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Nebraska Recruiting: How Disruptive is Current Halt on 2021 Efforts?

April 15, 2020

Recruiting never stops and it's easy to miss the top stories day-to-day. Recruiting analyst Greg Smith recaps all things Nebraska recruiting news, analysis and more so you never miss a thing.


Recruiting for the class of 2021 was about to kick into high gear when it came to an immediate halt. The COVID-19 response with accompanying shut-downs and quarantines have spared no walk of life. That includes college football and its recruiting activity. Planned Junior Days and unofficial visits had to be canceled. In a nice move, the NCAA is allowing student-athletes’ families to be reimbursed for lost travel. 

Nebraska is both in a favorable and unfavorable position at the moment. The Huskers have to rely on prospects from all over the nation to make it to campus to get around the coaching staff. The talent base is growing in Nebraska and it’s strong in the region for 2021. Still, the Huskers depend on national recruiting. I have talked on the site and on the radio about Nebraska possibly being in a better position than you’d expect. The reason is the Huskers have had so many targets on campus before this spring. 

Let’s take a look at a few of those priority targets and what they had to say the last time Hail Varsity caught up with them. 

4-star TE Thomas Fidone

Fidone was last on campus in January for the Huskers’ smaller of the two Junior Days hosted that month. That visit was the fourth time he’s been on campus in the last year. He’s plenty familiar with the Huskers staff and players. The next step for Fidone is to see other schools he hasn’t been to. Of his top six that included Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan, Notre Dame, LSU and Penn State, he has only visited Lincoln and Iowa City. 

3-star DE Ryan Keeler

Keeler was last on campus for the big Junior Day on Jan 25. The Illinois defender has emerged as a key target in the region. At this point it certainly feels like Keeler will end up in the Big Ten but it’s a matter of where. He also visited Nebraska last season for the game against Northern Illinois where he was blown away by his visit. 

“The whole experience was amazing,” Keeler said. “The fans are wild, when I was on the field before the game and I looked around in the stands every single seat was filled. Walking though the parking lot and seeing all the fans tailgating was super cool. During the game the different chants were super loud and the whole stadium was participating. I definitely can fit in their defense. I was talking to [defensive line] Coach Tuioti about the defense and he said that I could play any position on the defensive line because of my abilities.”

3-star ILB Seth Malcom

Malcom is one of the Iowa prospects that the Huskers have recruited for quite some time. He and his family have been to Lincoln a few times building a bond with defensive coordinator Erik Chinander. He was most recently in Lincoln on Jan 25 as well. Malcom (6-3, 200 is an intriguing prospect coming from eight-man football. He and his family have been to Lincoln several times but he enjoyed that visit in January. 

“They loved it,” Malcom said. “Every time we come back there is always something new to see or talk about.”

As we sort out the impact that the restrictions from COVID-19 have on recruiting keep in mind that Nebraska has had many visits from top targets over the last year. Starting those relationships early could prove to be quite valuable. Especially given the uncertainty surrounding this recruiting cycle.

Recruit Watch

>> Nebraska made the cut to 12 for 4-star defensive end/outside linebacker Landon Jackson on Wednesday. 

>> Grayson High defensive end and Husker target Victoine Brown committed to Louisville. 

>> Alabama 4-star linebacker Ian Jackson released a top 10 on his birthday Thursday that included Nebraska. 

ICYMI

>> Derek Peterson is here to tell us what the losses of Ashtyn Veerbeek and Kayla Mershon mean for Amy Williams’ program.

>> Tom’s Time is back to explore 44 first downs, 787 yards and McCant getting his chance. 

>> Relationships and trust are key (Premium) as the Nebraska men’s basketball team continues to build, writes Jacob Padilla.

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