Zavier Betts, a 4-star wideout from Bellevue West and one of the prized pieces of Nebraska’s 2020 recruiting class, will academically qualify for UNL and join the team for the upcoming season.
Betts’ coach, Michael Huffman, confirmed the news to Hail Varsity Friday afternoon.
“We are really excited about it. It’s been a culmination of a lot of people and time,” Huffman said. “Ultimately it was a lot of hard work by Zavier Betts. We are really excited about it.”
At 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, Betts projects as a deep-ball-winning, big-play-making receiver at Nebraska. He went over 3,000 yards receiving in high school and brought in 46 career touchdowns for the Thunderbirds.
Nebraska signed Betts in December with the rest of its class, a move that carried with it major risk. Getting to this point was something that would require work on Betts’ part and the university’s.
“Well, if you remember back, I said it was a genius move to show that leap of faith in him,” Huffman said.
“I am 100% transparent that Coach Frost and Ryan Callaghan were talking to him daily though this last stretch. Can you imagine having that kind of support from the head football coach of where you are going? It’s unbelievable. They are doing a phenomenal job of building down there. The fruits of that labor are going to show soon.”
In response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCAA announced in April a relaxing of the eligibility requirements for high school seniors graduating in the spring/summer.
Students expected to graduate from high school in time to enroll in a Division I school for the 2020-21 academic year would be made academically eligible by earning a 2.3 grade-point average in 10 NCAA-approved core courses, with a combined seven courses in English, math and science, by the start of their seventh semester in high school (prior to senior year). The criteria do not require a standardized test score (ACT/SAT).
As long as everything works out on Nebraska’s end of things, Betts will be able to join the team with the rest of the summer arrivals in the 2020 class. That date, though, is a bit of a moving target presently. The Big Ten’s ban on team activities runs until June 1. Any further pushback would delay Betts’ arrival in Lincoln.
Nebraska needs him.
“I think its super important Zavier is in Lincoln for summer workouts and seven-on-seven because he has such a skill set,” Huffman said. “He will be skilled when he gets to campus but it’s the mental aspect. People don’t understand the college game is sophisticated. We have a couple routes in our offense where they change based on what the defense does. Almost all plays are like that in college. Hopefully they have some older receivers that are good mentors. That’s a dynamic you don’t think about.”
With Omar Manning, a JUCO wideout from Kilgore College in Texas, Nebraska feels it has a pair of dynamic receivers with size who can come in and contribute at the Big Ten level right away.
Since the 2019 campaign ended, Nebraska has lost Mike Williams (graduation), Jaron Woodyard (graduation/transfer), Jaevon McQuitty (transfer) and Darien Chase (transfer) from the wideout room. JD Spielman—the team’s leading returning receiver—is away from the program currently with some uncertainty as to how long the departure will last.
Betts (HV rating: 93.3) was a top-60 recruit nationally, according to Rivals’ recruiting network, and the 111th-ranked player in the 247 Composite. He was widely regarded as the top prospect in the state of Nebraska last cycle.
“You have a phenom coming in but will someone help him along because they could lose their spot,” Huffman said. “It sounds like they are aiming for that second week of June so I’m pumped for him.”
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.