Big Red Recon: Debriefing the 2020 Recruiting Cycle for Nebraska
Photo Credit: Ryan Loco

Hot Reads: Transcontinental Football

June 26, 2018

Here's a sentence you don't expect to get to write very often when writing about college football recruiting: The Huskers will have to beat out Florida, Virginia and Washington State among others for the services of the 6-foot-9 Finnish tackle.

That tackle is Martin Veinberg who, according to his Hudl page, has at least five years of competitive football under his belt, playing for the Helsinki Roosters and Finland's national team. He picked up his Nebraska offer 10 days ago after camping in Lincoln.

But that's not really the story, interesting as it is. The story is that Veinberg was part of a 25-player caravan of European prospects traveling the states in June, and Bruce Feldman of The Athletic has that. The headline describes the camp circuit, organized by Premier Players International, as a "tour de force."

The early returns back that up. A 6-3 German quarterback with a 4.5 40, Luke Wentz, received an offer to play quarterback from Virginia. Florida offered German offensive tackle Kariem Al Soufi based on a Twitter video it saw of him working out at Georgia. A Belgian defensive end –– clocked at 4.58 in the 40 at 6-4 and 232 pounds –– has the Bulldogs and Buckeyes expressing interest.

Wentz and Al Soufi committed to Virginia last week. The Cavaliers also received a commitment from Danish defensive tackle Emil Bo Andersen earlier in June. PPI director Brandon Collier told Feldman he expects 18 of the 25 players on the tour to end up with FBS offers.

If this is all part of some larger Europeans-in-America-football trend, I'm here for it.

An increasing number of international recruits have been coming across the Atlantic on college football scholarships, but those numbers figure to almost double from just last year if this month’s PPI tour is any indication. Wentz is thought to be the first to accept an FBS offer as a quarterback. He also received a scholarship offer from Temple.
“The European guys have a great upside,” said one veteran FBS coach who saw the PPI guys on their tour this month. “They are very raw in most cases but have God-given ability. (Wentz) has great athletic ability. Speed and size. And can consistently repeat his delivery on tape. My question is on the depth of understanding of the game in terms of checks, knowing coverage, where to go with the ball, et cetera. For me, that is where QB recruiting has to improve.”

If someone is needed to go to Germany, Finland, Denmark, Belgium, et al to cover college football recruiting, I'll volunteer. To make that viable we probably need Nebraska to land Veinberg, who received a special leave from the Finnish military to take part in the tour.

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