Keeping Nebraska’s in-state talent is a top priority for Matt Rhule and his coaching staff. When the NCAA calendar opened to off-campus recruiting, coaches traversed the state, going into high schools and homes to connect with Nebraska’s best. A few of those designated immediate priorities left the state. It was too late to build a relationship with them.
Rhule’s staff carried the same mentality going forward. Recruit Nebraska’s best and keep them in Lincoln. This week has proved that goal comes with combatting the country.
Numerous members of Rhule’s coaching staff went to Ainsworth to see junior tight end Carter Nelson. Right now he’s a 4-star prospect and top in-state recruit in the 2024 class. Coaches from Penn State, Kansas State, Notre Dame, Michigan, Colorado and Michigan State were all in Ainsworth at different points this week to court Nelson. Notre Dame, specifically, went in heavily with head coach Marcus Freeman, offensive coordinator Tommy Rees and tight ends coach Gerad Parker making the trip.
Good to see @GeradParker1 and @Marcus_Freeman1 in Ainsworth today. Thanks for taking the time and interest in our small town. #godawgz #goirish pic.twitter.com/TUpFTTbMMz
— Jessi Owen (@coachowen7) January 23, 2023
Of course, the Omaha and Lincoln area garnered the most attention. Bellevue West and its trio of 2024 prospects attracted a litany of schools. Quarterback Danny Kaelin and receivers Dae’vonn Hall and Isaiah McMorris received visits from Minnesota head coach PJ Fleck, Vanderbilt head coach Clark Lea. Assistant coaches from Iowa, Wyoming, Northern Illinois, Kansas, Penn State, Virginia, Missouri, Northern Iowa and South Dakota State all visited too.
Omaha Westside, home of 2024 talents Anthony and Teddy Rezac, Caleb Benning and 2025 recruit Christian Jones, saw some heavy foot traffic this week. Kansas, Colorado, Princeton, Vanderbilt, Kansas State, Minnesota, Iowa, Oklahoma, South Dakota State, Northwest Missouri State and South Dakota all stopped at Westside already.
Minnesota, Missouri, Illinois and Colorado stopped at Omaha Central this week. Central 2024 lineman Caleb Pyfrom received offers with visits from Illinois and Colorado earlier this week. Iowa, Kansas, Northern Illinois, South Dakota State, Northwest Missouri State and Northern Iowa all visited Millard North, home of 2025 athlete Caden VerMaas. Northern Illinois visited Papillion-La Vista for 2024 tight end Eric Ingwerson. Most of those aforementioned schools also stopped at Creighton Prep and Elkhorn South while in the metro.
Then there’s Omaha North, home of rising 2025 quarterback Sebastian Circo and lineman Tyson Terry. Oklahoma, Virginia, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas State, Florida Atlantic, South Dakota, Wyoming, Iowa and South Dakota State, all made a presence at the home of the Vikings. Circo recently received an offer from Miami and Colorado offered Terry this week.
Very exciting to meet you and @CoachMattRhule today!!! 🍪❤️🌽 pic.twitter.com/rwpOqXudc6
— 💜𝙼𝚛𝚜. 𝙷𝚞𝚏𝚏𝚖𝚊𝚗 (@Lori_Huffman_) January 24, 2023
Nebraska coaches visited all those high schools as well. As some positional coaches continued to recruit in Texas, California, Utah, New Jersey and Illinois, Rhule and special teams coordinator Ed Foley stopped hit the in-state stops hard throughout the week.
Rhule’s vision for an “elite presence” in Texas went a few steps closer to fruition this week. Three-star cornerback Braylon Conley, a 2024 recruit from Humble, Texas, received an offer from Nebraska this week. As did Nate Kibble, a composite 3-star offensive lineman from Humble, Texas. Composite 4-star receiver Andrew Marsh, a sophomore at Katy Jordan High in Fulshear, Texas, received a Nebraska offer. He has 16 touchdowns on 84 catches in his first two high school seasons. Nebraska also offered LaVonte Johnson, a 2024 safety out of Houston, and Michael Terry III, a 2025 athlete in San Antonio.
Wide receiver coach Garret McGuire and defensive line coach Terrance Knighton, the two Nebraska coaches recruiting Texas right now, also offered two high-caliber 2025 recruits there. Devin Sanchez, a composite 5-star cornerback from Houston, is the No. 2 corner in the country in that recruiting class. Lamont Rogers is the No. 4 offensive tackle in the country for that class right now. Both received offers from Nebraska this week.
Defensive coordinator Tony White, linebacker coach Rob Dvoracek and offensive line coach Donovan Raiola were on the trail as well. White was in California and offered composite 4-star linebacker Dylan Williams (2024) from Long Beach and composite 4-star offensive lineman Justin Tauanuu (2024) from Huntington Beach. Raiola offered composite 4-star offensive lineman Ike Garcia out of Magna, Utah, in greater Salt Lake City. Dvoracek, meanwhile, before meeting Rhule in St. Louis, offered Thomas Jefferson High junior Thomas Heiberger in Sioux Falls.
>> Northwestern’s scorching run through Big Ten play continued at the expense of Fred Hoiberg’s depleted Huskers on Wednesday.
>> Omaha Skutt and Lincoln Pius X played an interesting hoops doubleheader earlier this week. Hail Varsity was there to share a few thoughts.
>> Nebraska athletic director Trev Alberts shared some excitement for this Nebraska coaching staff and some ticket information for this year’s Spring Game when he appeared on statewide radio Tuesday.