Nebraska Cornhuskers firework for the Tunnel Walk before taking on Purdue.
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Nebraska Recruiting: What We’ve Learned From Huskers’ Early Portal Activity

December 02, 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 Huskers are off and running recruiting this week. Coaches can go out on the road and do in-home visits and drop by high schools. These two weeks leading up to the early signing period is when that always happens. There was a forced break from this recruiting activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic last year. It’s a welcome sight to have coaches back on the road.

The new thing for this recruiting cycle is how much the transfer portal is a focus for the Huskers. During the season coach Scott Frost decided that the path forward was to shift focus to the portal. It seems 2022 high school recruiting is less of an emphasis.

“This recruiting class, we’re going to focus on maybe some immediate impact guys a little more. Probably not sign as many freshmen,” coach Scott Frost said. “When you’re as close as we’ve been, one or two more pieces, one more two more guys, will get you over the hump. So we’re probably going to look to the transfer portal a little more, look to the junior college a little more. And focus on those things to make sure we replace a couple guys we might be losing and try to add just a couple more pieces I think we need.”

The Huskers’ shift towards more “immediate help” from transfers is caused by a pair of circumstances. The Huskers have had a tough time making headway bringing in top 2022 prospects. There are several reasons for that but the lack of wins is among the top reasons. It makes sense that in response to that the program would focus on bringing in transfers to bridge the gap.

There is an urgency created around bringing those transfers in though. Nebraska is facing a potential make-or-break season for Frost in 2022. He can’t afford to miss much on the players brought in to change the trajectory of his tenure at Nebraska. All that makes where the Huskers are putting their portal focus interesting.

So far, we have seen a handful of offers go out to potential transfers. Each scholarship offer has gone to two different positions. Offensive line and defensive back. The Huskers have no offensive linemen committed for the 2022 recruiting class. The team has a pair of defensive backs. Millard South defensive back/nickel Gage Stenger and defensive back Jalil Martin.

The Huskers offered Abeline Christian defensive back Ryan Stapp. Since entering the portal Stapp (6-0, 170) also has offers from Minnesota, Mississippi State and Washington State. Stapp has two seasons left of eligibility. The other defensive back offer so far was made to Temple defensive back MJ Griffin. The safety (6-1, 200) has three years of eligibility left. Griffin has been offered by Kansas, Georgia Tech, Louisville and others.

A pair of offensive lineman offers have been made to portal players by the Huskers. Cornell’s Hunter Nourzad (6-4, 298) was offered by the Huskers. Nourzad has offers from Purdue, Syracuse and Kansas. He helped the Big Red give up the fewest sacks in the Ivy League last season. The other offer went to Florida International transfer Sione Finau. The lineman (6-3, 300) has three years of eligibility left. Finau has has offers from Purdue, Vanderbilt, Indiana and Maryland among others.

The Huskers have a lot of needs this offseason. The pending decisions of some current Huskers may change those needs. We know from the start of the offseason that offensive line and defensive back are priorities. The team will need to hit some home runs in the portal.

Recruit Watch

>> Creighton Prep 2023 offensive lineman Sam Sledge released his highlights on Thursday.

>> Priority 2023 Iowa defensive lineman target Andrew Depaepe dropped his highlights.

>> Nebraska 2022 running back target Emmett Johnson was named Max Preps Minnesota high school play of the year.


>> Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez entered the transfer portal on Thursday.

>> The Nebraska recruiting tracker has been updated (Premium) for Thursday tracking the Huskers’ activity.

>> Jacob Padilla is pondering player management and the portal in the latest Padding the Stats.

>> Tom’s Time is looking back at the Huskers opening up the offense against Kansas in 1994.

>> The Nebraska Shootaround podcast with Jacob Padilla and Jacob Bigelow looked into the missed opportunity for the Huskers.

>> Check out who Steve Marik believes could provide a spark for Nebraska’s running game (Premium) in the portal.

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