Photo by John S. Peterson

Nebraska Recruiting: Barrett Ruud Starting to Make His Mark on ILBs

August 8, 2019
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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.


Inside linebackers coach Barrett Ruud has been a strong recruiter for Nebraska. Aside from being on the hunt for inside linebackers, he is also in charge of in-state recruiting. That’s especially important given the rise in Power 5 talent in the state. Nebraska is also trying to revive its brand statewide.

We have talked plenty before about Ruud’s impact on Nebraska signing the top five scholarship players in the state. Discussing his ability to identify talent to add to his position group is also necessary. 

In the 2018 recruiting class, the Huskers landed Will Honas over Iowa and Kansas State. Nick Henrich, Jackson Hannah and Garrett Snodgrass joined the fold next. Ruud has been able to work with them now that they are all on campus.

Ruud and the rest of the coaching staff were high on Hannah, the defender from Tennessee. The former Montgomery Bell standout has been adjusting to college football.

“He’s been learning. The more reps you get, the better you’re going to be,” Ruud said. “The biggest thing, the first thing we’ve always got to do is develop the right habits. And I’m talking physical habits — running to the ball, the way we tackle, the way we strike blocks, our footwork every single play. That’s what I want to develop first and then the scheme will come next. As long as you’re playing hard, the scheme will come. He’s a smart kid, he’ll get it, but early on it’s always a learning process.” 

The learning curve for players stepping into Nebraska’s defense is not always an easy one. Henrich and Snodgrass are going through it currently. Henrich has a disadvantage getting up to speed while also rehabbing from a spring injury. 

A player coming out the other side of comfort within the system is Honas. He worked hard over the last year staying sharp while recovering from his injury.

“He came in straight out of [junior college] and sometimes you think if you play [junior college] you’re ready to roll at the next level, and physically he probably was but he needed to get comfortable in our system,” Ruud explained. “He really is [comfortable] now. He’s a guy who takes a lot of pride in doing things the right way, and now he’s not thinking anymore, he’s just rolling and he’s really a talented guy when he does that.”

I don’t think we should lose sight of Honas as a player that could have a breakout season in 2019 either. Remember that he had 96 tackles in 11 games during his final season at Butler Community College.   

Nebraska has used three official visits on inside linebacker prospects for this class. Cody Simon visited but committed to Ohio State. Division rival Wisconsin won the ongoing battle for Malik Reed. The Huskers are still in the hunt for Georgia defender Choe Bryant-Strother. He remains uncommitted. 

Missing out on a couple of their top targets means there is more work ahead for the Huskers. Early season official visits will be key in hosting more top targets. Based on Ruud’s track record, I wouldn’t dismiss his ability to land players he is recruiting.

Recruit Watch

>> Former Husker commit and current Garden City wideout Dominick Watt is ready for the season. 

>> Bishop Dunne linebacker Brennon Scott committed to Kansas on Thursday. 

ICYMI

>> Recruiting at tight end is not slowing down despite a young and competitive position group. 

>> The Hail Varsity staff is back to answer your questions in the mailbag, including who leads the team in sacks this season.

>> Tom’s Time takes a look at the talent the 1985 recruiting class added to the team.

>> Jacob Padilla explains how leadership and maturity bring additional trust to the offensive line.

>> Luke McCaffrey is still developing but making strides, says Derek Peterson.

 
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