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5 final takeaways from Nebraska football’s 2024 recruiting class



Nebraska football
Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska football added more talent to its 2024 recruiting class on Signing Day and here are five takeaways on the Huskers haul.

For the second year in a row, Nebraska football had a productive National Signing Day. They didn’t land any five-star prospects as they did on Early Signing Day, but landing Keona Wilhite and Kahmir Prescott, a pair of three-star prospects ranked in the top 723 overall was a home run.

Few teams landed any commitments on National Signing Day. Almost every program gets its work done in December, and despite 29 signees in the early period, Matt Rhule and his staff continued to recruit.

They landed an impressive class of walk-ons and a recruiting class that ranks 18th overall according to the 247 Sports team rankings and sixth among Big Ten teams, although Nebraska football is right behind Penn State (15th), Michigan (16th), and USC (17th).

When you consider Dylan Raiola, Nebraska easily has a top-3 class in the Big Ten, and here are five final takeaways from the first full recruiting cycle under Matt Rhule.

Instant impact

With all of the experience returning for Nebraska football, there might not be a ton of freshmen who will have an early impact for the Huskers but one that will is five-star freshman quarterback Dylan Raiola.

Raiola is the kind of quarterback Nebraska hasn’t had since the days of T-Magic. He’s a program-changer and even if some recruiting services dropped his ranking, I don’t care. He showed what he could do at the Polynesian Bowl and long before that.

Raiola has been preparing for this moment his entire life. Last season, at Buford, a high school powerhouse, he threw one interception. He’s got elite talent and he’ll be the day-one starter.

Yet, Daniel Kaelin also adds another talented quarterback to the room. Grant Brix is a dude who could play early and I fully expect Carter Nelson to make an impact next season.

Matt Rhule bet on high school recruiting and it’s going to pay off in a big way.

A great offensive line group

When we look back on this recruiting class in a few years one of the clear strengths is going to be the offensive line. Grant Brix, a top-100 signeee is the headliner. But there are several impact O-line signees in this class. I love Preston Taumua. I also love Gibson Pyle.

Jake Peters, Landen Davidson, and Alexander Ruggeroli won’t get as much fan attention as they deserve, but all three of those guys have starting potential down the road. Ruggeroli is a 6-foot-6 offensive tackle with a mean streak, while Peters and Davidson could each start at guard someday.

The biggest issue for some of these guys is that it feels like guard is the best position for Brix and Pyle. I’d love to see Taumua develop into a right tackle and if Ruggeroli can even be an effective swing tackle, this program could have real depth on the offensive line which it hasn’t had in a long time.

Skill position gets are underrated

When I talk about the skill positions, it goes beyond offense. To me, the secondary is also a skill position because you have to run like the wind, tackle, and be able to cover elite athletes without getting flagged. Plus, you’ve got to have some ball skills.

You need some elite athletes on the back end of the defense and Nebraska football landed some playmakers in Caleb Benning, Larry Tarver, and others. Those are the two guys I’m most excited about on defense, but I love Rex Guthrie and Braylen Prude too.

There’s a lot of versatility with the secondary commitments. Many of them played offense too. Yet, the Huskers also did very well with the offensive skill positions. Beyond quarterback, Carter Nelson, Dae’Vonn Hall, Isaiah McMorris, Jacory Barney, and Keelan Smith are all dudes who should be contributors and could pitch in earlier than expected.

Nelson is a top-1oo prospect and with all the talk of him being a “positionless” player, I can’t wait to see what the Huskers do with him this fall.

A walk-on class Tom Osborne would be proud of

Nebraska football used to have the best walk-on program in the country and Matt Rhule has done a great job of building it back.

NIL has been a huge tool for the Huskers on the recruiting trail. Nebraska was able to land at least four three-star prospects as preferred walk-ons using NIL in place of a scholarship. It’s creative and it’s an interesting way to add college-level talent to the roster.

Many of these guys will be put on scholarship when one becomes available, but it has allowed the Huskers some flexibility. Nebraska also added guys like Izaac Dickey (FB), Rowdy Bauer (RB), Ryker Evans (RB), Danny King (TE), Nico Ottomanelli (K), Connor Schutt (ATH), and Thomas D’Onofrio (S).

Most of those guys had FBS or FCS opportunities and passed them up to play for Nebraska football, which is the sort of thing we used to see a lot back in the day under Tom Osborne.

A true foundation

Carter Nelson was talking about winning championships when he saw Nebraska reporters at the Polynesian Bowl and this is the kind of class that’s the foundation for a championship or at least a trip to the playoffs.

Winning a conference title in 2024 isn’t even comparable to doing it in 1994, 1996, or even 2010. Things have changed dramatically and winning the Big Ten is about surviving an 18-team gauntlet. It could happen but making the 12-team playoff seems like a more realistic goal.

First things first, Nebraska football needs to get back to a bowl game. That would be a huge step in the right direction and this 2024 recruiting class will help get the Huskers back to a bowl game.

It should also serve as the foundation for what Matt Rhule is building and if he does wind up winning at Nebraska, you can point back to the 2024 class as a big reason why.

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Chris has worked in sports journalism since 2005 writing for multiple newspapers and websites such as the Bleacher Report and Fansided before starting Husker Big Red, A fan site for hardcore followers of the #Huskers offering articles, podcasts, videos and more exclusive content on all things Nebraska