Previewing the High School Season for Nebraska's In-State Commits
Photo Credit: Greg Smith

Previewing the High School Season for Nebraska’s In-State Commits

August 22, 2018

Friday night lights is back. The class of 2019 is a special group in Nebraska as many of the top players in the state will go on to play college football at the division one level. Nebraska currently has verbal commitments from four of the states’ top five players. Throughout the fall I’ll be chronicling what you need to know about each player and their season so far.

Linebacker Nick Henrich

Omaha Burke Schedule

Aug. 24 Lincoln Southeast (H)
Aug. 31 Millard West (H)
Sept. 7 Omaha Central (A)
Sept. 14 Omaha North (A)
Sept. 21 Elkhorn (H)
Sept. 28 Gretna (A)
Oct. 4 Fremont (H)
Oct. 12 Millard North (A)
Oct. 19 Papillion LaVista (H)


What you need to know about Henrich

Nick Henrich represented a huge recruiting win for Nebraska when he announced he was joining the 2019 class in July. Not only is he the best player in the state of Nebraska, but he is one of the best inside linebacker prospects in the country. It was especially important for the new staff to land him to show they meant business about keeping the best talent home. Henrich is an excellent prospect with good leadership qualities.

Game to watch

On Sept. 14, Burke takes on Omaha North in one of the best rivalry games in the state. The games between these two schools are always highly competitive and there will be lots of future college talent on display. Burke will be looking for revenge as North won 29-28 last season in the playoffs, going on to win the Class A state title.

What to know this week

The Bulldogs begin their season at home on Aug. 24 against Lincoln Southeast. There is a lot of pressure on Burke to deliver a state championship this season. They are embracing it with this season’s mantra being “unfinished business.”


Athlete Garrett Snodgrass

York Schedule

Aug. 24 Alliance (A)
Aug. 31 Blair (H)
Sept. 7 McCook (H)
Sept. 14 Skutt Catholic (A)
Sept. 21 Beatrice (A)
Sept. 28 Hastings (H)
Oct. 4 Northwest (A)
Oct. 12 Seward (A)
Oct. 19 Crete (H)

What you need to know about Snodgrass

Snodgrass is a do everything player for his York team. He has potential at multiple positions but his ultimate college spot is unclear. Last season on defense he recorded 90 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, three pass breakups, one interception and blocked three field goal attempts.

Game to watch

Sept. 14 is a busy day for rematch games around the state. That day features Omaha North-Omaha Burke but also that night York takes on Skutt Catholic. Last season, York beat Skutt 31-0 to win the Class B state title. This year the Dukes have to travel to Omaha to take on Skyhawks.

What to know this week

The Dukes are making the trip out to Alliance. York will start its Class B title defense on the road. The two teams did not face off last year. Alliance is looking to bounce back after going winless in 2017.


Defensive Lineman Ethan Piper

Norfolk Catholic Schedule

Aug. 24 Pierce (A)
Aug. 31 David City Aquinas (H)
Sept. 7 St. Paul (H)
Sept. 14 BDS (A)
Sept. 21 Crofton (H)
Sept. 28 Hartington Cedar Catholic (A)
Oct. 5 Battle Creek (H)
Oct. 12 Stanton (A)
Oct. 19 Ponca (A)

What you need to know about Piper

Piper is a good prospect who stars on both the offensive and defensive line for Norfolk Catholic. He projects as a defensive lineman right now for Nebraska. His quotes to me after he committed to Nebraska will make him an instant fan favorite.

“It sounds cliché to say that it is every Nebraska kids’ dream to wear the [scarlet] and white, but it is,” Piper said in March. “I grew up idolizing [Ndamukong] Suh and had Blackshirt posters all over my room. In fact, to be honest, I still have one up. Our family never had season tickets but would scratch up enough money to go to at least one game every year. I’d sit next to old ladies who I [had] never met who would give me their leftover popcorn and we’d leave as friends. It’s not just a game or a sport here in Nebraska but the lifeblood of so many.”

Game to watch

The Knights will face five playoff teams from last season. Their toughest game is against Ponca, which finished 2017 at 10-1. That game will be a tough road test late in the season before the state playoffs begin.

What to know this week

Anytime you start your season off with a rivalry game, it’s going to be fun. In week one, Norfolk Catholic squares off against Pierce. Last season Pierce finished 7-5. Norfolk Catholic beat Pierce 28-13 last September.


Outside Linebacker Garrett Nelson

Scottsbluff Schedule

Aug. 24 North Platte (A)
Aug. 31 Hastings (H)
Sept. 7 Northwest (H)
Sept. 14 Sterling (A)
Sept. 21 Gering (H)
Sept. 28 Sidney (H)
Oct. 5 Lexington (A)
Oct. 12 Alliance (A)
Oct. 19 McCook (H)

What you need to know about Nelson

Nelson was the first player to commit to the class of 2019 for Nebraska. He did so back on June 24, 2017. Nelson is a Husker legacy as both of his parents are Nebraska alumni. His father, Chris Nelson, was an All-American wrestler for the Huskers in the early 1990s. His grandfather, Ken Parish, was the head football coach at Cozad during the 1960s and 70s and has been a big part of Nelson’s life on and off the field.

Game to watch

Last season, the Bearcats’ only regular season loss was to McCook in a nail-biter, 17-14 at home. This year Scottsbluff will look to avenge that loss when they face off against McCook on Oct. 19.

What to know this week

To open the season, Nelson will lead his team on the road to face off against North Platte. The Bearcats have to replace starting quarterback Noah Bruner who totaled 935 yards (436 passing, 499 rushing) and 24 touchdowns (11 passing, 13 rushing) for the Bearcats in 2017.


Tight End Chris Hickman

Nebraska In-State Commit Nick Hickman

Aaron Babcock
Omaha Burke tight end Chris Hickman during a visit to Nebraska last October.

What you need to know about Hickman

Hickman is the only prospect of the top five in the state who has not already verbally committed to Nebraska. The Huskers are recruiting him hard and he has made multiple trips to Lincoln. Hickman is a versatile player who could play either tight end or defensive end in college.

Game I’ll be attending this week

This week, I’ll be taking in the Omaha Burke season opener as they host Lincoln Southeast. Burke games will be a hot ticket this year because of Husker linebacker commit Nick Henrich and Husker target Chris Hickman. Their team is loaded and it’ll be fun to see them kick off the potential state championship run.


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