Nebraska Defense 'Back to Basics' Over Bye Week
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Nebraska Recruiting: Junior Day From The Coaches’ Perspective

April 01, 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.


Over the last two recruiting cycles, I’ve talked to a lot of prospects about what they got to experience on a visit to Nebraska. Whether it was for a practice, an official visit gameday weekend or a summer trip, each prospect has things they’d like to see on a trip. They also mostly come in with clear objectives they want to accomplish to see if Lincoln can be their future home. 

So, when the Huskers have a large recruiting event like they did over the weekend with Junior Day, what are the coaches trying to get out of it? Tight ends coach Sean Beckton says that additional interaction with prospects is invaluable. 

“We are trying to just get kids on campus for the most part. We have the kids come to our meetings position-wise so they can interact with the staff and the players,” Beckton said. 

“They can kind of get a feel of how things operate here from a strength and support staff meeting with [strength coach Zach] Duval and Ron Brown. Then the coordinators and Coach [Scott] Frost. They get to sit in our meetings and see how we present and install information. Then they can take that to the field and see our individual drills. It’s a big selling point for those guys to get hands-on and get a really good feel of what we are trying to do.” 

Another objective the staff had for this last Junior Day was really trying to encourage most of the guys from the Midwest to come out. They tried to get as many big guys offensively and defensively on campus. Beckton added that they really exceeded their own expectations with the turnout and the lineman that came in were really top-notch guys. Long-term, Nebraska wants to rebuild the pipeline of offensive and defensive linemen flowing to Lincoln. The next step in that is getting some of these prospects (and more) on campus for the Adidas sponsored National OL/DL Pipeline Camp on June 15.

Running backs coach Ryan Held agreed with Beckton that it’s nice that prospects get to come out and see what a practice is like. The ability to get a good look individually at how their potential future position coaches work is a big deal, too. Also, for Held, it’s another opportunity for the staff to show they are the same in the recruiting process as they are on the football field.

“The thing I love about us, the thing I love about our staff is it's not ‘Hyde and Jeckyll.’ We're not any different because the kids are out there at Junior Day. We are who we are. I think that's been a winning edge for us is that we don't bait and switch guys," Held said. 

"They don't come in here and be like, 'Oh, golly, you're different.' We are who we are. And I think that really helps us. The players will tell them [that] even when we were 0-6 we came in that Monday ready to go to work. You didn't see guys in there getting frustrated at coaches, and we weren't yelling at players and doing all this.

“Because, hey, we got to keep grinding. And I think when players see that out there, how we coach, and they get to see some scrimmage stuff, which was fun, and they can say, 'Hey, schematically this would be fun to play in.' I'm biased but I think on both sides of the ball––we run an NFL defense, (and) offensively, schematically, it is as good as there is in America. This is a fun thing to be a part of."

There are benefits of big events like Junior Day for both the prospects, their families and the coaching staff that go far beyond just trying on the Nebraska jersey. It’s another big component to the ongoing evaluations that both sides are making in an attempt to find the right fit. 

Recruit Watch

>> Offensive line target Paula Vaipulu enjoyed his time at Junior Day accompanied by his family. 

>> Huskers 4-star wide receiver target and recent visit Muhsin Muhammad picked up an offer from Florida. 

>> Incoming freshman wide receiver Demariyon Houston blazed a 10.5 100M dash over the weekend.

ICYMI

>> Erin Sorensen has your practice report today where the defense impressed as Nebraska hits the home stretch of spring football.

>> Derek Peterson talked to several Iowa State writers and the conclusion was that Fred Hoiberg is the best coach Iowa State has ever had.

>> The Huskers are striving for consistency from the running backs through spring ball, writes Jacob Padilla.

>> Husker fans can vote on a new court design for Pinnacle Bank Arena. 

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