New Nebraska head coach Matt Rhule and his staff have heavily hit the recruiting trail since he arrived in December. That investment into the trail has paid off in closing the 2023 recruiting class and the massive haul in the 2024 classes so far. And this coaching staff intends to continue building the 2024 class.
The first scholarship offer Rhule made came the afternoon of his hire to cornerback Dante Lovett who was already committed to Virginia Tech. Lovett, a former 3-star athlete, is enrolled at Virginia Tech now but the offer marked a reminder—Rhule will test commitments. He did so at Temple and Baylor, and has no issue offering someone already committed elsewhere. Those looking for an example can look only as far as Bellevue West senior Daniel Kaelin.
Rhule admittedly wants to put a team on the field this fall that is competitive enough to draw recruits’ attention. Through their curiosities may come visits and communications, which could end in flips. In that spirit, here are some of the Husker targets the staff will continuously recruit despite commitments elsewhere.
Dontae Carter, safety: The standout at Cibolo Steele in Texas committed to Vanderbilt earlier this month after taking an official visit there. His first official visit of June was to Lincoln and Nebraska, which left an impression. Carter also visited Washington, showing he was more than willing to leave Texas. Nebraska’s secondary this fall may excite and convince the composite 4-star recruit to reconsider his decision.
Teddy Rezac, athlete: Frankly, Nebraska was too slow on the draw and missed out on one of the state’s top athletes. Rezac received an offer and visited Notre Dame within days of each other. Then came an offer from Nebraska. He committed to the Irish the next day. The Omaha Westside 3-star recruit loved his visit to South Bend and Marcus Freeman’s trust in him clearly resonated. But if anything could get someone to reconsider their options, it’s a state teeming with optimism for Husker football each weekend.
Gage Ginther, offensive lineman: The big man from Fort Collins, Colorado, seemed like he was the next member of Nebraska’s recruiting class in the spring. Then he visited Tennessee and committed. Ginther spoke highly about the Nebraska coaching staff, the players in the program and the environment in Lincoln during his April visit. Perhaps an improved Husker offense with strong offensive line play makes Ginther give Nebraska a second look. He seems pretty set, since his only official summer visit went to Tennessee, but weirder things have happened in college football.
William Nettles, cornerback: Nebraska’s outreach to Texas included Nettles. Rhule and his staff offered Nettles in March and welcomed the 3-star receiver in April. He liked those visits enough to make Nebraska his first official visit stop in June. Now the promising physical speedster is committed to Purdue, thanks at least in part to new cornerbacks coach Sam Carter, who was previously at Ole Miss and Arkansas. Nettles is willing to commit to the Big Ten over Texas (also visited SMU), so maybe he’s willing to pick Nebraska over Purdue in the end.
Caleb Mitchell, defensive lineman: Mitchell stood out to Nebraska coaches on the recruiting trail because of his size (6-foot-2, 255 pounds) and power. He used to play at champion DeSoto, where the Huskers have some ties. Now he’s at Dallas Parish Episcopal for a senior season. Nebraska offered him just after Christmas but couldn’t get him to visit in the spring or summer. However, if he takes care of business this season, coaches outside of Purdue will want his attention. Then the ball is in his court.
There’s still not much indication when Grant Brix will make his decision. The Logan-Magnolia, Iowa, offensive lineman, one of the Huskers’ top targets at this time, could drag his decision into his senior year. Or the 4-star big man could commit before August 1 and put his future plans away so he can focus on a final year of high school ball.
Gatlin Bair, 4-star receiver from Burley, Idaho, announced he’ll commit on August 5. Bair included Nebraska in his final list of schools. He visited Oregon, Michigan and TCU this summer but hasn’t taken officials to Boise State or Lincoln.
Nebraska is still No. 18 in the composite recruiting rankings and No. 5 in the Big Ten. The Huskers are behind Ohio State (No. 2), Michigan (No. 4), USC (No. 6) and Penn State (No. 7) at this point. That can, and almost definitely will, change before any games kick off this fall.
>> The NBA Summer League provided former Nebraska standout Sam Griesel received the opportunity of the lifetime. He recapped his summer before he takes off to play professional ball in Germany.
>> Nebraska baseball coach Will Bolt recently discussed shuffles to the coaching staff and the subsequent recruiting shift. You can check out the interview with him on the Hail Varsity YouTube channel.