How we got here: The 2017 recruiting class saw Nebraska sign 3-star defensive tackle Deontre Thomas, 3-star defensive tackle Damion Daniels, 3-star defensive end Guy Thomas and 3-star defensive tackle Deiontae Watts. After the switch the 3-4 defense, Thomas was moved to outside linebacker. Watts didn’t qualify so the 2017 class really only included two defensive linemen in 2017.
Currently Nebraska has two very intriguing prospects in its class on the defensive line. Both Tate Wildeman and Masry Mapieu are players that could very well fall into the sleeper category of this class when it’s all said and done. Wildeman was a steal from Colorado and is an Iowa legacy. His dad was All-Big Ten in 1994 for Iowa . Wildeman plays with great technique for a young player. Mapieu is one of two in-state commits so far. He has a lot of upside and his best football is ahead of him. He’s raw but defensive line coach John Parrella will enjoy working with this young man from York.
Where they go from here: More than any other position, defensive line got the most reshuffling when Bob Diaco came in and changed the defense. There are many players the Huskers may have been after that simply did not fit the body type of 3-4 defensive linemen so that’s why I believe you have seen the staff be very selective in going hard after 2018 prospects.
There are a few names to keep an eye on though as we move along further into the 2018 cycle. Four-star defensive end Cameron Latu is set to make a decision on Friday, but right now he is considered a long shot to sign with Nebraska. Daniel Carson, a 3-star defensive end from Independence, Missouri, is a player Nebraska covets. He was on campus for the first Friday Night Lights camp and Nebraska made a strong impression on him. Another name that hasn’t been talked about a lot is Elijah Wade (6-5 240) out of Las Vegas, Nevada.
Keep in mind, there are a lot of young players in the program along the defensive line that have yet to prove themselves in a new defensive scheme, which should help clear up the recruiting picture in the months to come. Also expect senior film evaluation to help a few new names to surface at this position.