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Nebraska Recruiting: Which Position Improved Most Over Two Cycles?

February 24, 2020

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.

It’s a collaborative effort here at Hail Varsity. As you can imagine, we spend a lot of time together talking Huskers and sports in general. So on occasion, one of us will have an idea that another will use as the spark for a story idea. That’s happening with today’s notebook.

I had a notebook last Monday pondering the question of which position group in the 2020 recruiting class was the strongest for Nebraska. I settled on wide receiver as the winner. That gives Matt Lubick a set of tools to work with as he revives the Husker offense.

In the comments of that story, my colleague Jacob Padilla posed a question.

“I definitely agree with you about the wide receiver group being the best one from this class considering all he factors – quantity, star ratings, varied body types, upside and potential for immediate impact.

“But when you combine the last two classes, which coach would you say has done the best? Wide receiver takes a hit in that discussion considering we haven’t seen anything yet from the 2019 class and one of them is already gone.”

I have to agree that if we are combining the two classes, wide receiver is out of the discussion. Wan’Dale Robinson, plus the excitement for the 2020 wideouts, make for a compelling case. But, the departure of Darien Chase hurts the group. Offensive line merits consideration here based on upside. Bryce Benhart could start this season. Ethan Piper should be in the mix along with Turner Corcoran from the 2020 group.

For me, this comes down to the same final two that I had for the 2020 “best” group—defensive back and linebacker.

The infusion of talent at both spots has been impressive over the last two cycles. Linebacker quietly has a nice mix of players. The 2019 haul was Garrett Nelson, Nick Henrich, Jackson Hannah and Jamin Graham. That was followed by Blaise Gunnerson, Keyshawn Greene, Eteva Mauga-Clements, Niko Cooper and Jimari Butler. There is one player from that group, Nelson, who is seeing consistent snaps. Hopes are high for the rest of the 2019 guys and it is a safe bet that at least one from 2020 will contribute immediately.

Defensive back saw Myles Farmer, Javin Wright, Noa Pola-Gates and Quinton Newsome joined in the 2019 class. The 2020 group is impressive too. Jaiden Francois, Henry Gray, Ronald Delancy and Tamon Lynum all entered the mix this cycle. Newsome got some snaps last year and everyone in North Stadium is high on his potential. Farmer and Pola-Gates are big talents. Wright could give the Huskers a player that can also slide down in the box.

This is not an easy call but I’d give a slight nod to the defensive back group as the best group over the last two years. We are still talking about a lot of potential in the group. That’s OK though because they have only been here for a year. A lot of guys from these two groups will go on to be household names someday. Stacking recruiting classes that fit the system is a great step for the Huskers’ rebuild.

We’ll learn more as spring practice gets underway soon.

Recruit Watch

>> Chris Paul Jr., a priority linebacker target out of Georgia, is going to Florida State for Junior Day next month.

>> Nebraska quarterback Heinrich Haarberg picked up an offer from Central Michigan on Monday.

> > California tight end Jermaine Terry committed to Cal on Monday afternoon.


>> As Derek Peterson explains in his column, a one-time transfer rule is the right move. If handled properly.

>> In the latest High School Roundup, Wrightsell closed out the regular season in style.

>> Get ready for Nebraska basketball’s next game as they’ll look to end the losing streak against Illinois.

>> A few things are taking shape early on in the Husker baseball season.

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