With the early signing period wrapping up, and Nebraska sitting on another top-20 class that features mostly signees at this point, the Hail Varsity staff got together to run through each of their favorites from the class. For the sake of some informational diversity, we didn’t just run through the three highest-rated prospects.
- LB Keyshawn Greene: “Keyshawn is an unusual athlete when you watch his tape,” Scott Frost said on signing day. “His ability to get close to the football and make plays is pretty special.” When the head coach says that, you best pay attention. Turn on Greene’s highlights and, against high school competition, you’ll see him make plays that remind you of former Floridians at that position who were really good at Nebraska and at UCF (if you catch my drift). If he can do that against P5 players, we’ll be talking about this recruiting flip for a long time.
- DB Ronald Delancy III: Among the signees in the 2018 class, I’d say five have separated themselves so far. That includes the three top-rated players in the class—Adrian Martinez, Cam Jurgens, Maurice Washington—and the 14th- and 15th-highest rated, Deontai Williams and Cam Taylor-Britt. In the 2019 class, three scholarship guys didn’t redshirt: Wan’Dale Robinson (top-rated), Garrett Nelson (17th) and Quinton Newsome (19th). Point is, the top of the list is the top of the list for a reason, but there are always guys coming from down the list that make a quicker impact than anyone would think. Delancy could be that player for me. Coming from Florida powerhouse Miami Northwestern, he’s played corner with and against a high level of talent. Get him with Travis Fisher for a bit and I think his ceiling is extremely high.
- RB Marvin Scott III: Let’s make it a clean sweep for Florida signees (and a Roman numeral majority). Scott started playing varsity football as an eighth-grader. Over those five seasons, he rushed for 7,482 yards. He also bench-pressed more weight (405 pounds) than anyone weighing 199 pounds or less at Florida’s state weightlifting meet. Scott’s prep exploits are almost folkloric. Frost said he thinks Scott “is as physically developed of a kid as we have in this class. From a physical standpoint, I think he is ready to come in and play college football immediately.” If Scott gets up to speed on the playbook and pass blocking at the next level, you’ll see him on the field in 2020.
- DT Nash Hutmacher: This feels like an undervalued get here for Nebraska. He had five Power 5 offers: Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa State, Missouri and Oregon. It’s a bit surprising too, considering he’s a standout both as a football player and as a wrestler. His coach has called him a guy that “just doesn’t give up,” which is a big deal for Nebraska (regardless of the position). This feels like a get Nebraska could be saying “I told you so” about down the road.
- RB Sevion Morrison: A lot of programs wanted Morrison, including Big Ten foes Minnesota and Wisconsin. Nebraska got a big win by evaluating the running back early and becoming his first offer. Paid off, huh? The Oklahoma native broke Spencer Tillman’s school record for career rushing yards. It was a record that stood for 37 years until Morrison came along. And now he’s Nebraska-bound and I’m excited to see what running back coach Ryan Held can do with him.
- WRs Omar Manning and Zavier Betts: I’m cheating here but I’m not sorry. I feel like I need these two to go together, because they both present a big change for Nebraska’s receivers. How long have we been talking about the Huskers needing a big-bodied receiver, especially after the departure of Stanley Morgan? Heck, even when Morgan was still on the team it was a frequent topic about who would replace him, who would help him, etc. Now Nebraska has Manning and Betts. Manning is 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds. Betts is 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds (with room to grow). After so much talking about what Nebraska needed but didn’t have in 2019, it's nice to see it pay off on the recruiting trail.
- OT Turner Corcoran: Let’s not overthink the room here. There is a reason why Corcoran is rated so highly. Oklahoma and Ohio State were after him hard because he has All-America potential. He’s also a great kid. His impact may take a bit longer to show than some others because he plays on the line but it will be worth the wait. He’s a player you can build your program around.
- WR Alante Brown: I think Brown gets completely lost in the shuffle of players that joined the class in the late flurry of commitments. There is a lot to like there. He is an elite athlete who is a natural at wide receiver despite not having played the position long. His body is already somewhat developed and he is enrolling early so I would bet on him contributing early. His upside is enormous.
- DT Nash Hutmacher: I am very interested to follow his career. Everything about his background tells me that he will be successful. He also just *has* to be good based on already having a great nickname coming into college. It’s hard to top “The Polar Bear.”
- WR Zavier Betts: I’ve got a brand to live up to, so I can’t start anywhere but with the only in-state recruit among the scholarship signees. He’s also the only one of these guys who I’ve seen play in person. Betts is exactly what Nebraska needs as a 6-foot-3 receiver with the speed to stretch the field and the athleticism to go up and win 50-50 balls (I once saw him casually throw down a tip-slam in an AAU basketball game). Scott Frost giving him the go-ahead to sign is huge for Nebraska.
- CB Henry Gray: Since committing back in September, there hasn’t been a player more publicly gung-ho about being a part of this class and encouraging others to join him than Gray. Oh, and he just happens to be a 4-star prospect on the field as well wo turned down some big-time programs to play at Nebraska. At 6-foot-1, Gray has the size and physicality to also play safety if Nebraska asks him to.
- QB Logan Smothers: I have no idea what the future of the quarterback position is going to look like for Nebraska, but I know that room is better with Smothers in it. The guy suffered four cracked ribs, a hip-pointer and a collapsed lung and a few weeks later he was back on the field for an all-star game. He’s a heck of a lot tougher than I am and even if he doesn’t start any time soon, he’s going to keep the pressure on the guys ahead of him.
- OT Turner Corcoran: In the last two cycles, Nebraska has signed its tackles of the future. Bryce Benhart will man the right and Corcoran will man the left, assuming everything goes according to plan. “He is just as good of an offensive lineman as I saw on tape in the entire country,” Scott Frost said on signing day of the 6-foot-6, 280-pounder from Lawrence, Kansas. Frost called him the cornerstone piece of the 2020 class. Put more broadly—and I don’t think this is hyperbole—Corcoran is a cornerstone piece of the offense moving forward. He joins names like Wan’Dale Robinson in that regard. While I expect Corcoran to have the same path in his first year that Benhart had, this guy is the highest-rated recruit Nebraska has signed since the 2011 class for a reason.
- OLB Blaise Gunnerson: Hello, my name is Derek Peterson and I am the captain and conductor of this here hype train. I am offering you a one-time offer to come on board. Choose wisely, because if my offer now is not accepted, you will not be allowed onto the train at any point in the future. You will want to be on the train in the future. A guy whose name perfectly fits his position in a way I haven’t seen since Eric Striker, Gunnerson is what this staff is looking for in an outside linebacker. Size (6-foot-5 and enrolling early, meaning extra Zach Duval time), athleticism, bend, and twitch. Gunnerson has been dealing with injuries the last two seasons, but his senior year was enough to earn an All-America Bowl invitation. I think Gunnerson becomes the answer at one of Erik Chinander’s two outside linebacker spots.
- WR Omar Manning: Nebraska had a need. Nebraska filled that need. “All year we kind of wished we were a little more productive at our outside receiver spot,” Frost said. “That’s one place where we thought we wanted a kind of guy that could come in and potentially help us right away. There wasn’t a better guy in the country, in my opinion, for what we were looking for than him. He looks different than anybody I’ve ever coached and has tape to match. I’m really excited to get him.” Manning is entering into as perfect a situation as an incoming wideout could. Nebraska has the complimentary receivers around him to allow him to flourish, it has a quarterback that needs his exact skillset, and it has an offensive coaching staff that should be able to maximize his ability.
Derek is a newbie on the Hail Varsity staff covering Husker athletics. In college, he was best known as ‘that guy from Twitter.’ He has covered a Sugar Bowl, a tennis national championship and almost everything in between (except an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game… *tears*). In his spare time, he can be found arguing with literally anyone about sports.