In-State Tour: Omaha Westside
2022 is the 19th year of the HuskerOnline In-State Tour. Every February since 2004, HuskerOnline profiles the top up-and-coming prospects in the state of Nebraska.
This year our In-State Tour was broken up into two events in Omaha and Lincoln as we profiled all the top prospects in the state.
Our next stop of the 2022 In-State Tour takes us to Omaha Westside, where the Warriors are coming of another great season led by some up-and-coming talent in the class of 2024.
Head coach: Brett Froendt (Paul Limongi named new coach for 2022)
2021 record: 12-1 (Class A runner-up)
Season rewind: "Westside has been at a great school for a long time," Froendt said after announcing his retirement. "I had a lot of great coaches to coach with, a supportive administration, a great community to work in, and I can't think of coaching anywhere else, to be honest with you. I enjoyed my time before I was the head coach with Coach (Larry) Morrissey and Coach (Tom) Hall and all the legends of Westside, Coach (Marty) Kaufman, and I just took my place and took my turn and tried to improve it the best I could.
"I tell kids that all the time and coaches, Westside was great before I got there. It's going to be great after I leave, so it's in good hands."
Benning leads Omaha Westside's talented 2024 class
Froendt's take on ATH Caleb Benning: "We had him at corner last year as a freshman to start the year, and we moved safety after he had to sit out a couple of games to get an injury healed up. We moved him in the first game, and he had one of the best games we've had at safety in a long time. We knew he found his place and he's just got a great presence about him in terms of spacing, understanding where the ball is, and being able to find the right angles. As he develops strength and speed, he's just going to become better. They've already recognized his talents and he had a fantastic sophomore year for us.
"I think he could play multiple positions. His football IQ is very high, and he just understands the game really well. He'll find his niche. Certainly is a great safety now, but he can become a really good slot football player as well on the offensive side."
Benning's take: "This was my first year playing safety. Week by week. My first week was Week 3, and Coach Froendt was just like, 'You'll figure it out, you'll get it.' I practiced, I started picking it up, and in Week 3 against Papio South I played a pretty good game, and from there, it just kept going up.
Recruiting: Benning has early offers from both Nebraska and Minnesota, while Iowa has also shown heavy interest at this point. He's attended Nebraska's Junior Day, and he'll be at Iowa's this weekend. Hawkeye head coach Kirk Ferentz checked in on Benning at Westside over the month of January.
Benning received his first offer from NU head coach Scott Frost on Thanksgiving. Benning's father Damon was a standout running back for the Big Red in the 90s. His mother Tanya was a standout soccer player for the Huskers.
"It was pretty special," Benning said of getting his first offer from Nebraska. "Getting things kickstarted with my dad going there and all the ties, it was pretty cool.
"(After the Nebraska offer) coaches started coming in to look in, and Iowa came in, Minnesota came in. When Mickey Joseph came in, that was pretty cool. It's just stuff I wasn't used to, but I'm getting used to it now."
By the numbers: As a sophomore, Benning was a first-team All-Nebraska selection. He had 11 catches for 175 yards and two touchdowns on offense. He also returned a kick and a punt for a touchdown. He is regarded as one of the best defensive backs in the region for the class of 2024.
In the classroom, Benning carries a 3.9 GPA.
Froendt's take's on kicker Tristan Alvano: "He's just had a great junior year, he had a good sophomore year and he started taking part in Kohl's kicking camps, and of course, had great camps there. He's got a lot of exposure quickly.
"I think one thing that Tristan has grown a lot in is this mental part of the game because kickers spent a lot of time thinking about their craft and thinking about what's coming up, and he's very advanced in that area. That helps him be consistent. He performed great in the playoffs for us, and that certainly got some attention, as Alabama and Auburn have invited him down to their spring games, and I know Iowa is excited about having him over. He's getting to be a lot of attention with him around the country.
"Coaches want to see kickers on campus, and it's just different. In my experience they all want to see them kick, they may get recommendations from Jamie Kohl, and that kind of thing, but in the end, they want to see them kick on campus."
Alvano's take: "I think my greatest weapon, you know, a lot of guys have big legs. A lot of guys can really thump on kickoffs but I think my specialty is being able to just always be consistent. Coaches know what I'm going to bring to the table. I just try and do my thing and trust my holder and trust my snapper and my linemen and they block them in. They do their job.
"I grew up playing baseball and basketball and I still play soccer to this day. It's awesome. My athleticism helps me a lot to really get through the ball and if there's a point where I need to run a fake or something or a bad snap or something I'm always ready to run."
Recruiting: Alvano is being recruited by Minnesota, Northern Illinois, Iowa, Alabama, Oklahoma, North Dakota State and South Dakota State. He plans to camp at nearly all of those places in 2022. He attended games at NDSU, SDSU and Iowa last season.
"I'm going to go up to Iowa and Minnesota for camps in the summer for sure, and I go down to Alabama for a kicking camp and a spring game or spring practice. I'll probably make it up to Florida and hopefully, maybe Northern Illinois or Indiana - they've been talking to me."
By the numbers: Alvano is currently ranked the No. 5 kicker in the country by Kohl's Professional Camps. Max Preps named him a second-team Junior All-American and he was named both first-team All-Nebraska and Super State. He was 11-of-14 on field goals on the season, with long kicks of 49, 49, 47, 44 and 41 yards. 57 of his 68 kickoffs went for touchbacks and he finished 49-of-50 on extra points.
Alvano has also been clocked at 4.46 seconds handheld in the 40-yard dash and has a 28.5 inch vertical. In the classroom, he carries a 3.97 GPA.
Froendt's take on RB Jahmez Ross: "He battled injuries this year, and he had to sit for five games with a broken hand, and so he had a little slow development along the way, and once he came back, we just concentrated on keeping him on the offensive side and he backed up Dom (Rezac) as he fought through injuries and certainly had a fantastic playoff game against Bellevue West. He's poised to take over the offense. I'm pretty sure they'll build the offense around him because he's quite the talent."
Recruiting: Ross has attended Junior Day at both Nebraska and Iowa.
By the numbers: The talented Ross was brought up as a freshman to Westside's varsity in 2020, and split the workload with 2022 Air Force signee Dominic Rezac. He'll carry the load for the Warriors this season.
Froendt's take on QB Anthony Rezac: "He's a very mature kid, to be honest with you, and mentally, he's a very sharp kid. He makes really good decisions at a high percentage rate, understands where the ball's supposed to be. That's where his mental makeup, I think, has put him at an advanced level right now. I think physically, he's got a long way to go, and I think when he picks up physically, you're going to have a heck of a football player."
Recruiting: Rezac will attend Iowa's Junior Day and he's currently being recruited by the Hawkeyes, Minnesota, Northern Illinois and Austin Peay.
By the numbers: The 6-foot-3, 190 pound Rezac took over the starting quarterback job after the fourth game of the season. He was 79-of-116 passing for 1,221 yards, 19 touchdowns and just one interception. He also had 247 rushing yards and two scores on the ground. His overall QB rating was 208.
Rezac was named second-team All-Metro in 2021. His father D.J. Rezac was a part of Indiana's football program as a player for one season, and his older brother Dominic Rezac signed with Air Force in 2022. Anthony Rezac carries a 4.0 GPA in the classroom.
Froendt's take on TE Trevor Spady: "He's a talented kid who fought through injuries this year, but he ran high hurdles last year as a freshman, almost made state, he's got some athleticism. His upside is really high and we were excited about him coming back."
Recruiting: Spady attended a Nebraska home game as a visitor and will be at Iowa's Junior Day this weekend.
By the numbers: The 6-foot-4, 205 pound Spady has a 30-inch vertical and also runs the 110-hurdles in track. He carries a 3.1 GPA in the classroom.
Froendt's take's on DB Ty Keifer: "That's the guy nobody knows about. He tore his knee Game 8 his sophomore year and he was just starting to come on as a football player. Then he rehabbed, did everything he could to come back to Game 1, and did it again this year. He might come back a little bit early, but he's a talented kid. He's got a lot of speed. I think people are going to really open their eyes when they see him play this football season."
By the numbers: Keifer has battled injuries both his sophomore and junior seasons. He was a starter on the 2020 state championship team but suffered a knee injury in the first game of the 2021 season.
Keifer runs 4.51 in the 40-yard dash and carries a 4.0 GPA in the classroom.
Froendt's take's on LB Curt Cubrich: "We had some great linebackers last year, and Kurt's going to step into that role. He's fast and he's quick. He's short, but it doesn't matter. He's going to be all over the field, and he's an impact football player. We're excited about his senior year."
Recruiting: Cubrich is being recruited by North Dakota State at this point.
By the numbers: The 5-foot-11, 190 pound inside linebacker has a 33.5 inch vertical. He carries a 3.98 GPA in the classroom.