Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Nebraska Recruiting: Neil Smith Excited for Son Keelan’s Opportunity With Huskers

May 07, 2023

A Nebraska legacy became the latest commitment in the Huskers’ 2024 recruiting class last week.

Three-star tight end Keelan Smith announced his commitment to Nebraska on Friday. He’s the son of Husker standout Neil Smith, who terrorized Big 8 offenses before getting drafted No. 2 overall in 1988. The elder Smith joined Chris Schmidt and Elijah Herbal on Friday’s episode of Hail Varsity Radio to discuss his son’s big news.

Smith told Schmidt and Herbal his son wanted to follow in his footsteps and the decision was solely upon the Liberty North offensive weapon.

“I’m really happy for Keelan,” Neil said. “He chose a good institution to go to, I’m not mad at that at all.”

Former Nebraska interim head coach Mickey Joseph originally offered Keelan during a game day visit in October last season. Rhule and his staff continued communicating and honored the scholarship offer. Spring gave him the opportunity to visit once again. He enjoyed the relationship he had with Joseph and members of Scott Frost’s coaching staff at that time. He’s since developed relationships with director of player personnel Omar Hales and wide receivers coach Garrett McGuire.

Neil, admittedly, held a lot of pride when his son received the offer from Nebraska. The Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Famer enjoyed his time at Nebraska and is proud to be a former Husker. Knowing his son will play in the same uniform he did is special to him. Neil is also looking forward to Keelan becoming the first of his siblings to earn a college degree.

On the field, the younger Smith provides options. Rhule’s coaching staff isn’t sure he’s done growing yet and could reach 6-foot-5, where his frame could support more muscle mass. Currently at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, he provides an offensive spark. He had 850 yards and 11 touchdowns last season on 50 catches while working between tight end and receiver.

“He’s got the long arms, long stride, his body is a little bit bigger than mine,” Neil said. “He could still develop and he will once he gets in there and in the nutrition and weight program.”

Recruit Watch

Nebraska made finalists lists for two different priority 2024 recruits. Five-star defensive lineman Williams Nwaneri included Nebraska in his top 10. The Lee’s Summit North superstar a top-10 national recruit who visited Nebraska earlier this spring. The Huskers also made the top 6 from Lancaster, Texas, standout Kewan Lacy. Lacy is a 3-star back who received offers from even the likes of Alabama and Ohio State.

Nebraska extended several new scholarship offers in recent days. Devous Tuataga from Cedar Valley High in Eagle Mountain, Utah, received an offer. He’s a 3-star 2024 edge rusher with offers from USC, Utah, Oregon and Tennessee among others. Nebraska is his first Big Ten offer (although USC will be a Big Ten team by the time he takes a college snap).

Multiple scholarship offers went to Texas high school standouts. Zion Jones, a 2025 defensive back from Jordan High in Katy, received an offer. Unevaluated 2024 safety Malik Esquerra from Killeen Shoemaker received an offer, his fourth so far. Gracen Harris, a 2025 4-star receiver from Ennis, received an offer just days after committing to Oklahoma. Daylon Singleton, another 2025 4-star receiver, received an offer from Nebraska. Singleton, from DeSoto, is a national top-200 recruit in that class. The Huskers also offered 2025 4-star defensive lineman DJ Sanders from Bellville. Sanders, a top-100 recruit in the class, already has 14.5 sacks and 25.5 TFLs. Red Oak 2025 4-star edge rusher Kamauryn Morgan also received an offer. Morgan has well over a dozen offers from schools in the Big 12, Pac 12 and SEC.

Michael Fasusi from Lewisville, a 2025 4-star offensive tackle, receive an offer. He’s a 6-foot-4 big with offers from Oklahoma and Penn State among others. The Huskers also offered 3-star 2024 safety Dontae Carter from Steele High in Cibolo, Texas. Carter recently jumped 46-feet-3.25 in the triple jump this spring track season. Ethan Feaster, a 2027 receiver also from DeSoto, received an offer from Nebraska. He’s already received a dozen offers, including Texas A&M, Arizona State, Ole Miss, Texas Tech and Louisville.


>> The Nebraska softball team finished its three-game series against Ohio State in a 6-4 on Sunday to wrap up the team’s regular season. Check out this story on Nebraska’s Abbie Squier from earlier in the weekend. The Huskers play in the Big Ten Tournament later this week.

>> COVID conditions forced a shift from familiar China and the Husker volleyball team will instead head to Brazil later this month. Assistant coach Jaylen Reyes discussed the change with Hail Varsity and what the team can get from the South American trip.

>>  No. 23 Maryland’s powerful bats were too much for Nebraska on Sunday in a 20-5 contest after the two split games earlier in the weekend. The series indeed was a meeting of hot bats ahead of the postseason push. Nebraska plays at Creighton on Tuesday before hosting Penn State in the final home series of the season.

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