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Projecting Nebraska’s Top Three Recruiting Needs For 2021
Photo Credit: John Peterson

Nebraska Recruiting: What’s the Top Position of Focus for 2022 Class?

February 08, 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 questions never stop in the recruiting world. No matter what time of year it is, there is always something to talk about. Starting this week we will be taking reader and listener suggestions on questions. Then I will answer the questions in a quick video. This week’s question hit the topic of which position is the biggest need for the 2022 recruiting class.

Check out the first video in the series below.

Outside linebacker is so unique for any Nebraska recruiting class. It is almost always the top position of need. Good outside linebacker play is critical to elevate a 3-4 defense like the Huskers play. The team is always in need of hybrid players that can both rush the passer and stop the run. The Huskers have gotten better during defensive coordinator Erik Chinander’s time in Lincoln at stopping the run. There is a need to continue increasing the pressure from outside linebackers.

That key position was also the home to some misses in the 2021 recruiting cycle. TJ Bollers (Wisconsin), Patrick Payton (Florida State), Will Schweitzer (Notre Dame) and Christian Burkhalter (UCLA) were all players the Huskers had a chance with but didn’t get to Lincoln. There was a trickle down from those misses. Nebraska ended up with several players in the cycle that can play inside or outside linebacker in college. That might work out in the long run for the team.

Moving forward there are several names to watch. The Huskers trying to lock down the next group to add to outside linebackers coach Mike Dawson’s room. There are four names that have emerged early with plenty more coming over the coming months. The first group of names to focus on are all local. Columbus defender Ernest Hausmann (6-3, 205) is the hottest recruit in the state right now. He recently received offers from Michigan and Iowa. Hausmann is in frequent contact with the Huskers.

Let’s stay in the state. The Huskers are continuing to pursue Omaha Burke linebacker Devon Jackson. Standing at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, he could possibly play inside or outside. He’s a legitimate national recruit who has schools from around the nation after him. Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Texas A&M and others are standing out to him.

Over in Kansas Caden Crawford (6-5, 240) has the classic size that Chinander could be looking for in his defense. The Huskers are locked in a regional battle for Crawford. Kansas State and Iowa are two other teams recruiting him hard. One more emerging name to watch is Illinois native Jared Badie. At 6-foot-5 and 212 pounds, his frame is still filling out which makes him an intriguing option. Badie is up to double-digit offers with Iowa State, Illinois and Indiana among them.

Each cycle outside linebacker is a focus for Nebraska. This year won’t be any different as the team looks to continue finding ways to sign and develop pass rushers.

Recruit Watch

>> Bellevue West tight end Micah Riley picked up an SEC offer when Tennessee came to the table.

>> The Huskers are in the top six for Georgia defensive end Joshua White.

>> Minnesota wide receiver Kristen Hoskins showed off a Super Bowl related graphic the Huskers sent to him.


>> Is it Groundhog Day with the Huskers’ offensive line? Not so fast as Derek Peterson wrote last night.

>> Jacob Padilla has a Nebraska volleyball notebook (Premium) from the Maryland series.

>> In the latest episode of the Nebraska Preps Postgame show, Damon Benning and Jacob Padilla talk through a Spartan surprise, Westside’s rise and more.

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