The overall feel of Nebraska's 2022 recruiting has taken a big turn. We hit on that and more in today's Three & Out.
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Three & Out: A different tone, Nebraska's QB room and more on Morton

This is HuskerOnline.com's feature in which recruiting analysts Mike Matya and Bryan Munson give their weekly takes on topical issues concerning Nebraska football, baseball and recruiting.

Today in our next installment of "Three and Out" we hit the tone of Nebraska's recruiting, the quarterback room and the addition of Javier Morton.

Nebraska head coach Scott Frost.
Nebraska head coach Scott Frost.

A different tone

This past weekend was the end of the month-long NCAA dead period, so Nebraska hosted a combined group of high school, junior college and transfer portal prospects on campus for visits.

It was also the first time that the revamped Husker coaching staff, with an almost all-new slate of offensive assistant coaches, was assembled and able to recruit as a whole unit.

While speaking with several of the visiting recruits to get their feedback regarding their time in Lincoln, there was a noticeable difference in the tenor of the comments I was hearing from them that I hadn't heard in quite a while.

I had written a few months back that Nebraska had lost its cachet as a football program somewhere along the way, and it was certainly true. The program seemed lifeless and dead in the water from a recruiting standpoint.

Finishing last in the Big Ten rankings for their 2022 class after the early signing period just confirmed the sense I had throughout the cycle that things were trending in a downward direction.

But after the weekend, the comments the visiting recruits and transfer targets made to me, and more importantly how they said it, signaled something significant had changed with NU's recruiting operation and approach that was resonating with the prospective future Husker players on campus.

To give but one prominent example, Alabama high school defensive back Kylon Griffin had this to say about his end-of-visit, individual meeting with Scott Frost:

"I loved it! I was looking forward to that. That was probably my most anticipated thing of the weekend and I loved every second of it."

New running back commitment Anthony Grant and transfer quarterback transfer Chubba Purdy had similar glowing statements about what they experienced in Lincoln with the reshuffled Husker staff. They came away believers in the vision the coaches pitched to them.

"I just got back to Phoenix and my family and I had a great time," Purdy told me the day before he announced his commitment to Nebraska. "We loved it. It was just the coaches and the hospitality. I really think they're going to turn around that program. They will probably be very good next year."

Now, none of this guarantees Nebraska is going to win more games in 2022, but a definite, palpable buzz has returned to the Cornhuskers' football program that was noticeably absent for at least the past year or so.

It's a promising start, but there's an awful lot of work yet to be done if this thing is going to actually work and really get turned around. They need to build on the momentum the new staff additions have given them and carry it through the spring and summer months.

The proof will be in the pudding.

- Mike Matya

Casey Thompson
Casey Thompson (Getty Images)

QB shakeout coming

Quarterback transfers Casey Thompson [Texas] and Chubba Purdy [Florida State] will be joining a quarterback room in Lincoln that now looks a lot more intriguing. And more crowded.

The pair will be competing throughout winter conditioning, spring practice and fall camp against current scholarship quarterbacks Logan Smothers and Heinrich Haarberg, as well as freshman early enrollee Richard Torres, for the starting and primary backup jobs at NU in 2022.

They will all, in essence, be at the same starting line since they will be learning a new offensive attack under the fresh eyes of offensive coordinator Mark Whipple.

There's little doubt that Casey Thompson will be given every opportunity to grab the mantle of the clear No. 1 quarterback, but it's not a guarantee he will necessarily stand out and separate himself from all the rest.

So, let the competition begin and the cream rise to the top -- no matter who it is in the end.

Don't forget that baseball scholarship signee Mikey Pauly will be joining the fray of quarterback competition in June as well. Kansas State and Kansas thought enough of his abilities as a signal caller to offer him a scholarship to play football in their respective programs.

As the QBs get put through their paces and an established pecking order develops over these next few months, I think it's inevitable that at least one or two of the above will be leaving Nebraska prior to the start of the season.

That's just the brave new world we live in now with the advent of the transfer portal and the inevitable mercenary attitude that has taken over with this defacto college football free agency.

May the legitimately best quarterback in Lincoln win the starting job for this upcoming season, and let the rest of the chips fall where they may.

- Mike Matya

The importance of Morton gets overlooked

There was a lot of big news to be celebrated this weekend when it came to the weekend of official visitors. The Huskers pulled off a serious coup by getting both Casey Thompson and Chubba Purdy to transfer to Nebraska. The Huskers also gained a big commitment from the No. 1 rated JUCO running back, Anthony Grant.

And I am a fan of all of the aforementioned recruits. Put on the film and watch them play and you will understand the significance of bringing that type of talent to Lincoln and putting it immediately into that locker room, weight room and eventually out on that field.

But as people dream up what the Nebraska offense might look like, talk about how crowded the quarterback room is now, or think about how Grant could have a huge spring we overlook Javier Morton and what his commitment means to this class.

I had a chance to catch up with someone close to the Jayhawk League and he was able to provide some good intel on Morton. "He's long and he's physical. He had some serious rides coming out of high school. He's a legit D-I guy who has a real chance to be great at Nebraska."

There was something very interesting about what Morton had to say about how Nebraska saw him fitting in their defense. The recruiting pitch to every defensive back this past year has been to play multiple positions and be versatile.

The message was different from Nebraska to Morton. Nebraska told Morton they just wanted him as a cornerback. There wasn't a need to gummy anything up. The Huskers know what Morton is good at -- man to man coverage as a cornerback -- and there was definitely a need for that on this team.

So while I was amazed that Nebraska was able to get Purdy and Grant, for me the steal of the weekend was Morton.

-Bryan Munson