Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Nebraska Recruiting: Rhule and Staff Make Recruiting Push to Underclassmen In-State Recruits

December 06, 2022

Matt Rhule said he was going to be in living rooms with his staff on Friday. He was. Rhule said he wanted to host a Junior Day for all the younger in-state prospects to get to know the coaching staff better. He did. Rhule also said he wants to bring recruits in for official visits this upcoming weekend. He’s got a few planned.

Nebraska’s new head coach jumped into the job and hit the ground running. He hasn’t filled out his coaching staff yet, and he’s still traveling across Nebraska on recruiting trips. Four members of Nebraska’s 2023 recruiting class, young men recruited by Scott Frost and Mickey Joseph, are gone. In their place is now one Rhule-recruited multi-sport athlete who just wanted a chance. This is the battle Rhule inherited. While he’s lost many of them before he’s never lost sight of the war by laying foundations for future success.

The Nebraska coaching staff spread throughout Lincoln and Omaha visiting high schools and recruits on Friday. One of Rhule’s stops was at Lincoln High. Whoever the Nebraska football coach has been over the last two decades, they rarely, if ever, visited Lincoln High. But there was Rhule on the first day the NCAA allowed him to be there. In the end, he made a lasting impression at the school and with Links senior Beni Ngoyi. Some now believe the Huskers could flip the Iowa State commit.

Rhule said in his introductory speech that he wanted to raise “Nebraska men” who were bigger than their accomplishments on the field. He wants to mold football players for a second NFL contract and young men into contributing community members. If recruits didn’t find that appealing, their parents did. Julie Noonan, mother of Elkhorn South senior and 2023 commit Maverick Noonan, tweeted a picture of her and Rhule playing each other in table tennis from Junior Day. When Rhule visited them Monday, Julie wanted a rematch.

Meanwhile, new offensive coordinator and tight ends coach Marcus Satterfield made history. Not many Division I football coaches ever went to Ainsworth on a recruiting trip. In fact, that number drifted around zero before Monday. Satterfield went to the cozy north-central Nebraska community to visit Carter Nelson, the 4-star tight end prospect. Satterfield, also Nebraska’s tight ends coach, recruited the 6-foot-5 Nelson who can high jump 7 feet alongside coaches from Penn State. Notre Dame coaches are also expected in Ainsworth this week to visit Nelson. The Ainsworth standout also came to Lincoln on Sunday to participate in Junior Day.

Nebraska’s coaching staff, even in the makeshift interim days of the 2022 season, brought in-state recruits to Memorial Stadium. Rhule believes they need to keep the best of Nebraska in Nebraska. That’s who he tried to bring in on Sunday. Most who participated came away encouraged by Nebraska’s future.

Recruit Watch

Rhule’s vision for Nebraska, which would align with athletic director Trev Alberts’ vision for the program, involves being the premiere developmental football program in the country. Rhule’s made a career off developing players. So, on Monday, the Nebraska coaching staff took a chance and offered the top football player in Idaho.

Gatlin Bair of Burney High in Idaho is a 4-star receiver and top-ranked recruit from Idaho in the 2024 recruiting class. He already ran a 10.53 and a followup 10.56 in the 100 at the Junior Olympic Championships before his junior year. He’s since gotten that down to a 10.46. This year he caught 18 touchdowns on 73 catches for 1,073 yards.

Nebraska has some transfer portal promise as well. Former Texas A&M defensive end Elijah Jeudy is scheduled for an official visit this weekend. Originally from Philadelphia, he’s appeared in two games in each of his first two seasons. He was a multi-sport athlete and composite 4-star recruit out of high school.

ICYMI

>> Nebraska pulled off a long-awaited upset of rival Creighton over the weekend. Next up is another test, No. 14 Indiana on the road.

>> A big road victory over ranked Maryland gives the Huskers momentum. Now, Amy Williams’ team hosts a physical Wisconsin team ahead of challenging December slate.

>> An All-American sprinter from Bay City, Texas, became the first commitment of the Rhule era for Nebraska football earlier today.

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