Nebraska Cornhuskers wide receiver Omar Manning makes a catch during football practice
Photo Credit: John Peterson

Nebraska Recruiting: Upcoming Season an Opportunity For 2020 Class to Shine for Huskers

August 19, 2021

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 upcoming 2021 football season is filled with interesting storylines. It’s a big season for coach Scott Frost as he looks to get positive momentum in the program. One storyline is bubbling just beneath the surface: the emergence of the 2020 recruiting class. The class has mostly been known for attrition to this point. Six of the 23 players in the class have already left Nebraska.

The 2021 season is an opportunity for the perception of the class the change in a big way. Don’t look now but several players from that class are poised to be factors this season. Offensive tackle Turner Corcoran is the top player from that class. If healthy, he’s the starting left tackle. Omar Manning was the top-rated junior college player from that class. He should be on the field consistently for Nebraska this season. He’s had a good camp after a strong summer by all accounts.

The running back position battle has been watched closely this fall. Sevion Morrison is one of the key names to emerge toward the front of the pack. Offensive coordinator Matt Lubick said that Morrison jumped out to him immediately.

“He got his body ready in the summertime. Just the way he looked,” Lubick said. “And when he gets the ball in his hands, he’s been doing a lot of good things. He has great vision. He’s a guy we can throw the ball too. He’s very assignment-sound.”

Zavier Betts is a player having a strong camp from this class. Betts was candid in his assessment of his play from the spring and came back focused this summer. He’s made the most of his opportunities during camp.

“The big thing that he’s done is, he comes out and competes every day,” Lubick said. “You can make the argument some of the days you look out there and that guy might be our number one receiver. He’s continuing to make plays and is playing a high level.”

On the defensive side of the ball, it’s to be determined if any members of the 2020 class will be starters. There are players making significant pushes. Defensive lineman Jordon Riley will find himself in the two-deep this fall. He’s one of the potential breakout candidates for the team. Outside linebacker Pheldarius Payne is too, and he has a year of playing that position under his belt. Both will have roles in the defense this season with plenty of opportunity to show what they can do.

There could be surprises. Nash Hutmacher is a name we have heard from players on the team this fall as making improvements. It’ll be tough to find a consistent role in 2021 because of depth but Hutmacher could surprise. Then on offense, Will Nixon and Alante Brown are two players fighting to get into the mix. Both have a lot of talent but were slowed by injuries.

Some of these players listed taking the next step would be huge for Nebraska. The 2021 season will provide a lot of opportunity for players from the 2020 class. We should start seeing many of them make an impact on the field.

Recruit Watch

>> Check out this edit the Huskers did for North Platte defender Vince Genatone.

ICYMI

>> Lexi Sun leads the 2021 Nebraska volleyball issue of Hail Varsity which is on newsstands now.

>> Brandon Vogel has a can’t miss preview (Premium) of the 2021 Nebraska offense.

>> Starting spots are still up for grabs as the Huskers prep for the Red-White Scrimmage this weekend.

>> Linebacker Nick Henrich is trying to ‘control his own weather’ (Premium) heading into his third season.

>> The Hail Varsity staff dove into negative attention, looking for good news and more for the Huskers in the mailbag.

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