Coach Scott Frost has a specific type of player he wants on his team. He’s been clear about that since Day 1. It’s always been about the individual and not about filling a class with a specific number.
“One thing we weren’t going to do was sign kids to fill spots,” Frost said after the early signind period in 2017. “We want kids who we know can become good people and can become good football players.”
Frost signed 10 players during that first early signing period — and his first as Nebraska’s head coach — one year ago. That included quarterback Adrian Martinez, who was the first recruiting target Frost called when he was hired by the Huskers.
One year later, Frost signed 23 players to Nebraska’s 2019 class in the early signing period (plus the addition of Oklahoma State graduate transfer Darrion Daniels). The class currently has eight four stars, including athlete Wandale Robinson, linebacker Nick Henrich and tight end Chris Hickman. Each player is talented enough (and their ratings reflect that) to only spend time talking about what they can potentially do on the football field for the Huskers.
Yet, Frost didn’t focus much of his time at the podium last Wednesday discussing the player ratings of his class. Instead, he focused on the people.
One of those four stars is defensive end Ty Robinson. He had the interest of programs like Alabama, USC, Oregon and Stanford. Nebraska snagged his signature.
“Ty is our kind of kid. I think he’s a Nebraska type of kid,” Frost said on Wednesday. “It helps that his grandpa is from O’Neill, Nebraska; that certainly didn’t hurt. I went to kindergarten and first grade in O’Neill, so we had a lot to talk about. Ty had a ton of choices, a lot of places to go. Coach Dawson deserves a ton of credit for that, I don’t know if I’ve seen one coach work as hard for one player as Coach Daws did to get Ty.”
By the way, Robinson’s visit included games of cornhole, ping pong and a little basketball. There was also a bonfire, a camel and “a dog that can go get waters out of the fridge on command for you.” While not necessarily a factor in a player’s personality (or recruitment), those are facts that still felt like they were worth mentioning.
Then there’s a guy like defensive end Garrett Nelson. He may have only been rated as a 3-star coming out of high school, but he was everything Frost wanted on defense.
"Garrett is one of my favorites,” Frost said on Sports Nightly this week. “He's got a unique personality and brings a lot of juice."
And that’s what Frost is looking for. He wants athletic ability, of course, but he’s also looking for a specific level of “toughness” and "guys you'd want to be in a scrap with.”
“That kind of edge, that kind of mentality, that kind of toughness. That's what Husker defense has been built on as I knew it,” Frost said. “The more guys we can get like that, I think the better mentality the whole defense will have."
The same goes for the offense. You’ll hear Frost and his staff talk about getting wide receivers on the field “that can hurt you if you leave them open,” or about players that can do multiple things to be “dangerous” to an opponent. You’ll also hear Frost talk about wanting winners, because the players that have already learned to win will hopefully bring that mentality to Nebraska.
The key is for every ounce of talent Frost recruits, he also has a specific personality in mind. It’s never been about meeting specific numbers for this staff, but more about getting the right players in the right places.
On Wednesday, Frost mentioned Nebraska’s potential to sign up to 30 players in the 2019 recruiting class. However, when you look back at exactly what he said, he never guaranteed 30 players. He said the Huskers “can sign up to” that many.
Again, it’s always been about the individual for Frost, not about filling a class with a specific number. That mentality will not only guide the remainder of the 2019 class, but Nebraska’s roster in the future.
Erin is the Deputy Editor and Digital Marketing Strategist for Hail Varsity. She has covered Nebraska athletics since 2012, which has included stops at Bleacher Report, Cox Media Group’s Land of 10, and even Hail Varsity (previously from 2012-2017). She has also been featured on the Big Ten Network, NET’s Big Red Wrap-Up, and a varsity of radio shows nationwide. When not covering the Huskers, Erin is probably at Chipotle.