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 2019 season was filled with not-so-great special teams for Nebraska. The issues were wide ranging. The Huskers had six players attempt field goals. It was a unique situation that everyone associated with Husker football hopes to never see again. None of those six players are going to be on the team this season.
The special teams woes went beyond extra points and field goals. The Huskers had just 14 touchbacks in the 2019 season, which was just 21% of their total kickoffs. For comparisons sake, their opponents had 35 touchbacks or 52% of their total kickoffs. Nebraska also gave up two kickoff return touchdowns during the season. Scott Frost and his staff knew something had to be done to try fixing a part of the game that cost the team. The margin for error in this program hasn’t been very big lately so they went to work. Nebraska played in six games that ended with a margin of seven points or less. They were 2-4 in those games.
There is a new coach running the units in analyst Jonathan Rutledge. The Huskers have added several new specialists to the mix that will compete for playing time. This offseason has been the year of the specialist addition for Nebraska. Here is how Nebraska’s new crop of specialists looks today.
PK: Connor Culp (SR), Chase Contreraz (SO), Gabe Heins (rFR)
P: William Przystup (SO), Grant Detlefsen (rFR), Daniel Cerni (FR), Sami Khawja (FR)
K/P: Tyler Crawford
The two most recent additions—Culp and Cerni look to have an inside track to win the kicking and punting duties right now. Culp, an LSU transfer is the only kicker with Division I experience. He will walk on in the fall and have one year of eligibility. Australia native Cerni is entering the mix as a scholarship player. That signals that he has a great shot to be the starting punter this season. He is currently the only specialist on scholarship. The spot most up for grabs right now might be kickoff specialist but there are plenty of players vying for the job.
"That's a place where we need some new guys to come in," Frost said in March. "We are waiting on a few of our commits and recruits from last year to come in and give us depth and more talent at certain places. Certainly, kicker has been an issue for a little bit around here. We are not in the best place right now. I think coach Rutledge has some ideas for how to address those things.”
Rutledge has seen some ideas on additions to the team come to fruition since being on the job. Now his works begins to do his part to improve the product on the field for the Huskers in the 2020 campaign.
>> Kansas City defensive end Tobechi Okoli included the Huskers in his top eight over the weekend.
>> Potential running back transfer Tazhawn Henry committed to Houston after leaving Texas Tech.
— ᵀᴴ²⁶ (@TazhawnHenry) May 16, 2020
>> Oklahoma outside linebacker Collin Oliver elected to stay home by committing to Oklahoma State.
— Collin Oliver (@cloliver25) May 15, 2020
>> Offensive line target Marcus Mbow may have lost another opportunity to visit Nebraska with the dead period being extended but you can see him here showing off his athleticism.
— Marcus Mbow (@MarcusMbow) May 16, 2020
>> As Erin Sorensen writes, Noah Vedral’s journey is cool and weird but his nonetheless.
>> Big-time 2020 wideout commit Zavier Betts will be eligible to enroll at Nebraska this summer.
>> The next edition of film study has Jacob Padilla taking a look at offensive tackle Bryce Benhart’s snaps.
>> Let’s take a look at how the NCAA’s transfer decision could impact Nebraska basketball.
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.