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Final takeaways from Nebraska Football 2023 recruiting class



Nebraska Football
Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the Nebraska football recruiting class is signed, sealed, and delivered, here are our final takeaways for the Huskers.

The 2023 recruiting class for Nebraska football is finally in the books. D’Andre Barnes announced his signing on Wednesday, which pushed the total number of signees to 28.

Nebraska football also added 11 transfers and if those are included, that’s 39 players joining the program under first-year head coach Matt Rhule.

That’s the kind of roster overhaul that was needed and the Huskers aren’t done. More players will be added and subtracted from the roster before fall camp in August.

But as of right now, we at least know what the 2023 recruiting class is, and here are our final takeaways.

‘The fastest class in America’

That was how one 247 sports’ recruiting analyst dubbed Nebraska’s 2023 haul — the fastest class in America and here’s more on that from Andrew Ivins:

“I’m calling it — the fastest class in America,” 247Sports Director of Scouting Andrew Ivins said on the 247Sports National Signing Day Show on Wednesday. “When Matt Rhule was at Baylor, they recruited traits. At this past NFL Scouting Combine, two of the top three 40-yard dash guys were guys Matt Rhule recruited at Baylor. The third guy was one Rhule almost flipped — ended up going to UTSA…It’s just speed, right? What we’ve seen from Matt Rhule since he arrived there, is everything we expected. There’s headliners. They’re fast.” 

This class certainly lives up to that billing. Malachi Coleman, Bryce Turner, Jalen Lloyd, and Jaidyn Doss all run the 100-meter dash in 10.5 or faster. That’s incredibly fast and during his press conference on Wednesday, Rhule said that Turner was as fast as any player in the country. He’s also 6-foot-2. Coleman is 6-foot-5 and all of them are expected to run track too.

Rhule likes players with speed and size and we have seen that. His focus is on the trenches and adding dynamic athletes. The Huskers definitely did that in 2023 and we’ll continue to see the athleticism of this program upgraded in the coming years under this new coaching staff.

Closing strong

One thing we have learned about Rhule and this Nebraska football staff is that they know how to close. A couple of weeks ago, they hosted four visitors on campus and all four wound up signing. Nebraska football also signed Cameron Lenhardt and Ethan Nation after visits.

The same can be said about a number of 2023 recruits. Trev Alberts always said once people get to Lincoln, Nebraska has a good chance of getting them and that was true in 2023. Almost every prospect that took an official visit after Rhule was hired wound up signing with Nebraska football.

That’s closing strong and Nebraska also closed strong by adding seven recruits to the class since Early National Signing Day. Lenhardt and Nation are each top-500 prospects. But Nebraska added five others since then, each with at least a three-star designation, and that ability to close is how Nebraska wound up ranked 24th in 2023 when it was all said and ranked ahead of teams like Colorado (30th) and Wisconsin (58th).

Development is key

Rhule talked on Wednesday about the ability to take really good athletes and find the right spot for them on the football field. Well, for Nebraska to succeed on the field, that development is going to be vital.

Rhule has a proven history of taking these kinds of players and turning them into NFL talents.

It’s intriguing to think about what Malachi Coleman can turn into or someone like Princewell Umanmielen or Eric Fields. Ismael Smith Flores is a guy I think has huge potential as a late addition and the same thing can be said about many of Rhule’s additions to this 2023 class.

The downside of that is that only six of the 28 Nebraska football signees are ranked in the top 500 of the 247 sports composite rankings. Trev Alberts said this needed to be the premier development program in all of college football and he’s right on point with that assessment.

If Rhule and his staff can develop these guys the way they believe they can, it’s going to be a great foundation for a Nebraska football rebuild. There are going to be misses but at least the Huskers will be sticking true to the idea of missing on size, speed, and potential.

Expectations are higher in 2024

Matt Rhule said it himself on Wednesday, “We should recruit well here.”


Nebraska is still Nebraska. This program isn’t what it used to be, but there is a lot to sell to the right kind of players and I see no reason why the Huskers can’t do under Matt Rhule what Michigan has done under Jim Harbaugh.

The Huskers certainly have a shot with Dylan Raiola, the top-ranked player in the entire 2024 class, but five-star recruits aren’t going to beat down the doors to come to Nebraska, especially with the way NIL is working.

But I see no reason why Nebraska can’t have a blue-chip ratio (percentage of class rated as four-star prospects or higher) that’s around 50 percent or higher. That’s where you need to be to realistically compete for championships and playoff spots and with Rhule, that’s a realistic target.

Nebraska landing top-10 classes is going to be difficult. Hell, Michigan has only had two of those in the last four cycles. it’s not a prerequisite to winning big. But you need some blue-chip talent. Nebraska got one this year in Coleman and hopefully, will develop some others that outplay their ranking in a big way.

If this program is going to become a blue-blood again, a real blue-blood, it needs to get blue-chip talent and that starts with Raiola in 2024.

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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.

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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.

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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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