The Weekly Rundown: Huskers nab four commits in a week
It was another busy week of June recruiting for Nebraska. We hit on that and more as we set the tone for Monday with the HuskerOnline Weekly Rundown.
You have to feel pretty good about these things right now:
Dylan Raiola: I've seen a lot of quarterbacks throw at Nebraska's summer camps since 2004, and I'm not sure I've seen one better than 2024 Burelson (Texas) standout Dylan Raiola.
From Thursday to Sunday Raiola threw at TCU, Nebraska, Baylor and Florida State, and was offered by all four of them. He already had offers from Georgia and Washington State before that. That just doesn't happen unless a guy is a sure thing. He's a top-100 level talent that easily could be a five-star. It's hard to find many downsides, other than he hasn't been a varsity starting quarterback yet. From the people I've talked to around Nebraska, I know Scott Frost was blown away by the arm talent Raiola showed on Friday night.
Closing on June visitors: Give Nebraska credit. They've had a very solid June plan, bringing in 18 official visitors. Thus far six of those 18 players are commits, and the other 12 still technically remain on the board. I think the goal for NU was to be around 12 commits by mid-July and there's a fairly good chance that will happen.
NU's 2022 plan at quarterback: Nebraska had their sights set on San Antonio (Texas) Southside quarterback Richard Torres for the class of 2022, and they got it done. They brought Torres in first, slow-played MJ Morris and scheduled an official visit with A.J. Bianco to put some heat on Torres. There was a method to the madness here by Mario Verduzco and Scott Frost, and it led to a commitment from the guy they brought in first.
The smallest signing class in school history: The smallest recruiting class Nebraska has signed in modern-day history was 17 back in 2012. The only other class smaller than 20 happened in 2003, and that was a class of 19. It's a safe bet today the class of 2022 could be smaller than that 17-man class in 2012. Today, the early feel is NU will take 14 to 15 recruits until they get better guidance on the Super Senior rules.
These were my surprises of the week:
Daniel Kailen: I'll be honest, I was somewhat surprised 2024 Bellevue (Neb.) West quarterback Daniel Kaelin didn't throw at Friday Night Lights. Selfishly, as a football recruiting fan, I would've loved to see him and Raiola throw side-by-side Friday night.
In the four years Scott Frost has been at Nebraska, that was the most involved I've ever seen him at a camp running a workout. It was very cool to watch as Verduzco and offensive coordinator Matt Lubick were also heavily involved.
As it was happening, Kaelin stood behind them and watched. I would think most competitors would want to step in there on that stage. I get he was coming off seven-on-seven play, but Raiola threw four times in four days and flew into Lincoln Friday morning, before flying to Dallas Saturday and Tallahassee on Sunday. There's also a long time until 2024, but that was surprising to me. My read is Frost probably would have loved to have seen both throw live at the same time.
Ashton Hayes taking the RB spot: Nobody had Reno (Nev.) McQueen running back Ashton Hayes on the radar for Nebraska until his official visit on June 11. By June 17, he was a commit to the Huskers. Hayes liked what he saw and jumped on the spot. As of today, he may be the only running back NU takes for 2022. They also brought in four-star Justin Williams on June 4.
Crowd sizes on the Big Red Blitz Tour: The 20-city Big Red Blitz Tour and the lack of crowd sizes definitely raised some eyebrows. Was it because it was a Wednesday afternoon? Did it have to do with poor marketing and promotion? It's hard to say, but it even got Scott Frost's attention in Kearney.
“The first time I did something like this was out in Columbus, and I think there were about 4,000 people there,” Frost said. “This tells me I better start winning. I’m starting to feel like the Charlie Daniels Band. He used to be really big, and now he plays at county fairs.”
A crowd of about 60 watched Frost in Kearney. The largest reported crowd on the tour was 125 in North Platte. Some stops drew crowds fewer than 20 people. You can speculate a lot of reasons why, but the bottom line is that tour put in perspective how big this season is. Nebraska needs to win. They have to keep the fan base engaged.
The jury is still out
Questions still surround these things:
2022 Offensive line class: What direction will Greg Austin go with this offensive line recruiting class?
These appear to be the four names Austin hopes to build the base of the class with. Can they get two or three of these four prospects is the better question today?
2022 secondary class: Travis Fisher has brought in Markeith Williams, Avery Powell, James Monds III and Nathan Vail on secondary official visits thus far. All four visits went very well. Fisher has also offered Quantaves Gaskins who was on campus June 4. What direction will this secondary class go? Can the Huskers have at least two or three of these guys locked up by July 4?
Receiver and running back recruiting numbers: Will Nebraska take another receiver and another running back in the 2022 class? Today, it seems Landon Samson has a spot in this class at receiver no matter what. Justin Williams and the running back position remain the wildcard on if NU would add a second back.
This has my attention
Moving forward, this has my attention:
Super Seniors after 2021: The FCS ranks have already come out and said Super Seniors won't count towards their 63 player scholarship limits for the 2022 season. Will the FBS ranks follow suit and not count Super Seniors towards the 85-man limit? The date I keep hearing is July 1 on when we might know more.
Nebraska vs. Kansas State: The Huskers have beaten the Wildcats head-to-head for Torres and now wide receiver Grant Page. Pastore and Maikkula are also prime Wildcat targets considering NU. Could KSU go 0-for-4 in head-to-head recruiting battles vs. the Big Red?
Jake Maikkula: The Colorado lineman will be the 19th official visitor the Big Red has brought on campus in 17 days. As of today, he's the final scheduled visitor before the July dead period hits.
What a June this has been. 15 months of work has been combined into the last three weeks. We'll never see a June like this again.
Private workouts Friday: Will we see any more Friday private workouts this week? NU has brought in over 60 prospects in the last three weeks for private workouts. This has been very beneficial, and something hopefully the NCAA allows in the future.
NIL is looming: July 1 is right around the corner. We've already seen some Nebraska athletes open up their Twitter DM's for future business. NIL is here and it's going to change college amateur athletics forever. What more will we learn about NIL this week?