Nebraska Recruiting: Early Signing Day 2019 Updates
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Nebraska Recruiting: Why Multi-Sport Athletes Are Coveted

October 10, 2019

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.


Since coach Scott Frost and his staff have taken over in Lincoln we have heard Frost and other coaches on his staff mention that they like to recruit multi-sport athletes. There are plenty of benefits to recruiting athletes that play multiple sports. What about what the athletes lose by focusing solely on one sport?

This week the topic came up at Iowa State. Cyclones coach Matt Campbell laid out why his program targets multi-sport athletes. For Campbell, there is a specific recruiting reason to do so. They want to see their future players in as many competitive situations as possible. 

“The greatest ingredient you lose is, you lose competition and how to compete,” Campbell said. “You can’t compete in the weight room, you can’t go compete with a trainer, even though everybody’s selling you to go do that. When you compete is when you’re winning or you’re losing and you’re figuring out a way to win. I think that’s what track teaches you, I think that’s what wrestling teaches you. That’s what basketball teaches you, that’s what baseball teaches you.”

During his weekly Monday press conference Frost was asked about recruiting players that are involved in multiple sports during high school as well.

"I don't think enough kids are playing in more than one sport,” Frost explained. “Specializing is great. You get better at your craft, but there's a lot of lessons to learn from other sports. Track makes you faster, more athletic, more explosive. Basketball helps you in body control, understanding space. The competition of all those things help. I want to recruit a lot of guys that are multi-sport athletes.

“It means they love competition. They love being out there. There are different players that are and aren't. If I had a choice, I'd take guys that are playing sports year-around."

Several Husker commits played multiple sports throughout high school in the 2019 class.

  • Noa Pola-Gates
  • Jackson Hannah
  • Rahmir Johnson
  • Myles Farmer
  • Demariyon Houston
  • Darien Chase
  • Garrett Snodgrass
  • Ethan Piper
  • Bryce Benhart
  • Garrett Nelson
  • Jamie Nance

Track, by far, is the most common sport that Nebraska’s signees take part in besides football. Some of the guys that play in the trenches also have a wrestling background in high school, too. The trend continues in the 2020 cycle. Many current commits are multi-sport athletes. 

Specialization is not going away completely. On the surface it makes sense to focus all of your energy on the sport you want to play at the college level. There are benefits of specializing, especially if you are playing a position like quarterback where you can get good training. However, it is worth keeping in mind that many coaches out there just want to see prospects compete. It’s an intangible that won’t exactly show up from sport-specific training.

Recruit Watch

>> Miami 2021 running back Kelly Loiseau included the Huskers in his top seven on Wednesday. Loiseau may get to Lincoln this season for a game.

>> Ethan Downs, a 2021 pass-rusher from Oklahoma, committed to the Sooners Wednesday night. Downs visited Nebraska for the Ohio State game.

>> Thomas Fidone, an Iowa tight end in the 2021 cycle, picked up an offer from LSU. He recently was offered by Nebraska. 

>> Top outside linebacker target Kaden Johnson will take an official visit to Oregon State this weekend. 

ICYMI

>> I took a look at Minnesota’s recruiting (Premium) ahead of the game this weekend. 

>> The Domann nickel (Premium) has become Nebraska’s base defense, writes Jacob Padilla. 

>> John Cook is turning up the heat in practice as Nebraska prepares for Michigan weekend.

>> We learned from Frost that we need to take a wait-and-see approach on if Adrian Martinez, JD Spielman and Matt Waldoch will travel for the Huskers this weekend. 

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