Tracking Nebraska During Week 2 of Recruiting Contact Period
Photo Credit: Greg Smith

Tracking Nebraska During Week 2 of Recruiting Contact Period

December 14, 2019

We are in the second week of the contact period and the Nebraska coaching staff is out on the road in search of the next crop of Huskers as Coach Scott Frost tries to get the program off the ground. There is just one more full week left of recruiting and one visit weekend left before the early signing period opens on Dec. 18. 

Time is of the essence as Nebraska looks to round out a class that has a good start but still needs more players. 

So, where is the staff heading this week? I’ll update this space each day as Hail Varsity learns more.

Sunday Update

>> Part of the Huskers staff had an epic in-home visit with defensive tackle commit Nash Hutmacher. Scott Frost, Tony Tuioti, Erik Chinander and Mario Verduzco all went out pheasant hunting him and his family during the visit. 

Hutmacher is all set to sign next week and enroll at Nebraska this summer.

>> After leaving South Dakota that same group went south to Iowa to do an in-home visit with outside linebacker commit Blaise Gunnerson. 

As Hail Varsity reported last week, Gunnerson will sign on Dec. 18 and enroll early in January.

>> On Saturday running backs coach Ryan Held and outside linebackers coach Jovan Dewitt got away quickly to go to Hutchinson Community College to visit defensive end/outside linebacker Niko Cooper. Then on Sunday when the visits reset, Held went back to the school to see Cooper again. The Huskers persisitence paid off and Cooper announced he would be taking an official visit to Nebraska this coming weekend. His mom and oldest brother will be taking the trip with him.

Monday Update

>> Frost will be in Mobile, Alabama, this morning visiting outside linebacker Jimari Butler. The pass rusher was in Lincoln over the weekend. I don’t have a full update from him yet but he did reach out to tell me that he didn’t think things would work out with Tennessee and he is decommitted from the Vols. He still has an official visit set to TCU this weekend.  

>> I caught up briefly with JUCO defensive lineman Pheldarius Payne after his official visit this weekend. 

“I would say it went good,” Payne relayed. “Talking to the coaches, the facilities, the players, the people that go to the school and the food..everything was just amazing.”

Payne spent most of his time with Tuioti who explained to him how the Huskers would use him in their defense. 

“Everywhere on the defense line except nose,” he said. “All types of shades and I can play all three downs.” 

Payne graduates in May. He will be making his ultimate choice between NC State, who he is committed to, and Nebraska. He is planning to make his final choice this month.

>> This week is going to be one big puzzle trying to figure out where and when Scott Frost is using his final in-home visits. When he does the visits is as important as who he is visiting. The biggest defensive target on the board for Nebraska right now is 4-star outside linebacker target Kaden Johnson. The hybrid outside linebacker has informed me that Frost will be doing his in-home visit with Johnson on Saturday. 

In my mind, Frost is doing that to be the last visit that Johnson gets before deciding. It is now likely that Johnson decides during the early signing period. He relayed that he is focusing on Minnesota, Wisconsin, Oregon State and Nebraska. I believe Frost had the last in-home visit last cycle with Ty Robinson and Noa Pola-Gates so he is hoping for similar success.

>> Over the last few days a new school has emerged in the Omar Manning sweepstakes. It’s been pretty difficult to tell who exactly is recruiting him hard aside from the Huskers. What I can tell you is that over the last few days, Texas A&M has been in to see him twice. This evening, Manning announced that he received an offer from the Aggies.

I reached out to a source who didn’t think there would be much to A&M’s pursuit right now. However, the thing to watch with Manning is if he even signs in December. There is a lot of talk of him taking things all the way to February. It is also in question if he will be a December or May graduate. I am still working to get when he will sign and graduate fully confirmed but it’s worth mentioning as something to watch for now. 

>> In other receiver news, recent prep school wideout Alante Brown confirmed with me that he is taking an official visit to Lincoln on Thursday and Friday with his mom. After leaving Nebraska, Brown will go to Virginia Tech for the weekend. He plans to sign on Dec. 20.

>> There is some potential transfer news to discuss. Nouredin Nouili an offensive lineman from Firth, Nebraska, announced he would be leaving Colorado State and entering the transfer portal. 

I caught up with him briefly. He told me that he considers Nebraska home—he’s originally from Germany—so the Huskers will of course be in consideration. However, my feeling is that it is not a slam dunk if Nebraska were to offer a straight walk-on opportunity. Nouili may have other options for scholarships which could make things more difficult. Nouili worked his way into CSU’s line rotation this season as a freshman.

Tuesday Update

>> After spending Monday in Florida, Frost will be heading to Kansas on Tuesday. His first stop is to see offensive line commit Alex Conn for a visit. Hail Varsity has also learned that Nebraska’s top-rated commit, Turner Corcoran, will receive an in-home on Tuesday evening. Corcoran told me this morning that he is expecting Frost, Held, Austin and Verduzco at the house. 

>> The Huskers’ search for a bigger receiver in this class is well-known. One of the potential prospects to fill that void is recent Missouri decommit Javian Hester. The Oklahoma native (6-3, 190) has been pursued heavily by the Huskers and just took an official visit to UCLA last weekend. I exchanged messages with him this morning and he has not yet locked in an official for this weekend. He said he is deciding between coming to Nebraska and Missouri to see what the new coaching staff has to offer there.  

>> On Monday I reported that Jimari Butler, the outside linebacker from Alabama, would be leaving the Tennessee recruiting class. On Tuesday he made it official. Frost went in-home with Butler on Monday. 

Wednesday Update

> > Let’s start the day off with some big news. The Huskers have been trying to land major pass rushers at outside linebacker for multiple cycles now. They almost pulled it off two cycles ago when Caleb Tannor committed and Javontae Jean-Baptiste was supposed to be a Husker before Urban Meyer swooped in. 

This cycle the Huskers already have Blaise Gunnerson in the fold but they are looking to add more. Minnesota 4-star Kaden Johnson and Alabama 3-star Jimari Butler are two prospects that Nebraska is in good position with. On Wednesday, Florida 4-star outside linebacker Keyshawn Greene told Hail Varsity that he will be taking an official visit to Nebraska this weekend. Greene, a former Florida State commit, told me that defensive backs coach Travis Fisher is who he is in contact with the most. 

“Coach Fisher, I love that man. He’s cool and he keeps it 100 with me,” he said. “I talk to all the coaches a lot though too. They are all cool.”

Suddenly the Huskers are in the mix for a handful of players at a big position of need as we count down the days to the early signing period. 

>> A group of Nebraska coaches are in Oklahoma trying to change the mind of wide receiver Javian Hester who was supposed to visit Missouri this weekend instead of Nebraska.

I’ll report back when I find out if they were successful in those efforts.

>> I believe tight ends coach Sean Beckton is down in Georgia today making contact with future prospects. A number of new offers have gone out in the Peach State for the 2021 class. 

Based on the group visits taking place and amount of future recruiting taking place right now, it feels like the Huskers think they are in good shape with some key targets. We will see. 

Thursday Update

>> Yesterday evening, Frost took a quick flight down to Oklahoma to do an in-home with defensive back Myles Slusher. He was joined by Chinander, Verduzco and Fisher.

The Oregon commit has been checking his options out since he was at UCLA for an official visit last weekend with Huskers receiver target Javian Hester. Slusher has had a strange recruitment. He looked like a good flip candidate going into Ohio State weekend but during that game tweeted about Oregon while on Nebraska’s campus. The Huskers appear to be very interested still but have they made up enough ground? 

>> Frost will begin his Thursday in South Florida and I suspect at least Fisher will join him. Ronald Delancy had already informed Hail Varsity that he expects the Huskers today. So it makes sense for them to also see his teammate, 4-star wide receiver Marcus Fleming. The Huskers are in a good position for the speedster who took an official visit for the game against Wisconsin.

> > I’ll have more in a full article soon but after talking to new commit Eteva Mauga-Clements’ dad , Derrick, the Huskers are really getting a player with a lot of potential. Derrick also gave some great insight into what it is like for a parent on an official visit.  

>> Remember Jamar Sekona? The California defensive lineman came out for an unofficial visit during the spring game. He was supposed to come back out for an official visit but committed to USC before doing so. I just wanted to pass along that Nebraska was not by to see him at all during the contact period. There was a thought previously that Nebraska was still hoping to flip him. 

>> Inside linebackers coach Barrett Ruud is making the rounds in Omaha today. WE know he was already at Creighton Prep, home of 2021 athlete AJ Rollins. I have it confirmed that Ruud also stopped by Omaha Westside. That makes sense because 4-star cornerback Avante Dickerson released a top 3 of Ohio State, Nebraska and LSU on Thursday. 

>> There has been in change in Frost’s expected schedule for tonight. It was expected that Frost would fly cross-country from Florida to California to go in-home with 4-star cornerback Darion Green-Warren. The defender just told me that now only Chinander will be going to see him. Green-Warren just took an official visit to Michgan when most expect him to land now. It’s not all bad news for Nebraska though as this could mean one of the other defensive backs the Huskers are pursuing has indicated they will commit. 

Saturday Update

>> Now that Omar Manning is ‘N’ the biggest target on the board for Nebraska is 4-star outside linebacker Kaden Johnson. The Minnesota native still expects the Huskers to come by his house later in the day. I exchanged a few texts with him about the expected plan. Scott Frost and Erik Chinander are the two coaches he is expecting. The plan is for them to be there in the early evening. 

Perhaps an even bigger piece of news is that Johnson told me that he will be signing next week. So putting it all together, the Huskers went in-home with Johnson on the first day of the contact period. They are sending the head coach and defensive coordinator on the final day during an official visit weekend. He also plans to sign next week. 

Things continue to look good for Nebraska here. I still believe Wisconsin, not Minnesota is the biggest threat for the hybrid outside linebacker.

>> Quick note on Georgia wide receiver commit Justin Robinson. The big wideout (6-4, 200) told me that he will be announcing his college choice on Wednesday Dec. 18. He responded with that when asked if he was still considering the Huskers. It could mean something. It could mean nothing but it’s interesting either way to pass along.

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