Nebraska Recruiting: It's All About the Trenches
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Nebraska Recruiting: It’s All About the Trenches

October 13, 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.


After taking in the resounding loss by the Huskers in Minneapolis, my mind went to my favorite movie franchise—The Fast and the Furious. That may sound odd at first but allow me to explain. There is a scene in the movie where Brian, played by the late Paul Walker, is speaking with Sgt. Tanner. They are talking about who could be hijacking the trucks to steal the DVD players.

By this point in the movie we all know its Dominic Torretto and his crew except for Brian. Sgt. Tanner makes the point to Brian that “It’s Torretto, Brian. It’s always been Torretto. The rest are just..fumes.” That line is where my mind went after that loss. It’s because it’s the trenches that is the problem for Nebraska football and the rest are just fumes.

Over the years Nebraska has had enough skill position talent to get by. Coach Scott Frost said last night the team needed more playmakers to step up. It is always preferable to have more playmakers. Yet, the team still can get by with who they have at wide receiver, running back and quarterback right now. The issue keeping Nebraska’s offense from leaving the garage right now is the lack of a consistent run game. That starts up front.

That has been the problem in Lincoln for much longer than Frost has been the head coach. So, how does that change? It’s part recruiting and part mindset shift. I don’t fully buy that the Huskers have been pushed around for the majority of this season only because they lack talent. The amount of talent on a team doesn’t affect the mindset of “We are going to fight no matter what.” Otherwise Northwestern wouldn’t play in so many close games.

We do need to keep in mind that Frost’s staff is still bringing in talent to match its schemes. It also takes longer for linemen to make an impact in college. There are few 18-year-olds ready to step in and dominate the line of scrimmage in the Big Ten.

Part of the reason you see some of the issues on the field now is that Nebraska is paying for the misses of 2018. Offensive tackle Willie Canty never made it to Lincoln. Will Farniok is the back-up center. Casey Rogers and Tate Wildeman are growing behind a veteran group of players. That transition class has one player contributing in the trenches. Cam Jurgens has had his struggles this season but he played his seventh game at center in his life. The Huskers are playing the long game with him while letting him work through his issues. Jurgens played a good game in Minneapolis and I can’t remember any significant snap problems.

Nine of the 27 scholarship players added to the team from the 2019 class play on the line. That is a big infusion of young linemen. Only two—junior college defensive lineman Keem Green and offensive tackle Bryce Benhart—have seen any action so far this season. There are a lot of reinforcements developing behind the scenes.

Nebraska is also off to a fine start in the trenches for the class of 2020. Turner Corcoran, Alex Conn, Nash Hutmacher and Marquis Black are in the class so far. There will be more additions to round out the class.

So yes, be excited for Logan Smothers, Sevion Morrison and Zavier Betts. They are all having outstanding senior seasons scoring a lot of touchdowns. All will be important to the Huskers’ future. Frost said he wants to coach a more physical football team on Saturday night. That has to be led by the offensive and defensive linemen on the roster, then pushed along by the ones coming in and their respective position coaches.

The rest is just fumes.

Recruit Watch

>> Husker wide receiver commit Will Nixon had a great Week 7.

>> Omaha Westside athlete Grant Tagge received a preferred walk-on offer to Nebraska. 

>> Florida speedster Tony Stellato picked up an offer from the Huskers. The 2021 wideout will be one to keep an eye on. 

>> Husker running back commit Sevion Morrison is off to a terrific start to his senior season. He posted his Hudl highlights recently.

ICYMI

>> The Huskers got good news on Saturday when defensive lineman Marquis Black committed to the team. I also gave five thoughts (Premium) on what his commitment means.

>> As Erin Sorensen explained, there is some sort of disconnect (Premium) for Nebraska football right now. 

>> Nebraska knew what was coming (Premium) and Minnesota ran up 34-7 anyway, writes Derek Peterson.

>> Jacob Padilla’s play of the game (Premium) is Minnesota’s second quarter touchdown. 

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