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Huskers ink 12 commitments in new early signing period

Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Scott Frost and his new Cornhusker staff made quite the early impression on recruits as they received letters of intent from 12 different recruits over the last 72 hours of the early signing period.  With a late commitment on Thursday and another final commitment on Friday, the Huskers appear to have locked up their first signing class after just three weeks on the job.

The staff addressed several different positions with their class locking up players at l8 different positions.  They also signed 4 junior college players which is something the Husker program hasn’t participated in over the last three years as they focused on developing high school prospects.

With 12 commitments on board in this year’s early class coach Frost will look to secure likely commitments from 8-10 players in the February signing period this spring. Look for there to be a heavy focus on wide receivers, cornerbacks, offensive lineman, and maybe a few defenders that fit into the outside linebacker and defensive end positions in the final signing period.

Here’s a look at who they signed:

Name Pos. Ht. WT. Hometown Previous School
David Alston OLB 6-5 225 Saint Paul, Minn. Woodbury HS
Greg Bell RB 6-0 200 Chula Vista, Calif. Bonita Vista HS/Arizona Western CC
Will Farniok OL 6-3 260 Sioux Falls, S.D. Washington HS
Will Honas ILB 6-2 225 Wichita, Kan. Bishop Carroll HS/Buter CC
Cameron Jurgens TE 6-4 245 Beatrice, Neb. Beatrice HS
Katerian Legrone WR/TE 6-3 230 Atlanta, Ga. The B.E.S.T. Academy
Adrian Martinez QB 6-2 205 Fresno, Calif. Clovis West HS
Justin McGriff WR 6-6 220 Tampa, Fla. Jefferson HS
Barret Pickering PK 6-0 180 Birmingham, Ala. Hoover HS
Tate Wildeman DL 6-6 250 Parker, Colo. Legend HS
Deontai Williams DB 6-1 200 Jacksonville, Fla. Trinity Christian HS/Jones County JC
Jaron Woodyard WR 5-11 180 Gaithersburg, Md. The Avalon School/Arizona Western CC

 

While this isn’t a top recruiting class so far for Nebraska, it is one that is filled with quality recruits who can make an early impact on the field. When measuring Nebraska against the rest of the big ten from a quality standpoint, the Huskers rank 4th amongst their peers.

Due to the limited number of players in the class, the Huskers ranking on a national scale sits around 41st according to 247 sports. According to Frost, the Huskers are targeting a class size of around 20 kids and that should see them steadily climb the recruiting rankings as those kids commit over the next two months.

Frost addressed some key needs in the early signing period as well. He locked up 4-star quarterback Adrian Martinez who is a true dual-threat quarterback that relies on his arm first but can quickly make a defense pay with his speed and shiftiness in the open field. Martinez is also a top-150 player on 247 sports holding down the 143rd position in their rankings. He’s a perfect fit for the new offense and the highest rated quarterback the Huskers have landed in the last 5 years.

He also locked up talented juco running back Greg Bell who was an NCAA Junior College All-American player for Arizona Western this season. His running style reminds me a lot of Ameer Abdullah in that he can flash nice burst as well as stay patient and run behind his offensive line if a play takes a little while to develop.  He’s also deadly out of the backfield and runs nice clean routes for a running back.

A final offensive player to note, juco wide receiver Jaron Woodyard may be one of the fastest players on the team this spring.  His speed can easily take the top right off of the defense or wreak havoc on linebackers who might get matched up on him in the slot. With Frosts offense relying heavily on wide receivers he should fit right into the new scheme.

From a defensive standpoint, the Huskers linebacking corps was both a strength and a weakness for the Huskers as the season went on.   Frost landed a commitment from juco linebacker Will Honas who was the #1 rated juco inside linebacker for good reason. He is a man on a mission when he locks onto his target and should bring added physicality to the blackshirts. With Chris Weber departing look for Honas to compete early for one of the inside linebacker positions.

Lining up next to Honas, expect to see outside David Alston competing for early playing time in his career as well. Alston was the #1 recruit in the state of Minnesota and led the state in interceptions while playing defensive end.  It’s one thing to have a multitude of interceptions as a defensive back or linebacker but to do it from the defensive end position shows off how long and athletic Alston is. He should thrive in the Huskers 3-4 defense at a position that allows him the freedom to put a hand in the dirt or drop into coverage.

Lastly, the Huskers are in need of help in the secondary and landed junior college defensive back Deontai Williams after a surprise visit to Lincoln.  Williams is the type of player that can play just about anywhere and flashes physicality whenever he steps on the field. While he will likely play safety at Nebraska he is athletic enough to play several different positions such as cornerback or linebacker.  Watch for him to compete early on as a run stuffing safety who has the discipline to sit back in his zone and cover.

There are several others recruits that should make a splash in their time at Lincoln that we love over here at Husker Hype.  Barret Pickering may “only be a kicker” but he’s one of the best in the country.  Tate Wildeman really blossomed in his senior year at Legend HS in Parker, Colorado. Katerian Legrone is a great pickup at tight end as he has the size to play on the line but can easily move into the H-back position and flex out as an extra wide receiver thanks to his speed.

Keep an eye on Nebraska native Cameron Jurgens as well. While he’s a tight end he could easily play several other positions if he’s not a true fit for Frost’s offense as a tight end. Selfishly, I would love to see him give defensive end a shot at Nebraska as he could thrive there instead of competing at an overloaded tight end position.

Will Farniok is also a name to watch but will take a few years to develop to see results. From a technical standpoint, he’s one of the best offensive linemen coming out of high school but he needs to add a bit of size and strength to his frame to compete at the next level.

Lastly, the final letter of intent signed on Friday came from athlete Justin Mcgriff.  Mcgriff is listed as a tight end, which would give the Huskers 3 commits at an already stacked position but the truth is he’s an athlete and could easily play multiple positions. I would envision the Huskers using him much like Legrone where he could line up in the H-back role and create a host of mismatches for the defense.

Outside of their physicality, one of the most common characteristics from all of the recruits is their behavior and work ethic.  We’ve seen and heard from several coaches who walk about these guys all being aggressive and the type who put their nose to the grindstone to accomplish their goals. This group should be fun to watch as the competition in spring ball is wide open according to coach Frost. Watch for several players to out-work and out hustle their completion and create a sense of urgency for the rest of the roster.

For now, we take a small break from the craziness of recruiting during a coaching change to celebrate the holidays. Make sure you tune in to #10 UCF’s New Year’s Day Peach Bowl game against #7 Auburn for a snapshot of what fans can expect the Huskers to evolve into over the next few years.

The game is set for January 1st, at 11:30am CST on ESPN.

Until then, enjoy this “Frosty” Christmas song from Trinity Elementary school in Fremont, NE. You won’t be disappointed with their spin on things:

 

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