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Nebraska football is smart to prioritize high school recruiting

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Nebraska football

Nebraska football is going to sign a much bigger 2024 class than some expected and here’s why that’s a good thing for recruiting.

If you had asked me back in January, or even a couple of months ago, how many recruits would Nebraska football sign in the 2024 class — my answer would have been around 20.

That seemed like a perfectly reasonable number. After all, the Huskers needed to rebuild or reload — whatever term you want to use — and had just signed double-digit transfer portal classes in 2021 and 2022.

Every college football team has to be active in the portal. Even Georgia, Alabama, and Ohio State. The key is being able to use it to fill specific needs or to add really special players.

For every success story of teams rebuilding quickly through the transfer portal, you can point to a failure.

For Nebraska football, the key to success is twofold. It’s about recruiting and development. That doesn’t necessarily mean five-star prospects. Last year Michigan had nine players, I believe that were drafted and only one ranked in the top 300 of the 247 Sports composite rankings for his particular class.

I’ve always believed that 3-star prospects ranked in the 500-800 range are closer to the guys ranked 200-300 than the 200-300 guys are to the guys ranked in the top 50 or so.

Just like the NFL draft. You can make a lot of headway with those lower-ranked three-star recruits if you are smart about your evaluations and know how to develop players.

Plenty of programs are hoping for a quick turnaround and while Matt Rhule knows he needs to win quickly at Nebraska, it seems as though high school recruiting will play a bigger role than the transfer portal.

Why prioritizing high school recruits makes sense

Nebraska is going to utilize the transfer portal. Don’t get me wrong. The numbers just might be lower than we expected — just look at the high school recruiting class.

As much as coaches don’t stress the numbers when adding talent, there is an 85-man scholarship limit. Some players can take NIL money to play but Nebraska football is closing in on a class that could be anywhere from 25-30. It’s already 23 and we are over five months from early National Signing Day.

If Jeff Sims plays so well that he leaves for the NFL draft after this season, you can bet Nebraska would look for a starting-caliber quarterback. Those are the moves they will hope to make and capitalize when big-time talents become available.

Sometimes, it can be a former five-star such as MJ Sherman. He’s got the tools but was just buried on the depth chart at Georgia. Nebraska can offer a lot to those kinds of players, especially when it gets the NIL side of things ramped up.

Rhule is recruiting players with NFL traits. The focus is on size and speed, plus on-field production. That will always be key. However, it’s important to find guys with those traits worth developing and Rhule has done that from top to bottom in the 2024 class.

Some of the recruits might not be ranked that high and the Huskers won’t hit on them all. They just need to hit on enough, which is where Rhule and the staff come in.

When Trev Alberts was going through the hiring process, he said Nebraska football needed to be the premier development program in college football.

Well, if the Huskers are ever going to win championships again, conference or otherwise, that’s the path.

So far, it’s going well on the recruiting trail. We’ll see how the development side goes. But it’s fascinating to discuss.

The transfer portal can be great. But you also tend to get some for just 1-2 years. You have to worry about culture, roster fits, and all that stuff.

In terms of constructing the roster, I don’t think Rhule will leave any stone unturned. He’s rebuilding the walk-on program, hosting camps, and investing heavily in high school recruiting.

He will also take any transfer that can help the Huskers win. But Nebraska seems like it will prioritize high school recruiting over the hope of the transfer portal.

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Nebraska Football flips local TE Eric Ingwerson after long pursuit

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Mandatory Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska football landed a commitment from 2024 tight end Eric Ingwerson on Wednesday, according to multiple media reports.

Ingwerson is the 128th overall athlete in the 2024 class, and the ninth overall player in the class from the state of Nebraska per the 247Sports composite rankings. He has a numerical rating of 86 overall.

This is a solid commitment for several reasons. For one, Nebraska football has been interested in him for quite a while. He received an offer from the program on April 11, and had him and for an official visit on June 16.

Ingwerson joins a tight end room that is already in good hands for 2024. Carter Nelson headlines the room, with Ian Flynt also part of the room as well.

It is also worth noting that Ingwerson played on the defensive side of football as a defensive lineman for Papillion-LaVista. He could definitely play the position for Nebraska, as he measures in at six-foot-seven, 235 pounds. There is the chance that he could play a different position other than tight end. However, his size makes him an intriguing option at the position itself.

There can also be the possibility that Nebraska football could be looking at him as an offensive lineman. The size is there. This staff knows how to develop offensive lineman. Ingwerson could fit well in the positional group.

Currently, the 2024 Nebraska football recruiting class ranks 23rd overall in the country per the 247Sports rankings. This class has a solid high school group, and Ingwerson certainly adds to that. The 2024 class has the potential to be a cornerstone class of Matt Rhule’s tenure.

Ingwerson will be an asset to Nebraska football, no matter what position he plays. Furthermore, this is a great flip by the program. Once again, they have shown the ability to identify a prospect they want, and pursue him until they land him. The staff has done a good job of being able to flip recruits. Ingwerson is certainly a part of that distinction.

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Nebraska Football trending towards landing another in-state TE

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Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska football could be in line for one of their top targets. Tight end Eric Ingwerson is expected to make a visit to Lincoln this weekend, according to a report from 247Sports Steve Wilfong.

Ingwerson is a guy that Nebraska has been after for quite a while. The tight end has been committed to Pittsburgh since March, but Nebraska offered him in April. Since then, they have been pushing to land him. Tight ends coach Josh Martin is currently the coach involved in his recruitment.

Predictions have been made for Ingwerson to end up a member of the Nebraska football program. Notre Dame insider Tom Loy logged in a crystal ball for the tight end with a medium confidence score of six on Wednesday morning. Wilfong did the same thing, with the same confidence score as well.

What could he bring to Nebraska football?

Ingwerson has a tremendous catch radius, and uses it to haul in passes with ease. He has the ability to get into open space, and run after the catch. His ability to catch high throws in particular makes him a threat in the red zone. He is a quarterback’s best friend, and a player that would be a drive starter. He’s the type of player you can deliver safe, easy throws to in order to get the offense going.

Ingwerson would be an immediate red zone threat for Nebraska, as they look to continue to bring in talent to the tight end room. We have seen the emergence of Thomas Fidone this year. This offense has done a good job of involving the position in its scheme, especially in the red zone. Fidone for example already has three receiving touchdowns on the year.

It will be interesting to see what happens this weekend. From the sounds of it, it could be possible that we see a commitment. This would be a nice get for a 2024 Nebraska football recruiting class that already has a ton of talent. Here’s to hoping the coaching staff can seal the deal.

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Nebraska Cornhuskers news: QB updates for Michigan, plus a Christian Jones update

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Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

Our Nebraska Cornhuskers news roundup features the latest on Nebraska football quarterbacks, plus an update on top target Christian Jones.

Nebraska football was back on the practice field on Tuesday, and the Nebraska Cornhuskers’ two coordinators — Tony White and Marcus Satterfield met with the media.

The coaches always give out some good nuggets but the most important topic addressed on Tuesday were the quarterbacks — Jeff Sims and Heinrich Haarberg.

Haarberg started the last two games for Nebraska football and led the Huskers to a pair of non-conference wins over Louisana Tech and Northern Illinois. The running game was the strength for Haarberg although he tossed three touchdown passes over the two games. He has four on the season as well as three rushing touchdowns.

But Haarberg left the Louisiana Tech game due to injury and didn’t return after the weather delay. Matt Rhule said he could have returned but got tight. On Tuesday, Satterfield said that Haarberg was a full-go at practice for the Nebraksa Cornhuskers ahead of the Michigan game.

Jeff Sims is also “splitting reps” according to the Nebraska OC, but Sims still isn’t “100 percent” which probably isn’t a great sign for his availability on Saturday.

Latest on in-state recruiting target Christian Jones

Over the last two recruiting cycles, the Nebraska Cornhuskers have had an elite recruiting target in the state and in the 2025 class that’s linebacker Christian Jones.

Out of Omaha Westside, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound linebacker is ranked 106th overall according to the 247 Sports composite rankings. He also has some crystal balls in favor of Nebraska football already.

But just like the recruitments of Carter Nelson and Malachi Colman, this is going national. According to Bryan Munson of Husker Online, Jones visited Notre Dame last weekend for the Ohio State game.

Jones was also offered by Penn State. Notre Dame feels like the biggest threat by far though and here’s what Tom Loy of Irish Illustrated wrote about the in-state target’s visit to South Bend:

“He loved the atmosphere and environment of a Notre Dame home game and called it the “best college visit” he’s ever been a part of. Between the visit, the effort from the staff, and the push from his friend and teammate Teddy Rezac, a 2024 Notre Dame commit, I like the Irish as a major contender in this one.”

I agree that Notre Dame is the team to worry about but with the way the Huskers have been playing defense and having success recruiting the state, I’d still say Nebraska is the team to beat.

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