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5 takeaways from Early Signing Day for Nebraska football



Nebraska football
Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska football signed a top-20 recruiting class that included five-star QB Dylan Raiola. Here are five takeaways.

It was a historic day for Nebraska football as the Cornhuskers made things officially official with five-star quarterback Dylan Raiola.

Raiola, the No. 2 quarterback in the 247 Sports composite rankings for the 2024 class, as well as the No. 6 overall prospect, is the highest-ranked recruit to ever sign with Nebraska football.

Flipping him from Georgia, as well as landing three others on Early National Signing Day pushed the Huskers’ total haul to 29. Not all of them are going to start on scholarship, but regardless, it’s a top-20 class with eight blue chips (4 stars or higher), and here are five takeaways.

A program-changing QB haul

Not only did the Huskers land a five-star quarterback — one with generational talent — but they landed two elite 11 passers. That’s not something Nebraska fans have come to expect.

Raiola said that he followed his heart to Nebraska. He wanted to have a purpose instead of being a cog in a machine. Nebraska football is in desperate need of that.

I believe Raiola is going to start from game one. He was built for this and he’s going to be Nebraska’s best option. But I also think that Daniel Kaelin will be a starter one day for the Huskers — once Raiola is gone — and that the 2024 class will produce two quality starting quarterbacks for Nebraska football.

The depth chart might seem a little thin with Chubba Purdy leaving, but Heinrich Haarberg won games last season as the starter. More than anything, it’s on the staff to get Raiola and Kaelin ready.

This also gives Nebraska the chance to develop its starting quarterbacks for the next five years if all goes to plan: Dylan starts for the next three, while Kaelin, after redshirting in 2024, starts in 2027 and 2028.

It’s not going to be easy, but if Matt Rhule can pull it off, this program will be in an incredibly healthy place.

An impressive O-line haul

Nebraska reshaped the quarterback room in the 2024 class. However, it also laid the foundation for the offensive line with the signing of top-100 offensive tackle Grant Brix (6-5, 280), as well as four-star tackle Preston Taumua (6-4, 315). Gibson Pyle (6-4.5, 285) is also one of my personal favorites in this class, and think he’ll be a really good college guard.

Jake Peters (6-3, 285), Landen Davidson (6-4, 308), and Alexander Ruggeroli (6-6, 285) are also three-star recruits via the 247 Sports composite rankings worth developing. Peters, Davidson, and Pyle are probably all better fits on the inside, while Brix, Taumua, and Ruggeroli all seem better at tackle.

There are some really good position hauls such as quarterback, secondary, tight end, and wide receiver, but it’s hard to argue with the haul up front. It’s a good one.

Elite skill guys

When I say “skill guys” I’m talking about the defense as much as the offense. I view those guys in the secondary as “skill guys” because you need guys who can play the ball on the backend of the defense.

Well, Nebraska did a tremendous job of landing elite skill players on both sides of the ball. It starts with Dylan Raiola. Carter Nelson is also a top-100 prospect and Matt Rhule said he could be a tight end, wide receiver, or even a running back for the Huskers next season.

The Huskers signed three top-600 wide receivers: Isaiah McMorris (No. 529), Dae’Vonn Hall (No. 395), and Jacory Barney (No. 440). They also landed Keelan Smith, who had a monster senior season in Missouri. Smith could play wide receiver or tight end, while Nebraska football also flipped Eric Ingwerson from Pittsburgh in addition to three-star tight end Ian Flynt.

Quinn Clark is another guy with incredible upside. You can also say that about guys in the secondary such as Caleb Benning, Donovan Jones, Braylen Prude, Larry Tarver, Amare Sanders, and Rex Guthrie, among others.

The speed and athleticism recruited on both sides of the ball are impressive, as is the way the Huskers are building depth across the board on offense and defense.

A belief in high school recruiting

If you didn’t believe Matt Rhule when he said he believes in high school recruiting, then you haven’t been paying attention to what the Huskers have done with their 2024 class.

Nebraska football signed 29 players on Wednesday. It went well beyond that with preferred walk-ons. The Huskers are betting on their ability to recruit talent, develop it, and keep it.

Rhule talked about the “Husker Portal” on Wednesday which was a reference to keeping guys like Ty Robinson, Isaac Gifford, Nash Hutmacher, etc. That’s going to be more important than the transfer portal for the Huskers who are investing in high school recruiting.

It’s an investment that’s going to pay off.

Fireworks on Signing Day

Dylan Raiola got the fireworks started when he announced his commitment on Monday. Raiola wasn’t the only late addition for Nebraska football though.

Three-star linebacker Vincent Shavers signed with the Huskers on Wednesday, as did former Maryland pledge Larry Tarver. Somehow, the Huskers also found room for Amare Sanders, giving Nebraska a five-star quarterback and a trio of three-star commitments all in the past couple of days.

Rhule’s prowess for recruiting Texas is talked about a lot. But this class featured some of the best players from the Midwest (No. 1 in Nebraska and Iowa) as well as a bunch of players from Florida (5) and Texas (5).

So not only has Rhule established some key pipelines already for the Huskers — his program closed extremely well for the second year in a row, which bodes well for the future.

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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