>>The Husker women dropped their first game of the season, falling to Michigan State on the road.

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