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.
A big piece of the 2023 recruiting class puzzle slide into place on Tuesday night. The Huskers landed their 2023 signal-caller. Massachusetts prospect Wiliam “Pop” Watson announced he was joining the class. Hail Varsity staff writer Steve Marik and I reacted to the committed in the video below.
Watson (6-0, 175) is the first prep quarterback set to join the team recruited by offensive coordinator Mark Whipple. There is one big thing that stood out to me about this commitment. Whipple is getting to put his stamp on the quarterback room. Watson is Whipple’s guy and has been for years. He offered Watson at UMass and at Pittsburgh where he coached before.
A lot will be made over Watson’s size. There are two big factors why I think people are talking about that so much. Typically, Big Ten quarterbacks are bigger to withstand the tough defenses that you face on a weekly basis. The other reason is that Nebraska hasn’t done a good job protecting quarterbacks in recent years. What if people had seen improvement from the offensive line? The perception of how Watson’s size will impact his future would be much different.
Watson certainly has the tools to be a good college football player. He’s got an accurate arm and is a good athlete. He throws well on the run which is always helpful. Watson is also a gamer. His team has won three straight state championships. He was named MaxPreps Player of the Year in Massachusetts as a junior. The quarterback accounted for over 2,800 yards and 31 touchdowns as a junior.
The Huskers are back on track with the timeline for quarterback recruiting. Richard Torres committed to the Huskers in June last year. Heinrich Haarberg committed in May the cycle before that. Fans started to get restless in both cases about when the Huskers would get a quarterback. The name of the game is getting your guy early and move to the next class. Having a quarterback in the class before spring football starts gives him a long runway to help peer recruit. That’s a big deal in today’s recruiting world.
Speaking of the next class the elephant in the room is the potential No. 1 quarterback in the 2024 class Dylan Raiola. The Huskers can now turn all quarterback recruiting focus on him. The entire country is after Raiola so even with the family connection it will be a tough pull. The biggest thing the Huskers can do is win this season. Nebraska is in competition with Georgia, Alabama and other playoff teams. It is unlikely they want to join a questionable situation.
Quarterback recruiting is always a big deal. The Huskers have featured a quarterback-centric offense for years. Landing the right player at the position is even more important. The team asks much more of its quarterbacks than other teams in the Big Ten West. Now Watson can join his other 2023 classmates in assisting with peer recruiting. The program looks to have a bounce back year on the recruiting trail.
>> Nebraska 2023 linebacker target Phill Picciotti was offered by Virginia Tech.
After a great conversation with @Coach_Marve I am BLESSED to have received an offer from VIRGINIA TECH!! 🔴🟠🦃 #GoHokies @HokiesFB @CoachPryVT @lino_lupinetti @CoachShawnQuinn @CoachdjCheetah @EvanGWatkins247 @SteveWiltfong @RivalsFriedman @adamgorney @RyanSnyderOn3 pic.twitter.com/560bPP2hdd
— Phil Picciotti (@PhilPicciotti) February 23, 2022
>> Check out Utah lineman JR Sia getting his first reps of the offseason.
— Jr Sia (@JrSia2) February 22, 2022
>> Bryce McGowens set a program freshman scoring record by Northwestern took the game on Tuesday night.
>> Steve Marik has three things we don’t know heading into spring football for Nebraska.
>> In the latest Padding the Stats Jacob Padilla recognizes special talent, discusses handshake lines and NBA All-Star weekend.
>> The Hail Varsity staff is back to answer questions in the mailbag including some women’s basketball hypotheticals.
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.