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Big Board recruiting update

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#1 mNhhh

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  • Nebraska

Posted 09 August 2016 - 03:31 PM

Only a few weeks remain until football season kicks off and the Huskers begin welcoming recruits to campus on official visits.

 

The season opener against Fresno State and the Oregon game on Sept. 17 will be huge weekends with several key targets set to be in attendance. The recruiting picture will certainly become clearer over the next couple months once all those visits are made.

 

With 13 commits, the Huskers’ 2017 class currently ranks No. 24 on Scout, No. 26 on Rivals and No. 30 on the 247Sports composite. Nebraska is outside the Top 25 on ESPN.

 

Our Huskers Big Board is the best way to track all of Nebraska’s top targets for the 2017 class. Guy Thomas, their most recent commit, was a member of the Big Board before he made his pledge Monday. So too were Ben MilesRobert Porcher and Broc Bando before their commitments. Several more on the Big Board should wind up in the class before it’s all over as well.

 

Check out that Big Board for more on all of Nebraska's top targets, and here’s a roundup of the latest recruiting news:

 

» Within the last couple weeks, several recruits have said they plan to attend either the Fresno State game or the Oregon game on official visits.

 

Addison Gumbs, a 6-foot-4 pass-rushing outside linebacker from Northern California, told Husker Online he’ll be at the season opener. That would mark his first visit to Lincoln. Gumbs has previously visited several other schools before, and most consider Texas A&M or Oklahoma to be early favorites. Gumbs had hinted he wanted to make a decision before the season, but NU will hope it gets a chance to host him on a visit before he does.

 

Ben Hutch, a defensive tackle out of Tennessee, has told bothHusker Online and Huskers Illustrated that he plans to take his official visit to Lincoln for the Oregon game. That would be his first time checking out Nebraska. The Huskers have held a spot in his top group for the last couple months, but he’s said in interviews that Texas A&M is currently the team to beat.

 

Jaylon Redd, a corner from Southern California with Nebraska in his top eight, told Husker Online he’s locked into an official visit for the Oregon game. Oregon and UCLA are also set to receive official visits from Redd.

 

This is just a fraction of the recruits that will be visiting Nebraska those two weekends early in the season. Look for more complete lists of visitors as those dates draw closer, but both will surely draw several top targets.

 

» A decision could come soon from tight end Cade Otton. The three-star from Washington visited Nebraska in June, and withdeep family connections to Mike Riley, the Huskers were believed to be the team to beat. But Otton received an offer last week from Washington while on a visit there, and according to 247Sports, he’s set to return for another visit this weekend. That has the Huskies feeling very confident.

 

» Darnay Holmes, arguably Nebraska’s top target in California, took a pair of Big Ten visits over the weekend. He checked out Michigan State on Friday and Michigan on Saturday for the Wolverines’ big BBQ recruiting event. Also in Ann Arbor was Detroit corner Jaylen Kelly-Powell, a Husker Big Board member that visited NU in June.

 

Holmes is still set to take his official visit to NU for the season opener. After flirting with a possibile commitment in June, Holmes has slowed things down and doesn’t plan to make a decision until January at the earliest. NU is still one of the top schools in consideration, but there’s a long way to go.

 

» Jamari Peacock, a running back out of Florida that visited NU in June, told Scout the Huskers are one of the top two teams on his list. The other is Virginia. He also said he’s looking at an Oct. 1 official visit to Lincoln for the Illinois game.

 

» Carmel, Indiana, tight end Kurt Rafdal told Scout the Huskers are one of his top teams. He also has the homestate Hoosiers high on his list, as well as Auburn, who extended him an offer in late July. Rafdal visited Nebraska in June and isn’t rushing to make a final decision.

 

» Trajon Cotton, a defensive back out of Sacramento, California, often talks up the Huskers on Twitter. He also included them in a top 12 in June. He recently told Scout he soon plans to narrow his list even further, and Nebraska would definitely make the cut with Arizona State, Colorado, Oregon, UCLA and Utah.

 

» A handful of Big Board members are set to announce commitments during August. Linebacker Kenneth Murray, who had NU in his top six, is scheduled to commit Wednesday but is not expected to pick the Huskers. Wideout Devonta Smith will go Aug. 15, but he too is not likely to end up at Nebraska.

 

The big one on the horizon is Tyjon Lindsey with his Aug. 22 announcement. NU and Ohio State are believed to be the top two in consideration, but momentum has been shifting toward the Buckeyes over the last few weeks.

 

» Some Big Board members committed elsewhere recently. Defensive end James Hudson committed to Michigan on Monday. Wideout Tahj Capehart chose homestate Virginia Tech on Aug. 6. Neither recruit had visited NU but had included the Huskers among their top schools.

 

Two of Nebraska’s top “Calibraska” targets chose to stay in California. Offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker and defensive end Hunter Echols both committed to USC on Aug. 5. Vera-Tucker visited Lincoln in June. Echols had planned to take an official visit during the season.

 

» The Huskers extended one new scholarship offer during the last week, this one going out to running back Daniel Young of Houston. Nebraska was the 10th school to offer Young but only the second from a Power Five conference (Minnesota is the other). Hometown Houston was his first offer more than a year ago. Young is a consensus three-star prospect that ran for more than 850 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior in 201


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#2 mNhhh

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  • Nebraska

Posted 14 August 2016 - 09:31 AM

LINCOLN — A sizzling start has set up a dramatic fall and winter recruiting stage for Nebraska football.

 

Roughly six months until signing day, which means this 2017 cycle is halfway over, the Huskers have 13 commits. Twenty-five signees won’t necessarily be out of the question for the 2017 class, since 20 scholarships are held by seniors and the usual attrition occurs after every season.

 

The strengths of Nebraska’s current million-dollar recruiting operation are good funding, linebackers coach and elite recruiter Trent Bray, overall organization — director of player personnel Ryan Gunderson leads a good staff and NU’s assistants seem to have well-developed recruiting boards — and key relationships that coach Mike Riley has developed over several decades of coaching, especially in California.

 

It’s paid dividends thus far. Bray landed one of the nation’s top linebackers, Avery Roberts, out of Wilmington, Delaware, and speedy Willie Hampton out of the Miami area. The strong organization has helped NU land offensive linemen from Texas and Ohio. And Riley’s Southern California relationships helped lure two four-star studs from Calabasas High School — quarterback Tristan Gebbia and wideout Keyshawn Johnson Jr.

 

More to point, they helped the Huskers attract elite prospects to their Friday Night Lights camps inside Memorial Stadium. One of those prospects, five-star wideout Joseph Lewis, visited NU again this weekend.

 

How Nebraska does with some of those coveted prospects may determine the overall strength of the class.

 

Who’s in the fold for the Huskers? Who’s left to land? Which positions are full and which need more bodies? Here’s a snapshot of NU recruiting at the midway point, looking into fall:

 

247Sports Composite: 30th nationally, ninth in the Big Ten

Rivals: 31st, ninth

Scout: 25th, eighth

ESPN: Not in the top 25, N/A

*Rankings as of Friday afternoon

 

Aren’t those rankings lower than where Nebraska wants to be? In February, yes. Right now, it doesn’t matter as much. All of the Big Ten teams ranked ahead of NU have more commits than the Huskers — Rutgers has 20 and Northwestern has 18, for example — and the average star or point ranking of an NU commit is higher than with some other league teams. The Huskers are fourth in the Big Ten, for example, in average star rating according Rivals. Come February, the Huskers would love to be a top 20 class nationally and a top four in the Big Ten, and will have a chance to do so.

 

Which other Big Ten teams are rocking the recruiting? Ohio State and Michigan, naturally, but Iowa, coming off a 12-2 Rose Bowl season, has had a good cycle, and new coaches at Rutgers and Maryland also are off to good starts. Penn State and Michigan State are looking at their usual solid classes.

 

(Targets taken from recruiting websites and The World-Herald’s own Big Board.)

 

QUARTERBACK
 

Already committed: Tristan Gebbia, Calabasas, California

Targets: none

Skinny: Gebbia plans to enroll in January. He has a strong arm, embraces leadership and needs to put on some weight.

 

RUNNING BACK/FULLBACK
 

Already committed: Ben Miles, Baton Rouge (Louisiana) Catholic

Targets: Daniel Young, Houston Westfield; Jamari Peacock, Yulee, Florida; Stephen Carr, Fontana (California) Summit

Skinny: Miles — one of the nation’s top fullbacks, a guy who can catch and block with equal skill — chose to play for the Huskers over playing for his dad, LSU coach Les Miles. Nebraska will pair Miles with a traditional tailback. Young recently received an offer. Carr is a highly rated USC commit. Peacock, a bigger back north of 240 pounds, attended one of the Huskers’ Friday Night Lights camps. For his size, he’s pretty nimble.

 

TIGHT END
 

Already committed: Austin Allen, Aurora

Targets: Reese Leitao, Tulsa (Oklahoma) Jenks; Kurt Rafdal, Carmel, Indiana; Josh Falo, Sacramento (California) Inderkum

Skinny: A 6-foot-8 giant out of Aurora, Allen is likely out with a knee injury for the 2016 high school season, but he should be fine for his arrival in Lincoln. NU has aggressively recruited the tight end position and should grab either Leitao, Falo or Rafdal. All three are good options.

 

WIDE RECEIVERS
 

Already committed: Keyshawn Johnson Jr., Calabasas, California;Jaevon McQuitty, Columbia (Missouri) Battle

Targets: Joseph Lewis, Los Angeles Hawkins; Tyjon Lindsey, Corona (California) Centennial; Jamire Calvin, Los Angeles Cathedral; Daron Davis, Kansas City (Missouri) Hogan Prep

Skinny: If Nebraska lands all their guys, it’ll be, hands down, the best wide receiver recruiting class in school history. If Lewis comes aboard, it might be anyway. Lindsey announces his decision Aug. 22; Nebraska and Ohio State are solidly in the mix. Calvin, a speedy slot, is sorting through several strong offers. Davis, a Missouri commit, actually doesn’t have an offer, but he’d listen to NU if the Huskers extended it. Wideouts coach Keith Williams has done well so far. But he could hit a home run.

 

OFFENSIVE LINE
 

Already committed: Matt Sichterman, Kings Mills, Ohio; Broc Bando, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Florida); Brendan Jaimes, Austin (Texas) Lake Travis

Targets: Foster Sarell, Graham-Kapowsin, Washington; Ryan Nelson, Buena Park, California

 

Skinny: Nebraska line coach Mike Cavanaugh did strong early work in landing Sichterman, Jaimes and Bando, who played at Lincoln Southeast before transferring to IMG. Sichterman especially looks like a high-end tackle prospect with all the mental and physical tools to excel early. Because NU has so many young interior linemen — seven guys who are sophomores or younger — Cavanaugh may not need to add much there. Sarell, the No. 1 offensive line prospect in the country, is a long shot worth aiming for, though.

 

DEFENSIVE LINE
 

Already committed: Deontre Thomas, Mustang, Oklahoma;Robert Porcher IV, Orlando (Florida) Dr. Phillips; Guy Thomas, Miami Booker T. Washington

Targets: Ben Hutch, Nashville (Tennessee) Hillsboro; Damion Daniels, Dallas Bishop Dunne; Martin Andrus, Los Angeles Senior; Tyler Shelvin, Lafayette (Louisiana) Notre Dame; Noah Elliss, Highlands Ranch (Colorado) Valor Christian

 

Skinny: New position coach John Parrella has already recruited better than his predecessor, Hank Hughes. Parrella found an active and quick nose tackle in Thomas, a big-bodied base end in Porcher — whose dad played in the NFL — and a raw, speedy rush end in Thomas. Next up: a couple of thick, run-stuffing defensive tackles. Shelvin, a five-star committed to LSU, is the largest and the least likely to flip, but he has told recruiting sites he’ll visit. Hutch and Daniels are scheduled for official visits, according to Rivals. Elliss is a wild card, but his dad, former NFL player Luther Elliss, is surely aware of Parrella’s NFL pedigree.

 

LINEBACKERS
 

Already committed: Avery Roberts, Wilmington (Delaware) Concord; Willie Hampton, Fort Lauderdale (Florida) American Heritage

Targets: Rahyme Johnson, Los Angeles Salesian; Addison Gumbs, Hayward (California) Stellar Prep; Nadarius Fagan, Miami Southridge

Skinny: Bray is such a good recruiter that more guys could join the radar pretty quickly, but NU may need only three or four linebackers in this cycle. Roberts is the best overall recruit in the class so far, and Hampton has major speed. Johnson and Gumbs are lanky speed rushers, while Fagan, committed to Syracuse, can operate at multiple positions. Nebraska has locked its lasers on Johnson, whose highlight film also shows good cover skills.

 

DEFENSIVE BACKS
 

Already committed: none

Targets: Darnay Holmes, Calabasas, California; Gentry Bonds, Murfeesboro (Tennessee) Riverdale; Jaylon Redd, Rancho Cucamonga, California; Trajon Cotton, Sacramento (California) Inderkum; Elijah Gates, Buena Park, California; Jaylen Kelly-Powell, Detroit Cass Technical.

Skinny: Defensive backs coach Brian Stewart struck gold with his recruiting haul last cycle. Can he do it again? Holmes is the best of the targets and easily the most familiar with Nebraska, but his decision will be closer to signing day. Of the other targets, Redd is stocky and powerful like Holmes, while Cotton is long and lean like current Husker corner Lamar Jackson. Redd can play multiple positions. Kelly-Powell visited for a Friday Night Lights event and looked the part of an elite safety.


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