Nebraska’s final surge to the finish line for the 2017 recruiting class hasn’t gone exactly as planned. For the second time in seven days, a longtime Husker commit has decommitted from the class, as Jenks, Oklahoma, tight end Reese Leitao decommitted from Nebraska Sunday night. This is a tough blow to Nebraska, as Leitao was poised to compete for playing time next fall with the Huskers losing their top three tight ends to graduation.
With Leitao gone and likely headed to Texas, where does Nebraska look to fill out its remaining tight end spot in the 2017 class?
6-4, 200 | Wayne, New Jersey | Currently committed to Miami (FL)
We honestly should have seen the Leitao decommitment coming, as Nebraska offered WR/TE prospect Evidence Njoku just three days after Leitao took an official visit to Texas. Njoku, who is the younger brother of current Miami tight end David Njoku, is coming off of a senior season in which he caught 27 passes for 415 yards and eight touchdowns. He also helped lead Wayne Hills to an 11-1 record and a New Jersey Group 4 Title.
Njoku has been committed to Miami (FL) since July 18 but is still open to taking visits to other schools. He recently stated that Nebraska was one of the schools recruiting him the hardest. Njoku will be a bit of a project, as he will need to adjust to playing tight end and add weight. However, he would bring impressive receiving abilities to the tight end position, which is something that has been missing for Nebraska since Kyler Reed disappeared in Nebraska’s offense in 2011.
6-6, 230 | Bloomfield Hills, Michigan | Top 4: Michigan, Nebraska, Purdue, Indiana
Nebraska made a slight push for Carter Dunaway last January, as the Huskers offered Dunaway and pushed for him to visit Lincoln over the summer. Dunaway, who was then a Michigan commit, declined. Things may have changed now, as Dunaway decommitted from Michigan in September and has been very quiet on the recruiting front ever since.
Dunaway, a massive 6-6, 230-pound tight end prospect, was captain of a Brother Rice team that finished the season 7-4 and reached the second round of the Michigan Division II playoffs. Dunaway, a full academic qualifier that brings an ACT score of 34 to the table, can help Nebraska immediately next season, as he has a college ready build and has extensive experience as a blocker in Brother Rice’s run-heavy scheme.
6-7, 230 | Carmel, Indiana | Currently committed to Indiana
Kurt Rafdal is another tight end prospect that Nebraska made a run at this past summer, hosting Rafdal for an unofficial visit on June 19. Nebraska backed off from Rafdal after securing a commit from Leitao in August, and Rafdal subsequently committed to his home state Hoosiers. Some interesting developments may allow Nebraska to get back into the mix for him, as Nebraska now has an opening at tight end and Indiana’s offense is in a state of flux following Kevin Wilson’s resignation.
Rafdal has been quiet on the recruiting front since committing to Indiana, but he still has three official visits remaining if he wants to look around. Rafdal is coming off a senior season in which he was named first team all-state by the Indianapolis Star and led Carmel High School to a 10-4 record and the Indiana Class 6A state championship.
6-5, 225 | Greenville, Michigan | Currently committed to Central Michigan
Keegan Cossou has had an interesting recruiting story so far, as the Greenville, Michigan, prospect committed to Central Michigan on April 16, only to have three Big Ten schools offer him the following week. Cossou has remained loyal to his Chippewa pledge thus far, but Nebraska and Michigan State both appear to be making late runs at him.
Cossou earned honorable-mention all-state recognition while helping lead Greenville to their first playoff appearance since 2010.
6-3, 225 | Lake Travis, Texas | Currently committed to SMU
Nebraska already has one Cavalier in their class, as offensive tackle Brenden Jaimes has been committed to Nebraska since April. With that in mind, Nebraska could be gearing up for a late run at another Lake Travis prospect in Cade Brewer.
Brewer just completed his senior season, catching 57 passes for 777 yards and 13 touchdowns while helping lead Lake Travis to the Texas Class 6A state championship. Brewer has been committed to SMU since April 20, but his recruitment seems to be less than certain following offers from Texas and Baylor in recent weeks.
If Nebraska can get Brewer on campus, the Huskers may have a chance to steal one of the top tight end prospects in the state of Texas.