How we got here: Nebraska signed defensive ends Tate Wildeman and Casey Rogers in the 2018 recruiting class to bolster its defensive line. The new staff pursued eventual Wisconsin signee Bryson Williams for an additional defensive tackle, but it was too late to establish a connection with him.
After signing just two defensive lineman in the 2018 class, it would be easy to assume Nebraska will go heavy on the defensive line in the 2019 recruiting class. That isn’t the case. The Huskers will return 11 scholarship defensive linemen after the 2018 season, so they can afford to be selective. Plus, Wildeman and Rogers should both fit in nicely as 3-4 defensive ends for defensive line coach Mike Dawson and defensive coordinator Erik Chinander.
Nebraska also picked up transfer Vaha Vainuku from Utah this spring, who has two seasons of eligibility remaining. The Huskers also have an intriguing in-state prospect committed in Norfolk Catholic star Ethan Piper. The versatile lineman is slotted to play defensive tackle and will give the Huskers an interesting option down the road.
Where they go from here: I believe Nebraska's defensive line must lead the way to help the Huskers return to the type of defense fans would like to see. If you look at the top teams in the country, one thing they have in common is strong defensive line play and deep defensive lines. For that reason, I think it’s encouraging that Nebraska is in good position with a number of defensive line prospects in the 2019 class.
During the spring, 4-star DE Ty Robinson visited Lincoln multiple times. He has strong family ties to Nebraska and I would consider the Huskers a leader for his commitment at this point. With that said, he has slowed down his recruiting process and will take visits during the fall.
Mosai Newsom, a 3-star defensive end, is also toward the top of the Huskers' defensive board. Newsom was a multi-time visitor to Lincoln this spring. The Iowa defender is a great fit for what Nebraska is trying to accomplish with the defensive line.
At the tackle spot, Pima Community College defensive tackle Tony Fair committed to the Huskers on Thursday. While he was initially expected to join the 2019 Nebraska class in the spring, he slowed his commitment down significantly. Nebraska remained in great position with Flair, and it paid off.
At this point, Nebraska has a solid list of prospects to work with before even more names reveal themselves through senior film evaluation. There could also be surprise names that show interest in Nebraska, so I believe the Huskers are in good position to have a solid group of defensive linemen in the 2019 recruiting class.