The Nebraska coaching staff transitioned its efforts from a flurry finish to the 2023 recruiting class into foundational building the 2024 class. Roger Gradney committed in February, shortly after National Signing Day. The Huskers built the rest of the class slowly until June. That brought 15 new commitments and a noticeable energy to the program.
Nebraska now stands at 23 recruits in the 2024 class. That could grow on Sunday with the potential commitment of Preston Taumua. He’s a top-250 recruit and the No. 15 interior offensive lineman in the composite rankings. Nebraska is still in the running for 4-star receiver Gatlin Bair from Idaho as well. The Huskers aren’t done building the 2024 recruiting class and there are a few names to watch who could still potentially join the class. Let’s take a look at it.
Caden Durham, running back: The 4-star recruit from Duncanville, Texas, is locked into an official visit to Lincoln in September. He’s a top-100 recruit and one of the country’s top-ranked running backs. Durham is fast, explosive and tough to tackle for Duncanville, the undefeated returning champions. He’s scheduled to commit in late August, a month before his visit to Nebraska during Michigan game weekend.
Caleb Benning, athlete: The Omaha Westside 3-star legacy could become a Husker this fall. Benning’s recruiting buzz subsided slightly last fall as he recovered from a collarbone injury. That forced him to sit until the state championship game, where he made two interceptions. He took an official visit to Nebraska in June but still holds offers from Kansas, Wisconsin, Duke, Minnesota, Iowa and others.
Navarro Schunke, offensive line: He was high-priority in the winter and could come back on Nebraska’s radar. The composite 3-star lineman from Brandon Valley in South Dakota rides the line with 4-star evaluations. He is considered a high-upside recruit with his motor on his frame (6-foot-5, 285 pounds). Schunke is also considering Kansas State, Kansas, Pittsburgh and South Dakota State.
Nebraska target Jacob Smith committed to Michigan on Thursday. Smith joins his twin brother Jerod as a commitment in the Wolverines’ 2024 recruiting class. Both 4-star recruits visited Nebraska in April and only Jacob returned for a summer official visit. Despite new energies around Lincoln, both Smith brothers chose the two-time defending Big Ten Champions.
Defensive lineman Tristan Johnson committed to UTSA on Wednesday. The standout at Bell High School in Hurst, Texas, became a camp target of Nebraska, even coming to Lincoln in June. Johnson chose to stay in the Lone Star State with the Roadrunners over Arizona State, North Texas, UNLV, Buffalo and Wyoming.
— Tristan Johnson (@TrexJohnson_35) July 12, 2023
It’s worth noting just a few weeks lay between now and the high school football season. Nebraska is one of the states that kicks off first with games starting on August 18. That following week, for example, Texas high school football kicks off its season. Iowa, Missouri and Kansas start the weekend of August 25 as well. Those teams start practice in just a few short weeks.
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>> In his latest Padding The Stats column, Hail Varsity staff writer Jacob Padilla takes a look at the second chances afforded to Husker receivers Zavier Betts and Isaiah Garcia-Castaneda.