Nebraska Cornhusker running a pass play during practice
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Nebraska Recruiting: Junior Colleges Happy to See Interest Uptick in Players After Tough Year

October 24, 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.


Junior college recruiting has always been something that the Huskers have kept an eye on under coach Scott Frost. He recently noted that the team was going to be looking for more “immediate impact” players from the transfer and JUCO market. This last year has been an unusual one for junior colleges around the country.

What makes JUCO recruiting unique this year? The schedule got out of whack in 2020 for those players. They played in the spring then turned right back around and played in the fall. Running backs coach Ryan Held leads Nebraska’s efforts recruiting junior colleges. He hasn’t seen big difference in recruiting JUCO players this year as he told Hail Varsity last month.

“I think it looks the same,” Held said. “There’s some JUCO kids that I’m keeping an eye on as they get their games and get for highlight videos in certain positions. Now that they’re through two or three games in, I’m really hammering out with our staff, who do we, who do you feel we need to look?”

From Nebraska’s end of things, the recruiting has been mostly the same. The team stopped by Independence Community College last week. They wanted to check in on a couple of its defensive lineman. Defensive line coach Tony Tuioti stopped in to see Jeffrey M’ba and Asi Langi. Their position coach Pierre Leonard has seen a big change in his team after going through 2020.

“It was a challenge last year trying to keep everybody involved,” Leonard said. “You had to understand that this year doesn’t count really. Then we lost those two games. It was kind of tough to keep everybody pushing to finish everything out throughout the season. It was a definitely a challenge.”

He credits M’ba and Langi with being great leaders for the team. The pair are the two main cogs of that defensive line and when they lead the team feeds off them. Having that strong leadership has helped Independence this season. The team is currently 7-0 and the number three ranked team in JUCO. The team will play for the conference championship on Oct. 31 before the playoffs begin.

JUCO players have been through over the last season. Leonard is thrilled to see players from his team being recruited. Seeing their hard work pay off in this way makes him proud as a coach.

“With me being a young coach with my guys, it’s just a blessing to see that these young guys that work so hard that fell short in a way to end up in JUCO have success,” Leonard said. “They work so hard. They work their tails off in the classroom and on the field. Seeing these Power Five schools come out and recruit them is just amazing.”

There are a lot of players around the country from JUCO getting opportunities now. We are entering the stretch run of the 2021 season. Teams understand their needs better and will look for more immediate help in the JUCO ranks. This is also the time where JUCO players start visiting colleges. Their schedules ease up since they play a lot of Saturday games during the regular season. The Huskers will hope to host a few junior college players for upcoming home game visits.

Recruit Watch

>> The Huskers came through with an offer for 2023 Chicago athlete K’Vion Thunderbird over the weekend.

>> Utah lineman from the 2023 class JR Sia posted his regular season highlights.

ICYMI

>> Nebraska volleyball stayed undefeated in Big Ten play by taking down Purdue 3-1 on Saturday.

>> During the bye week Steve Marik wonders how much fight the Huskers have left in them this season.

>> Drake’s Takes looks into Nebraska’s bye week and anime references in sports.

>> Heinrich Haarberg is patiently waiting for his time while developing (Premium) behind the scenes for the Huskers.

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