The offseason is in full swing for Nebraska. There is a lot happening with new coaches needing to be hired by coach Scott Frost, current player decisions to leave Nebraska or stay, as well as recruiting. The Huskers had a full first week of doing in-home visits and drop-bys of high schools. There were a lot of new offers across all classes and even transfer offers made.
There are currently ten members of the 2022 recruiting class, which is still ranked last overall in the Big Ten in class rank. The class is still currently 11th in the conference based on average star rating. The Huskers are hoping to boost the class with transfer players that can help the team in the 2022 season. Nebraska does still plan to take three or four more high school prospects in the class. We’ll see how much movement there down the stretch run before the early signing period opens on Dec. 15.
Let’s keep track here of all the activity from the Husker coaching staff during week two of the offseason.
Monday morning update:
>> The Huskers are quickly building a nice visit list for the final weekend before the early signing period. Minnesota running back Emmett Johnson informed Hail Varsity that he has locked in his official visit. Johnson was recently named Mr. Football in Minnesota after an outstanding senior season. He doesn’t have an offer yet from the Huskers but the feeling is that he will get one in person from the Frost this weekend.
Dreams to reality blessed to be named MR FOOTBALL 🏆🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/aYXSxXO1Z1
— Emmett Johnson⚡️”Weapon” (@EmmettJohnson_) December 5, 2021
>> Defensive coordinator Erik Chinander and defensive line coach Tony Tuioti were in Council Bluffs for the playoff matchup between Iowa Western and Snow College over the weekend. I’m told they were there evaluating players from both teams but a pair of Snow defenders came away with offers. Both are defensive lineman. Cortez Hogans (6-4, 270) is originally from Chicago and committed to Boise State. Seleti Fevaleaki (6-2, 270) is uncommitted and holds offers from Indiana, Utah State and others. The Huskers were impressed with how disruptive both players were during the game on Saturday.
>> The hiring of wide receivers coach Mickey Joseph will help the Huskers in many ways. It created an instant excitement with prospects and the players in his room. Colorado 2022 commit Grant Page told me that he was very excited by the news that Joseph was joining the staff. Page had not spoken with Joseph yet but he can’t wait to connect with him. The pass catcher is still planning to enroll early at Nebraska.
>> The Huskers could be on commit watch again. The team hosted Mississippi defensive back Malcolm Hartzog over the weekend for an official visit. Sources tell me that the visit went very well. The defender has no other visits planned and could look to make an announcement on Monday. That bodes well for the Huskers’ chances.
Monday night update:
>> There is are some updates on the Husker coaching search. I reported last week in Big Red Recon that Frost was interviewing Donovan Raiola. That interview took place on Friday. Frost also interviewed Notre Dame offensive line coach Jeff Quinn in South Bend before the official visit weekend got kicked off back in Lincoln. I’d still count Raiola as the favorite right now but things can change quickly.
>> There is movement with the offensive coordinator position too. USC offensive coordinator Graham Harrell is being targeted by Frost. It makes sense if he is not retained on USC’s new staff under Lincoln Riley. The only thing complicating that is that Harrell could be up for some head coach positions that he may want to wait out. Virginia’s Robert Anae is also up for the job. He coaches offensive line as well so that would make an interesting combination. Especially given the number of Virgina linemen in the portal currently.
>> For what it’s worth there isn’t much I’m hearing on the special teams front besides Virginia’s Ricky Brumfield or keeping Bill Busch. Today it does feel like Frost will have a dedicated special teams coach. The specialists that the Huskers have talked to about joining the team have indicated it’s important to have a dedicated coach.
>> The Huskers offered a scholarship to Furman kicker Tommy Bleekrode. The team is hoping to lock in an official visit with him for this weekend. If everything comes together as planned the Huskers could have a big final visit weekend. The team is looking to finish the cycle strong as picking up commitments in back to back days.
Tuesday night update:
>> The biggest news for Nebraska this offseason seems to be on the horizon. Things are moving quickly with Frost filling out the remaining spots on his coaching staff. Multiple sources indicate the program is poised to bring in former Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Mark Whipple as the new offensive coordinator. Whipple resigned from his post early on Tuesday. Chicago Bears coach Donovan Raiola is also deep in negotiations to become the new offensive line coach for the Huskers. I am also told that Nebraska is close to hiring its first special teams coach under Scott Frost. Bill Busch looks like the choice to be the special teams coach after being an analyst for the team this season.
>> The only announced hire at this time for the Huskers is wide receivers coach Mickey Joseph. He hit the ground running in a big way on Tuesday. His first stop as a Husker assistant was to see one of the top running backs in the nation. Joseph, Frost and Ron Brown went to see Louisiana native TreVonte Citizen and Citizen came away with a scholarship offer from the Huskers.
The Huskers also made an offer to LSU wide receiver commit Decoldest Crawford. Joseph was his primary recruiter and the LSU staff is in transition. The 6-foot-1, 178-pound wideout is a 4-star prospect. It will be interesting to see if the Husker can get either Crawford or Citizen to visit Lincoln this weekend.
Nebraska made a 2023 offer to Curley Reed. He’s a teammate of Citizen’s and an early 4-star prospect. He already holds 10 scholarship offers.
>> The Huskers are also set to host their first transfer quarterback for an official visit this weekend. Akron transfer Zach Gibson tells me that he will be in Lincoln with his family for an official visit. The 6-foot-3, 209-pound redshirt sophomore finished the 2021 season with 1,262 yards and 10 touchdowns without an interception. Now that the Huskers seemed poise to hire Whipple we should see more quarterback activity.
Wednesday morning update:
>> The Huskers were hoping to get Oklahoma State transfer offensive lineman Hunter Anthony on campus for a visit this weekend. Those plans have changed and Anthony will no longer be taking that visit.
“Yeah, man. They offered an official visit but I am graduating this weekend,” Anthony said. “I am also finishing the bowl game with Oklahoma State.”
Anthony does hope to get to Lincoln as soon as possible for a visit and it is a priority for him. Transfers do not need to sign on Dec. 15 but can enroll at their school of choice. That’s interesting because Anthony said that he wants to be enrolled at his new school in the spring semester.
>> The Huskers do have an official visitor on campus right now. Nebraska is hosting Hutchinson Community College defensive back DeShon Singleton for a midweek visit. Singleton (6-3, 200) picked up an offer from the Huskers within the last week. Originally from Louisiana, Singleton profiles as a safety for the Huskers. He had 21 tackles and two interceptions this season. He is a full qualifier and will enroll at his next school in January.
Wednesday afternoon update:
>> Sources are telling me that Nebraska’s new wide receiver coach Mickey Jospeh is visiting LSU transfer portal quarterback Myles Brennan in hopes of bringing him to Nebraska. Brennan entered the season as the LSU starting quarterback before injuries derailed his season. He suffered a torn abdominal muscle against Missouri. The senior quarterback had 1,112 passing yards with 11 touchdowns, three interception before his season-ending injury. Southern Miss was believed to be the leader for Brennan until recently as the Huskers are making a strong push.
Thursday morning update:
>> College football recruiting is all about relationships. Building strong bonds with prospects and their families is a big reason why kids commit to schools. That doesn’t mean that you sour the relationship if a kid commits to a different school because you never know what can happen in a recruiting cycle. One player to watch now for the Huskers is Georgia safety Nathan Vail. The Huskers sent Chinander and inside linebackers coach Barrett Ruud in-home for a visit this week. Frost was at his school this week. Vail is committed to Duke but the Blue Devils are without a coach right now. The Georgia native took an official visit to Nebraska over the summer and picked Duke over the Huskers but now the Huskers are back in the game. Vail is an early enrollee so his final decision will be made quickly. Nebraska needs a safety in this class. He’s one to watch.
>> If there was any concern about 2022 wide receiver commit Victor Jones Jr., I can put that to rest. The Florida wideout has heard from Joseph since he was hired and the pair hit it off well.
“Yeah, he called me late last night and we talked,” Jones said. “He said he’s ready to work with me.”
Jones (6-2,180) is finishing up classes this week and then he will be all set to enroll at Nebraska in January. One of the Huskers’ earliest commits, Jones has been solid despite having many schools trying to pry him away.
>> I have a couple other quick housekeeping notes on current commits. Frost hasn’t been out to Nevada to see running back Ashton Hayes yet. The Huskers have had a lot going on for Frost to deal with so his visit has gotten rescheduled. Hayes isn’t concerned about potential competition with the team searching for more running backs.
Tight end Chase Androff is expecting tight end coach Sean Beckton to visit him today.
Thursday afternoon update:
>> There is quarterback news to share. Hail Varsity previously reported that Akron transfer Zach Gibson was coming in for an official visit this weekend. Gibson sent me a text saying the visit is now off. I asked Wilson if there was a particular reason why the visit isn’t happening.
“I guess the [offensive coordinator Mark Whipple] OC wanted to move in a different direction for now and reevaluate the quarterback room,” Gibson said.
Remember that Gibson did not have an offer yet from the Huskers. Hail Varsity reported yesterday that the Huskers are pushing hard for LSU transfer quarterback Myles Brennan. This move could be related to that or the Huskers could be moving in a different direction completely. We’ll see how it goes but now that the Huskers have an offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach in place things could move quickly.
Keep it locked on Hail Varsity for the latest updates from the recruiting trail.
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.