Nebraska Recruiting: Predicting the 2019 Immediate Contributors
Photo Credit: Greg Smith

Nebraska Recruiting: Predicting the 2019 Immediate Contributors

May 29, 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.

This morning in Hot Reads, Brandon Vogel took a great dive into contribution rates among the best 2018 prospects powered by stats from Phil Steele. Why don’t we take a stab at predicting which players in the 2019 Nebraska recruiting class will be contributors?

Let’s operate with Brandon’s over/under of 6.5. Which guys are most likely to contribute as true freshmen? Barring something very unexpected happening, we likely won’t see quarterback Luke McCaffrey play this year. Dedrick Mills doesn’t count for this discussion but he’s a lock to play. Of the incoming freshmen running backs, I have Rahmir Johnson sewing the field this year while Ronald Thompkins recovers from injury. Even though they early enrolled, I’d say now that Jamie Nance and Chris Hickman don’t contribute in 2019. In the what is probably a surprise, I don’t think Demariyon Houston or Darien Chase contribute significantly either. 

A big part of that is lack of opportunity. While there are certainly question marks in the wide receiver group, it will be hard for any true freshman not named Wan’Dale Robinson to crack the rotation this year assuming the group gets better. 

Offensive and defensive line is hard for a true freshman to come in and play right away. Bryce Benhart has a chance to be a special player and I think he plays a role this season. Ty Robinson could benefit from the four-game redshirt rule and I’d have every other lineman using a redshirt and not really seeing the field in 2019. 

Linebacker has already shifted. Prior to the spring, I would have had both Nick Henrich and Jackson Hannah contributing this season. After Henrich’s injury, he could be a redshirt rule candidate before getting ramped up for 2020. The rest of the incoming linebackers are good redshirt candidates. 

The secondary is tough. Sub packages combined with the versatility of the incoming group gives me pause here but I’m going to say that only Noa Pola-Gates contributes significantly in 2019. 

So, in the end, I’ll take the under on 6.5 freshmen contributors. Generally, I think that’s a good thing because it means a couple of key position groups have stepped up to force that number to stay under. Each recruiting cycle you want to recruit a handful of immediate difference makers while letting other guys get the seasoning that most freshmen need.

Recruit Watch

>> Nebraska was first to the table with an offer for 2021 California quarterback Peter Costelli.

>> Blake Smith, a fast-rising Texas tight end, has included Nebraska in his top 10. 

>> Jalen Milroe, one of Nebraska’s quarterback targets for the class of 2021, picked up an offer from Northwestern on Wednesday.

>> Nebraska wide receiver commit Zavier Betts has been invited to Nike’s The Opening finals. 


>> Outside linebackers coach Jovan Dewitt said that there is no cancer left in his body during a radio appearance Tuesday night.

>> Nebraska basketball officially lost Isaiah Roby on Wednesday when he announced he will be staying in the NBA Draft.

>> I took a look at what we learned (Premium) about Nebraska recruiting during the evaluation period. 

>> The Hail Varsity staff took your questions in the mailbag, including one about where all the commits are.

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