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Nebraska Football NFL draft and rookie free agent roundup



Syndication: HawkCentral

Just two Nebraska football players were selected in the 2023 NFL draft, but others signed as free agents, and here are my thoughts on each.

As we move into the future for Nebraska football, my hope is that the Huskers will start being more prevalent during the NFL draft.

Nebraska football didn’t have any players selected during the first two days of the NFL draft and it’s been 12 years since the Huskers have had a first-round pick. It was positive to see Nebraska have a player drafted for the fifth consecutive year, but the pro talent needs to increase.

Matt Rhule knows that and obviously, he had no control over the 2023 draft class, which still sent Trey Palmer to the Bucs in the sixth round, as well as Ochaun Mathis to the Rams.

Here’s a roundup of Nebraska football players that were drafted or signed with NFL teams (as rookie free agents) and some thoughts on their pro futures.

Nebraska Football draft picks

Trey Palmer (Bucs, 6th round): I really love this fit for Trey Palmer and I think he has a chance to be one of the steals of the draft. He’s only scratched the surface of his potential and if Tom Brady was still the quarterback, I think Palmer could make an impact right away. Either way, he’s going to make the roster and I wouldn’t be shocked if he earned regular snaps at some point. 4.33 in the 40 is 4.33. He also led the college with three receptions of 70 yards or more and five plays of 60 yards plus. Palmer can help in the return game too and Bucs fans will love this kid.

Ochaun Mathis (Rams, 6th round): The Rams are a team that knows what to do with edge rushers and Mathis is another guy that could have a better pro career than college. Mathis is 6-foot-5, close to 250 pounds but has 16 sacks and 31 career tackles for loss. Mathis just had 3.5 sacks last season and was up and down at times. He does need to work on his run defense, but as a pure pass rusher, he’s got NFL ability and the Rams got a dude who can help them next season.

Nebraska undrafted free agent signees:

Garrett Nelson (signed with Dolphins): Nelson had 5.5 sacks last season for the Huskers and was productive during his career with 167 tackles, 12 sacks, and 26 tackles for loss. The Dolphins run a 3-4 defense and honestly, if Nelson could bulk up and be a five-technique, it could be his best role. I don’t see him being nimble enough to play as a standup outside linebacker a whole lot, but he could rush the passer in a defined role. Nelson should have a decent shot of at least making the practice squad.

Caleb Tannor (signed with the Jets): At times, I thought Nebraska should have used Tannor more as a pass rusher. He has 10 career sacks and I think sacking the quarterback is the way he can stick in the league. Tannor could be a natural fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker because he played in a standup role a lot in college. NFL teams love to add pass rushers in rookie free agency and that skill is his best hope.

Travis Vokolek (signed with Ravens): Of all the undrafted free agents, Vokolek is the guy I think has the best chance to make a roster next season or in the future. If it wasn’t for some of the injuries he had this past season, he would have been more productive than his 20 receptions for 240 yards. That would have helped his draft stock. However, at 6-foot-6, 260 pounds, he’ll have a job next season. Baltimore loves big tight ends and Vokolek should have a good shot of making the team if he can find a way on special teams, where tight ends are valuable. He caught 57 passes for 656 yards and four scores during his career. So he’s a better receiver than people give him credit for and his blocking is what will keep him around.

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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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