Now that we are into the new year coaches and staff have returned from time away with family to enjoy the holidays, we are starting to see more activity with Nebraska recruiting. The early signing period is behind us and the Huskers got signatures from 14 player. There are 13 high school players and one JUCO player on the way to Lincoln. We knew it would be a small recruiting class all along. After the COVID eligibility freeze, numbers were tight for Nebraska. The Huskers also had a tough time gaining traction with top high school prospects during the 2022 recruiting cycle.
The team turned its attention towards the transfer portal for more immediate help. That reflects the current reality of the program. Coach Scott Frost is in win-now mode. The chances are better that he can find players to help win now in the portal than the high school ranks. The Huskers have six scholarship transfers set to join the team. Being aggressive in the portal has helped other teams, and Nebraska hopes it is next in line.
The team has done work to address glaring needs. The team needed a defensive back with some experience and got that with Tommi Hill. Special teams had to get new blood. Bringing in a scholarship kicker and punter is a good move. Frost is reshaping the offensive line room on the fly alongside new coach Donovan Raiola. But there are still needs that can be addressed.
High school recruiting for the rest of the 2022 isn’t likely to be a huge focus. That doesn’t mean there won’t be new targets that came on the board. The position I am watching closely on this is running back. Depending on who Nebraska hires to coach running backs that could open up new possibilities for a new back to join the team. The Huskers still need one more running back on the team. The room is still young. No one has separated themselves on a team that must get the traditional run game going in 2022.
Defensive back is the other spot that I could see the Huskers adding another high school player. If the team can land another really good player, I could see them signing one more. Keep in mind that the team is still filling holes from that 2020 recruiting class. That’s when many defensive backs left the team that didnt complete their first year on campus. One other thing that goes without saying is that if Nebraska can get an impact pass rusher they will make room. The Huskers have had a tough time doing that but the search continues.
The portal needs are going to be the main focus until the February signing day and beyond. The Huskers could elect to go the portal route with running back, defensive back and pass rusher. Blending youth in with veterans is a tricky thing. It needs to happen for long-term team building though.
Where I think the Huskers will get more players from the portal is at quarterback and offensive line. The talk around quarterbacks is heating up for Nebraska. I continue to hear that Nebraska wants to take two quarterbacks as transfers. The preference would be one veteran player and one player with multiple years of eligibility. There is an official visit scheduled with Florida State transfer Chubba Purdy for Jan. 14th weekend.
The Huskers are also in need of one more offensive lineman from the portal. Competition is going to be key this spring on the line. The Huskers may not end up with a complete overhaul of the line this year. It’s safe to say at least two spots will be different in 2022.
There is also the wildcard of taking a ‘best available’ type player. Maybe the Huskers can get another weapon in the passing game in the portal that can help immediately. That would be smart. A veteran defensive lineman to play nose tackle could be worth a look. There are many ways to go for Frost as he looks to jump start the program.
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.