Strong Recruiting Foundation
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Strong Recruiting Foundation, Finish Give Huskers a Lot to Like in 2020

December 19, 2019

What a day it was for Nebraska as the early signing period opened up on Wednesday. 

The events (and commitments) we saw were the culmination of the fireworks that started last week. Starting on Dec. 11, the Huskers went on an incredible run to close this portion of the 2020 recruiting class.

Let’s take a look at the list of players Nebraska added to its 2020 class since Dec. 11:

  • JUCO LB Eteva Mauga-Clements
  • JUCO WR Omar Manning
  • ILB Keyshawn Greene
  • JUCO OLB Niko Cooper
  • OLB Jimari Butler
  • JUCO DT Jordon Riley
  • DB Jaiden Francois
  • WR Marcus Fleming
  • WR Alante Brown
  • JUCO DL Pheldarius Payne

Nebraska also added a handful of projected impact walk-ons. Colorado State transfer Nouredin Nouili, Lincoln Southeast defensive back Isaac Gifford and Johnson-Brock wide receiver Ty Hahn all joined the team with various promises of scholarships down the road. 

Nebraska bolstered its roster and recruiting class in a big way over the last seven days. All those players elevated the class—there is no denying that—and they fueled the rapid rise of the class. The class is now firmly ranked as the best in the Big Ten West and fourth overall behind Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State. 

Don’t lose sight on the players who were the foundation of the class though. While many received phone calls and texts from other programs, they stuck with their commitments to Nebraska. That set the stage for the big rankings bump.

Let’s take a look at that list:

  • QB Logan Smothers
  • WR Zavier Betts
  • OT Turner Corcoran
  • DB Tamon Lynum
  • OL Alex Conn
  • DT Nash Hutmacher
  • OLB Blaise Gunnerson
  • WR Will Nixon
  • RB Sevion Morrison
  • RB Marvin Scott III
  • DB Henry Gray
  • DB Marquis Black

Outside linebacker Junior Aho verbally committed between the lull in commitments and the big run after the season. He and Bellevue West wide receiver Zavier Betts are Nebraska’s only committed players who have not signed a letter of intent at this point.

Those two groups of players add up to quite the haul for Coach Scott Frost and his staff. The Huskers closed strong and made it happen despite some anxious days in the offices. 

“It was anxious. It just kind of felt this year that a lot of kids we really were invested in and wanted in our program were making late decisions,” Frost said at his signing day press conference. “I heard all the talk early on about how we were behind, and we were behind. We kind of knew that, but we were kind of betting on ourselves in recruiting and had a lot of really good targets out there and luckily we were able to land quite a few of them.”

The story of this recruiting class will likely be about the finish that the Huskers put together, but it won’t just be about the late additions to the class. The players that held on to their commitments in the class are the reason why I said throughout the season that the foundation of the class was set. It just needed more players. 

The Huskers got those players—save for Kaden Johnson and Myles Slusher—this cycle. Now the work begins to turn the talent accumulation into better on field results. If you’re someone who believes more talent will lead to more wins in Lincoln, these last two recruiting cycles have to make you excited for the future.

Frost is excited too. 

“I’m really excited about this class," Frost said. "I think the thing that excited me the most was flying around the country for the last two weeks. Getting in homes with these guys and seeing what type of kids they are, what kind of personalities they have. Best thing about them is they love football, they love the game. They’re excited. They want to be at Nebraska. 

“I would walk out of almost every house and say we’ve got the chance to win a lot of games with kids like this coming to the program."

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