Photo Credit: Greg Smith

Nebraska Recruiting: Relationships Even More Critical in Today’s Landscape

December 16, 2021

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.


The landscape of college football has changed rapidly. In the short time that coach Scott Frost has been at Nebraska there have been huge changes to the way the sport operates. Name, image and likeness has been one that we are seeing grow each month. When Frost took over at Nebraska the four-game redshirt rule was just getting off the ground. The one-time transfer exception and the transfer portal were in their infancy stages.

The portal can be a double-edged sword for colleges now. It can be difficult to keep your roster together on a yearly basis. Coaches have to continue to recruit every player on their roster by treating them well and living up to the promises made during recruiting. The portal also allows for teams to restock talent on the team in short order. Michigan State coach Mel Tucker worked that expertly. He has been rewarded for it. The Huskers are looking to pull off a similar feat this offseason.

There is one thing that goes under the radar when it comes to navigating the portal. Relationships. It matters now how things end with a prospect when they don’t choose your school. You never know what can happen. Things can always come back around in a year or two. Defensive coordinator Erik Chinander spoke about that. We met with him on Wednesday on the first day of the early signing period.

“You just never know anymore and there’s a million reasons to get in the portal,” Chinander said. “You never know when you’re recruiting somebody. Sometimes you might tell somebody the truth and it may come to fruition. They all of a sudden call you and say ‘coach exactly what you told me was going to happen, it happened. Can I come back to Nebraska or can I come back to any other school in the country?’ Sometimes that relationship that you build with those young men and their families if it’s handled the right way can lead to a second opportunity for both the young man and the school.”

The Huskers have a recent example of this happening. Arizona State defensive back Tommi Hill committed to play for the Huskers on Monday.

During the 2021 recruiting class, Hill was one of the Huskers’ top defensive back targets. Hill was a 4-star prospect from Orlando, Florida. He strongly considered Nebraska before selecting Arizona State. He wasn’t able to visit Lincoln last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. After a year at Arizona State he entered the portal and will play for the Huskers in 2022.

The Huskers and Hill could have ended the initial relationship differently. If they had that opportunity would not have presented itself in the same way. It’s a new world in recruiting now. The schools that adjust will benefit.

Recruit Watch

>> The Huskers offered transfer offensive lineman Tre’Mond Shorts from East Tennessee State.

>> Nebraska walk-on kicker Charlie Weinrich is excited to get to work in Lincoln.

>> Former Nebraska running back commit Ashton Hayes signed with Cal.

>> Former wide receiver commit Grant Page signed with Colorado.

ICYMI

>> Ernest Hausmann’s incredible story highlights the December 2021 issue of Hail Varsity.

>> Nebraska volleyball is poised to battle Pittsburgh in the Final Four on Thursday night.

>> I took a look at what’s next for the Huskers in reshaping the roster (Premium) ahead of the 2022 season.

>> Mark Whipple remembers what Nebraska football was once (Premium) and he wants to help get it back.

>> Mickey Joseph is aiming to enhance the competition (Premium) in the wide receivers room this offseason.

>> Tom’s Time is taking a look at Frazier re-entering the picture as the team prepped for the 1994 Oklahoma finale.

>> Nebraska’s offensive line coach Donovan Raiola wants his unit (Premium) to focus on the basics.

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