Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Nebraska Recruiting: The First Days of Matt Rhule Recruiting to Nebraska

November 29, 2022

Technically, Nebraska’s new head coach extended his first scholarship offer to a recruit before his first day at Nebraska. Matt Rhule’s contract stated Monday as his first day on the job but he wasted no time in offering Maryland speedster Dante Lovett the same day Nebraska confirmed Rhule as its new head coach. He offered Omaha Westside speedster Jaylen Lloyd the following day.

Rhule’s a hard working, feet-to-the-pavement kind of coach. He wanted to attack the job, evident in his 5 a.m. tweet from inside Memorial Stadium on Tuesday. But he’s not just rushing because that’s his preference. He’s on a deadline.

FBS coaches can hit the recruiting trail with in-home visits this week. Starting next Monday, the transfer portal officially opens. That leaves a few weeks before early signing period, when Nebraska can transition its 2023 recruiting commits into signed Huskers. It’s a good thing Rhule is eager to get started.

“We’re going to be really aggressive here, recruiting-wise,” Rhule said on Monday. “Trying to just bolster the class and get as much talent here as we can.”

Rhule said he will hit the road to recruit on Friday. Practically, what that looked like, he wasn’t sure yet. He wanted to send out as many people as he could, NCAA rules allow for 10 coaches to recruit during the period, but he wasn’t sure how many he’d have on his staff by the end of the week. Rhule met the 2022 Huskers early Monday but had not met with the coaching staff as of his introductory press conference.

It appears Evan Cooper, Rhule’s former cornerbacks coach and recruiting coordinator at Baylor, is set to join the Nebraska coaching staff. By Monday night Cooper changed his social media profile to reflect a position on Rhule’s staff. Numerous Nebraska targets and commits have since followed Cooper on Twitter. With multiple names linked to the Nebraska coaching staff, the staff could be finalized by the end of the week. Rhule said he hopes to host recruits for official visits next weekend.

“Part of that for me right now is going back and watching the tape, where do they fit, what do we need,” Rhule said. “I’d say there’s a lot of work that has to be done, recruiting-wise, in a short amount of time.”

His staff went to work the same day of his introduction, offering a couple of senior and junior standouts. Princewill Umanmielen, a 4-star senior edge out of Manor, Texas, announced on Monday he received an offer from Nebraska. His two older brothers played on the defensive line in college, including one at Florida. He has over a dozen scholarship offers and 65 tackles this year. Nebraska also offered 3-star senior Rahmir Stewart from Philadelphia. He’s the top safety from Pennsylvania in this class and garnered the multitude of offers that comes with the title.

Rhule also re-offered IMG Academy senior Cameron Lenhardt. The 4-star edge committed to Nebraska on August 25 but re-opened his commitment when interim head coach Mickey Joseph fired defensive coordinator Erik Chinander.

Recruit Watch

Nebraska still has an outside chance at 4-star Lehi, Utah, edge Tausili Akana, who comes off a monster season. Akana, the top-ranked prospect from Utah, tallied 63 tackles and 12.5 sacks this season. He made six tackles, four solo and 1.5 sacks, in Skyridge’s 17-7 win in the Utah 6A State Championship.

Stewart, one of the new offers from Rhule’s coaching staff, scored a rushing touchdown and nabbed two catches in a 55-7 win in the Pennsylvania state playoffs last weekend.


>> The Nebraska men’s basketball team will participate in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Wednesday as the Boston College Eagles come to Pinnacle Bank Arena.

>> Rhule is focused on the process to lay the foundation for future success at Nebraska.

>> Revisit the scenes of Rhule’s introduction by looking at the Hail Varsity photo gallery.

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