It’s a whirlwind time for Nebraska’s football team. And, in all likelihood, it’s not going to settle any time soon.
First of all, head coach Matt Rhule has to finalize his coaching staff. Nebraska confirmed six assistants last week and both Omar Hales and Adam DiMichele implied they’re part of the staff. Their positions with the program are unknown. And there are more spots left to fill. The complete coaching staff would alleviate some instability and woo potential recruits, high school students and transfers, to Lincoln. Some have decommitted from Nebraska and others haven’t yet committed because of it. But now Nebraska has a head coach and the remaining dominos can fall.
Rhule hasn’t recruited the transfer portal before. He and his staff have already offered a couple of FCS standouts who entered the portal. Both fit Rhule’s mold of talented, under-recruited athletes with considerable upside through development. On the eve of a big transfer portal announcement date, a handful of already declared transfer portal entries could find a home in Rhule’s system. Here they are and why they’d be potential plays for Nebraska.
Campbell Barrington, offensive line, BYU: He comes off a somewhat disappointing sophomore campaign following a Freshman All-America year in Provo. He was in line to start but lost his position in fall camp with the arrival of transfer Kingsley Suamataia. Barrington was a consensus 3-star recruit out of Spokane, Washington, then took his 2-year mission in Mexico.
Andre Carter, defensive line, Western Michigan: He’s a mobile defensive lineman who finished with 68 tackles. Carter is originally from Detroit and put on over 30 pounds in the Broncos’ system. He was offered by mostly Group of 5 programs, including Temple, in 2016, choosing Western Michigan over potential walk-on roles at Michigan State and Illinois. Carter was named second-team All-MAC this season.
Thomas Gore, defensive line, Georgia State: Gore is a highly-rated interior lineman according to Pro Football Focus and has 22 career TFLs, half of which are sacks. He was a 6-foot composite 2-star recruit out of high school in Tennessee. He’s also a former three-sport athlete who’s athletic enough to play nose guard and defensive end.
Ali Jennings III, wide receiver, Old Dominion: Jennings went for 959 receiving yards and broke 100 yards in five different games this year. He scored nine touchdowns this year, including three in the East Carolina game when he also had 300 yards. He was a 3-star recruit out of Virginia and played two seasons at West Virginia before transferring to ODU.
Carson Steele, running back, Ball State: One of the prized jewels of the initial portal announcements. He ran for over 1,500 yards and forced the second-most missed tackles in the country this season. He’s done that by hurdling and overpowering. Steel is a 6-foot running back from Indiana who could squat 615 pounds, bench 400 and power clean 300 at the start of the season.
Rhule and his coaching staff hosted Junior Day today, allowing in-state prospects to get to know Nebraska’s new staff. That involves recruits such as Caleb Benning from Omaha Westside and Carter Nelson of Ainsworth. Word out of the high school coaching ecosystem was that Rhule’s assembled staff so far made a good impression during a hectic weekend.
Outside state lines, Nebraska coaches offered sophomore quarterback EJ Colson from Georgia, junior offensive lineman Caleb Brewer of Pennsylvania and senior linebacker Latreveon McCutchin from Texas. Colson is from the same high school as Nebraska commit Barry Jackson, Brewer holds offers from a handful of Power 5 schools and McCutchin is the multi-athlete younger brother of USC cornerback Latrell McCutchin.
>> In other recruiting news, Elkhorn South standout Cole Ballard announced he’ll enroll at Nebraska as a preferred walk-on. That’s a big in-state pickup for Rhule’s staff.
>> Nebraska took care of business against Kansas this weekend to advance to the NCAA Sweet 16 in Louisville.
>> The Huskers pulled away from No. 20 Maryland in the second half, on the road, earlier today for their first road upset win of the season, 90-67.