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Nebraska Football Offensive Lineman Deshawn Woods at the Warren Academy Showcase
Photo Credit: Greg Smith

Storylines to Watch For Nebraska Recruiting in 2022 Class

February 07, 2021

The 2021 recruiting class is now in the rear view mirror. The Huskers put together another top 25 class under Scott Frost. That’s happened every year he has been in Lincoln. As we turn the page fully to the 2022 recruiting class it’s time to look at some of the top storylines I am keeping an eye on early for the class of 2022.

Dead Period Impact

The 2021 recruiting class was affected by the extended dead period in a big way. The NCAA put it in place last March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2022 class may end up feeling the impact even more. They weren’t able to go on early unofficial visits during last season. The dead period is scheduled to go through at least April, so it will cut into early official visits in the best case scenario. It’s not a guarantee that visits resume in April or May. This could get extended to June or beyond.

The dead period will have an impact on Nebraska’s ability to build the 2022 class. The staff is doing everything they can via Zoom but there is no substitute for getting prospects on campus. Especially prospects who are from outside the 500-mile radius that have less of an idea what the game day atmosphere is like.

Local Talent

The class of 2022 could have another strong local flavor for the Huskers. There are already five players in the state of Nebraska that hold offers from the Huskers. Outside linebacker Devon Jackson and offensive lineman Deshawn Woods have long held offers. Tight ends and teammates Kaden Helms and Micah Riley also have offers. Outside linebacker Ernest Hausmann from Columbus is one of the hottest recruits in the region right now. There are others in-state like Jake Appleget and Tyson Money who are on the cusp of getting an offer.

The Huskers are once again trying to make moves in the state of Missouri. It’s led by wide receiver Quinton Conley and defensive tackle Domonique Orange. The 2022 cycle is also strong in Kansas. Five prospects hold early offers from Nebraska in that state. Defensive end Caden Crawford and linebacker Gavin Meyers are a pair of Kansas natives who think highly of Nebraska. Jaren Kanak is an athlete prospect who is teammates with Meyers. He holds an offer from the Huskers. Iowa will also continue to be a focus. Offensive lineman Spruceton Buddenhagen and athlete Xavier Nwankpa hold offers from the state. So does sleeper defensive back Jahsiah Galvan.

Two Quarterbacks?

As it stands right now the Huskers have veteran quarterback Adrian Martinez and a pair of freshmen behind him. The future may still be bright for Logan Smothers and Heinrich Haarberg but until either makes a move, things are wide open behind Martinez. Could that pave the way for two quarterbacks to be taken in the 2022 class? Possibly. The first step is evaluating the players on campus then maybe going into the portal as Scott Frost explained on Thursday.

“We thought about maybe doing something before this semester started and trying to address the issue, but I didn’t want to make any quick moves that might be mistakes,” Frost said. “I imagine there will be more kids in the portal after the junior college season and [FCS] season and even probably more movement after spring ball. I also really want to see what we have in the room. I’ve really been impressed with Logan since he’s been here, really been impressed with Heinrich in the short time that he’s been here. Quarterback’s no different than anywhere else. We’ll take a look at what we have and we have a couple spots in our pocket to see if we need to get some help anywhere.”

The Huskers have not taken two quarterbacks in the Frost era. We’ll see if that changes in the 2022 cycle.

How Important Will the Fall Be?

So far in his tenure Frost has shown the ability to recruit well despite lackluster results. How long can that last? Without visits to prospects even more excited about Nebraska’s future, will recruits bring up the recent past more? Those potential concerns would be helped if the Huskers have a hot start to the season. The 2021 campaign is the most important for Frost in many ways. One of the things to watch is if recruits take a wait and see approach on what the Huskers are selling on the recruiting trail. That could end up working out for Nebraska. A slow start once again could sink the class before it can take off.

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