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3 thoughts on Keelan Smith’s commitment to Nebraska Football



Nebraska Football

Nebraska football landed a new 2024 commitment in Keelan Smith on Friday and here are three thoughts for the Huskers.

Matt Rhule and the Nebraska football program landed another quality talent for the future on Friday with the commitment of Keelan Smith.

Smith is the son of former Nebraska football great Neil Smith, who was a standout for the Kansas City Chiefs for years. Smith is listed as a three-star prospect and at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, he could play a few different spots.

According to the 247 Sports composite rankings, Smith is ranked 858th overall, as well as 14th in the state of Missouri out of Kansas City. He’s also ranked as the No. 38 tight end, although I’m not sure that’s what his position will be.

However, I really like this commitment for Nebraska, and here are three thoughts on his commitment.

This is a Matt Rhule kind of take

According to Allen Trieu of 247 Sports, Smith is rated pretty conservatively by the site right now. Partially, he just hasn’t been evaluated as much. The Midwest expert for 247 Sports said there was hope they would see him at a recent camp but didn’t. Here’s part of what he wrote in his analysis:

“86 rating is somewhat conservative because we have not seen Smith. We were hoping he would be at the recent UC Report event in Kansas City, but he did not make it. Hopefully, we get more exposure points and data to work with on him because the film and bloodlines are encouraging.”

Smith is a big, talented athlete that was really productive last season. Trieu said that Smith is going to start out as a wide receiver and caught 46 passes for 846 yards and 12 touchdowns. NFL bloodlines matter and when it was a legacy too, this was an easy commitment for Rhule and the Huskers to take.

The talent is there. So is the size and athleticism. We don’t know exactly what Smith will be, but he’s got a chance to be a pretty good player and his ranking will go up before the 2024 class is signed. That’s my prediction at least.

Nebraska football gets another in Missouri

One thing I love about Rhule’s recruiting strategy is that he gets that the state of Missouri is going to be important for Nebraska football in the future.

The Huskers should have a bigger presence in the show-me state already — but things are starting to trend in a better direction. Nebraska signed two players from the state of Missouri in 2023 and landing Smith is a good sign.

Nebraska was probably the runner-up for Andrew Sprague, one of the top recruits in the state in this class, but the St. Louis and Kansas City area is blowing up with talent and the Huskers need more from that area.

It’s becoming a recruiting hotbed and for a program like Nebraska which is pretty far from most major metro areas, recruiting well in Missouri isn’t a choice, it’s a must.

That’s another reason why taking this commitment was a no-brainer.

Building a solid base

Nebraska football now has six commitments in the 2024 class and five of those have come in the last month. The Huskers landed four commitments last month and that momentum continued with Smith’s pledge.

The last five commitments have all been of the three-star variety, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Nebraska is going to have to develop players. Even if Nebraska recruits at an extremely high level, half the commitments would still likely be three stars, maybe more.

But if you have an eye for talent and know how to develop it, the stars don’t matter as much. Consider that Michigan had nine players selected in the 2023 NFL draft. None of them were transfers and only one ranked in the top 300 for their respective recruiting class.

That’s a formula Nebraska needs to emulate. Taking kids like Keelan Smith is a smart way to go about it. Yes, Nebraska needs more four-star recruits, but Smith’s ranking will improve, and taking him now, as opposed to slow-playing it and watching him rise up more, was smart.

Rhule knows the kind of player he’s looking for and while the Huskers haven’t landed any big-timers yet in the 2024 class, they are building a solid base, which will allow them to chase the home run commitments as we get closer to signing day and actually have something on the field to show recruits this fall.

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Nebraska Football zeroing in on local 2025 LB



Mandatory Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska football is beginning to make inroads into the 2025 recruiting class, and they will have visitors on campus next weekend. Hosting some local talent. 2025 outside linebacker Zayvion Campbell will be in Lincoln next weekend.

This is notable for a couple of reasons. For one, Ryan Gottula is the head coach at Lincoln Southeast. His son Gunnar is part of the 2023 Nebraska football recruiting class. The family connection could help Nebraska football land Campbell.

Secondly, Nebraska is continuing to recruit in-state. This is something that we have seen in the 2023 and 2024 recruiting classes it appears that in-state recruiting will be a focal point. This is something the coaching staff has zeroed in on as one of their main goals during their time at Nebraska. They are sticking to that goal.

What could he bring to Nebraska football?

Campbell is a very intriguing player. He measures in at around six-foot-three, 200 pounds. He has good pursuit ability, and is able to wrap up and make tackles with ease. Campbell would be able to fit the Nebraska football defense by providing a solid presence inside. Campbell uses a variety of moves in order to get to the quarterback as well.

He would give Nebraska a player that could be used in multiple ways in a 3-3-5 defense. It would be fun to see defensive coordinator Tony White work with him. He has the ability to rush as well as fill gaps on the inside. That type of versatility is what Nebraska football should be looking for defensively with the scheme they have.

At the very least, Campbell is coming to campus to check things out.  It’s important that Nebraska continues to look at multiple candidates at the linebacker position. At the very least,  they need to make an effort to continue the recruiting pipeline in-state. The 2023 and 2024 classes were filled with Nebraska-born players. This is a trend that needs to continue.

For More Nebraska content, follow us on Twitter, like our Facebook Page, and Subscribe to the Husker Big Red YouTube Channel. You can also find our podcast on Apple or Spotify

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Nebraska Football: QB visit canceled and a Carter Nelson update



Nebraska football
Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska football is set for its first official visit weekend of June and Kamari McClellan has canceled, plus the latest on Carter Nelson.

One of the big questions lingering about Nebraska football recruiting this weekend was whether or not three-star quarterback Kamari McClellan would make it for his official visit.

It was still on the schedule for this weekend according to the recruiting sites and in a recent interview, McClellan indicated he was still coming. However, with the recent commitment of Daniel Kaelin, it was only going to happen if Nebraska football suddenly decided to take two quarterbacks in 2024.

Anything is possible but the visit has now been canceled according to Sean Callahan of Husker Online. I think McClellan will wind up at Clemson or another team scrambling for a QB. Nebraska football was in that position and the kid is talented, but Kaelin, who is heading to the Elite 11, is a much better get.

Daniel Kaelin will visit Nebraska football again

Speaking of Kaelin, it wasn’t lip service when he said he wants to be around when any recruit comes to visit. The quarterback will take his official visit the same weekend as Carter Nelson.

But he’s now on the list for an unofficial visit this weekend. There are a couple of wideouts expected to visit. Jacory Barney is one and the Huskers lead for the three-star wideout via the On3 prediction machine. He’s ranked 459th overall out of Miami, Florida.

Williams Nettles is also visiting but he could be a cornerback or receiver. Caleb Pyfrom is a three-star in-state tackle also visiting and Kaelin being on campus could help push him toward a commitment, which seems to be where things are trending according to recent crystal balls.

It’s just clear that Kaelin is serious about doing what he can for this class, no matter how many times he needs to come to campus.

Another Carter Nelson visit

Add Penn State to the list of teams to worry about in the Carter Nelson sweepstakes. He’s going to visit the Nittany Lions on June 16th, which will be his fourth scheduled official visit.

Nelson is going to visit Georgia this weekend, followed by Notre Dame next weekend. The Huskers just got a Futurecast projection from Greg Smith of Rivals to land Carter, the top-ranked recruit in the state in 2024 and things seem to be trending in the right direction.

My thought is that Nelson is likely going to take these visits and make a decision sometime this summer, maybe in July or August. That’s just a guess. I don’t see this recruitment bleeding into the season and Nebraska football has put more effort in than any other program.

That doesn’t mean anything on its own. But Carter just took a visit to Nebraska along with Kaelin and that connection seems to be helping. Nelson hasn’t talked about his recruitment a ton, so it’s hard to get a read, but the tea leaves are pointing in Nebraska’s direction.

We’ll see if that’s still true after the next three weekends.

For More Nebraska content, follow us on Twitter, like our Facebook Page, and Subscribe to the Husker Big Red YouTube Channel. You can also find our podcast on Apple or Spotify.




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Nebraska Football trending in right direction with Florida CB



Mandatory Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska football is having a newsworthy recruiting month to start up June. The program is already trending with four-star corner Mario Buford. Now, it appears that another corner may be in their sights as well.

Amare Sanders is the name to keep an eye on. He is a four-star corner He is ranked numerically at 87.50 according to the On3 recruiting rankings. He plays at Gulliver Prep high school, and is from Miami, Fla.

Sanders is a three-star recruit and measures in at 6-foot-2, 167 pounds. Right now, Nebraska is in the lead for his recruitment according to the On3 Recruiting Prediction Machine. He is also visiting Nebraska this weekend, in what is turning out to be a big weekend for visitors.

Sanders has tremendous athleticism for a corner. He is able to make the proper reads on passing plays, and that allows him to close on wide receivers quickly and break up potential completions. He does a good job of turning his hips, and reading the play in its entirety. This is certainly important to his game and the way he plays. He also is a decent size for a corner, as he measures in at 6-foot-2 167 pounds.

Nebraska football making Florida a priority

It’s clear that Nebraska football wants to establish a stake in Florida. They are trending with wide receiver Jacory Barney Jr, and already have a commitment from Willis McGahee IV. Both of those players hail from Miami Palmetto. Sanders goes to Gulliver Prep, which is another highly-touted school in the state of Florida.

Currently, the 2024 Nebraska football recruiting class ranks 31st overall nationally with seven commitments. They have focused on both sides of the football, and are landing talented prospects both in and out of the state of Nebraska.

It will be interesting to see if Sanders ends up coming to Nebraska. The fact that he is visiting this weekend and is trending towards the Huskers is certainly a positive sign. The program done work in Florida before, but it seems like this time around their efforts will stick. Recruiting in Florida is a key component for success. Nebraska football is trying to establish that.

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