Five things we learned from the Omaha In-State Tour event
The top high school football players and coaches in the Omaha area attended the first day of HuskerOnline's In-State Tour. Head coaches from 13 schools brought their top prospects to the event where each player's height, weight, recruiting information and more were recorded and two players from each school were interviewed.
The schools that attended were Gretna, Bellevue West, Omaha Central, Omaha North, Omaha Westside, Creighton Prep, Omaha Skutt, Lewis Central, Papillion La Vista, Elkhorn, Elkhorn South, Millard South and Omaha Burke.
Here are five things we learned from the in-state tour:
1. Creighton Prep offensive lineman Sam Sledge committed to Nebraska
Creighton Prep offensive lineman Sam Sledge said he was committing to Nebraska. Sledge's father, Bob Sledge, played for the Huskers and was an All-Big Eight offensive tackle.
Nebraska offered Sledge, a 2023 prospect, on Jan. 22 after he attended the Huskers' Junior Day event. The 6-foot-4, 270-pound lineman told HuskerOnline that it was hard for him to not commit right on the spot when he got the offer.
With Sledge's father being a Husker, Sledge said he always wanted to be a Husker as well.
Sledge said he hit it off with Nebraska's new offensive line coach Donovan Raiola immediately, that Raiola is easy to talk to and Sledge likes Raiola's coaching style.
The lineman, who was the first-ever freshman to start a football game at Creighton Prep, said Head Coach Scott Frost was "ecstatic" when Sledge committed.
2. Bellevue West's Dae'Vonn Hall views Mickey Joseph as 'idol'
Bellevue West wide receiver Dae'Vonn Hall is one of the top wide receiver recruits in the area. Hall has offers from Nebraska, Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas State and Iowa.
He said Nebraska's new wide receiver coach Mickey Joseph is one of the idols he looks up to. He said he was very excited to meet and talk with Joseph and that it is a "big factor in his recruiting."
The 6-foot-1, 180-pound receiver said he loves watching current NFL players Ja'Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson, who were coached by Joseph.
Hall said his biggest jump during his sophomore season in 2021 was his blocking. With two more football seasons ahead of him, Hall said he plans to wait to commit until the end of his junior year or the beginning of his senior season.
3. Husker legacy Maverick Noonan hopes to commit before senior season at Elkhorn South
Elkhorn South pass rusher Maverick Noonan said he would like to commit to a school before his senior season which begins in the fall of 2022. Noonan, whose father Danny Noonan was a Husker defensive lineman, has 10 offers including Nebraska, Iowa, Iowa State, Michigan State, Minnesota, Stanford and more.
While Noonan is an in-state Husker legacy with a Nebraska offer, he didn't grow up a die-hard Husker fan and is looking for a school that fits him the best.
Noonan said some of the biggest factors in choosing a college are the fit with the coaches and the school itself including academics.
The 6-foot-4, 222-pound edge player said he has refined his technique, speed and hand skills, which he said he developed more during his junior season.
Heading into his senior season, Noonan said he has become more of a leader on the team and wants to lead by example.
4. Omaha North defensive end Tyson Terry wins heavyweight title
Omaha North defensive lineman Tyson Terry came to HuskerOnline's in-state event fresh off a heavyweight wrestling championship. Terry became the first freshman to win the Nebraska state heavyweight title since 1971.
"I was very excited," Terry said. "Words can't describe it."
The 6-foot-2, 265-pound lineman said his wrestling talents transfer over to his football abilities. Terry said college coaches sometimes gravitate towards him because of his wrestling background.
Terry has offers from Iowa State, Kansas, Minnesota and Nebraska. He said he talks to coach Mickey Joseph and Barrett Ruud often.
The defensive end said culture along with academics, location and where he fits into the scheme is important to him in his future school.
5. Husker legacy Caleb Benning recruiting ramping up after Nebraska offer
Omaha Westside cornerback Caleb Benning received his first college offer from Nebraska on Thanksgiving day. What made this offer a little sweeter was that it was from his dad Damon Benning's alma mater, Caleb said.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound athlete said his recruiting picked up a lot after the Huskers offer. Minnesota offered him and Iowa has been in contact. He said he enjoyed getting the chance to talk to Joseph earlier this year.
Benning said his parents, who were both high-level athletes at Nebraska - one on the football field and the other on the soccer field, have helped him a lot during the recruiting process.
During the summer, Benning will be playing AAU basketball but said he will take time off to go to football camps. He doesn't plan to do anything too stressful over that time, as he doesn't graduate for two more years.
Bonus take: Nebraska's contact has been limited with Zane Flores
Gretna QB Zane Flores is one of the hottest prospects right now in the state of Nebraska. He measured 6-foot-4 and 195 pounds on Sunday.
In the last week, he's picked up offers from Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Memphis. He has a call set up with OSU head coach Mike Gundy later this week.
As for Nebraska, Flores said his contact still remains very limited at this point. He has not had a chance to talk with new offensive coordinator Mark Whipple or any of the new staff members Scott Frost has hired at this point.
You get the sense now both KSU and OSU are going to be the early teams to beat. Flores visited Manhattan three times this past season and the Cowboys offered him sight unseen.