Matt Rhule quick hits from National Signing Day press conference
While much of Nebraska's 2023 class was finalized during the early signing period in December, the Huskers put the finishing touches on it Wednesday, college football's traditional National Signing Day.
Nebraska gained the signatures of five high school recruits Wednesday, including four-star receiver Demitrius Bell (Nashville, Tennessee), three-star tight end Ismael Smith Flores (Arlington, Texas), three-star defensive lineman Sua Lefotu (Bellflower, California), three-star defensive back D'Andre Barnes (Aurora, Colorado) and two-star receiver Jeremiah Charles (Arlington, Texas).
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Head coach Matt Rhule met with the media on Wednesday to talk about his program. Here are the quick hits:
>> Rhule starts off with an opening statement and wanted to make sure to honor National Girls & Women in Sports Day and Black History Month. He also wished luck to the four former Huskers who will be competing in the upcoming Super Bowl.
>> Rhule said the focus is purely going to be on the players on the team now. It's a sprint, and while the 2023 class is finalized, he's not going to slow down. He'll focus on what he currently has and get to work.
>> There's a competitiveness within Rhule's staff. Rhule said his staff is built from two things — relationships and standards. And the standard is to work really hard. That helped result in the D'Andre Barnes signing, Rhule said. Offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield found Barnes during a trip to Denver.
>> Rhule said he'd like to have 16 scholarship O-linemen, which the program doesn't have right now. The coach also said he saw some non-scholarship O-linemen move around during workouts and thinks they move like scholarship O-linemen.
>> All 11 of of Nebraska's transfers are on campus and with the team.
>> Rhule said he wanted to increase team speed, but just because someone is fast doesn't mean they'll be a good football player. "Those things (speed) guide you, they're a rock you can lean on." But Rhule is aware there needs to be work elsewhere with the speedy recruits the Huskers gained in the 2023 class. Development will be crucial.
>> Corey Campbell and his strength staff have been an important part of the staff meeting and knowing the coaching staff.
>> 14 former players of Rhule's are currently on his staff in on-field and off-field roles.
>> Georgia transfer tight end Arik Gilbert has all the talent in the world, Rhule said. Rhule said he wants Gilbert to leave Lincoln a better man, whenever that is.
>> Rhule said special teams coordinator Ed Foley going around to eight high schools in one day is "the bare minimum" and something that's expected of his staff on the recruiting trail.
>> What does Rhule hope to see from his six scholarship quarterbacks right now? "Hey, just improve yourself," Rhule said of the quarterbacks. It's a day-by-day process with those guys
>> Rhule confirmed that quarterbacks Casey Thompson and Logan Smothers will miss spring practice with shoulder surgery.
>> Rhule said he likes receiver Zavier Betts and is rooting for him. Betts sent Rhule a happy birthday text, and that meant something to the coach. Rhule is anxious to see Betts on the field and see if he can put everything together, both on the field and off.
>> Rhule said he's excited about Virginia transfer receiver Billy Kemp as a returner. He also wants people to understand that Kemp, at 5-foot-9, can play on both the outside and inside.
>> Rhule's birthday was on Tuesday. His wife flew in from Charlotte and the couple went to DISH Restaurant. Rhule called DISH "elite."