LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — Courtesy: UNL Athletic Communications
The Nebraska Huskers signed 23 recruits and eight walk-ons during the early National Signing Day period.
Matthew Anderson, OL, Leesville, La. (Leesville HS)
Matthew Anderson comes to Nebraska from Leesville High School in Louisiana, where he was a key member of an offensive line that helped Leesville win 23 games over his junior and senior seasons.
Anderson helped Leesville to a 13-1 record as a senior, when the Wampus Cats posted a perfect regular season for the first time in school history and advanced to the semifinals of Louisiana Class 4A state playoffs for the first time in more than 20 years. Anderson was recognized as a first-team all-district selection following his senior season. Anderson, who helped Leesville to a 10-2 record as a junior, also played tennis for the Wampus Cats and was captain of the chess team.
Anderson was rated as a three-star prospect and is listed among the top 75 offensive tackles in the country by 247 Sports. He held offers from Louisiana Tech, Louisiana and Western Kentucky, among others.
Brant Banks, DL, Houston, Texas (Westbury Christian HS)
Brant Banks was a versatile player for Westbury Christian High School in Houston, playing on the offensive line, defensive line and tight end. An all-district performer as both an offensive and defensive lineman, Banks is expected to begin his Nebraska career on the defensive line, where he brings great size and athleticism to the position.
As a senior, Banks was a first-team all-district honoree at offensive tackle for Westbury Christian. Banks was a first-team all-district selection offensive lineman as a junior and a second-team pick as a defensive lineman, when he helped Westbury Christian to the state playoffs. He also earned second-team all-state honors from the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools as a junior.
Banks was considered a three-star recruit, and Rivals ranked him among the top 70 players in the state of Texas. He held more than a dozen scholarship offers and chose Nebraska after also visiting Baylor and Missouri.
Bryce Benhart, OL, Lakeville, Minn. (Lakeville North HS)
Bryce Benhart is regarded as one of the top offensive line recruits in the nation after completing his career at a Minnesota prep powerhouse.
Benhart helped Lakeville North High School and Coach Brian Vossen to a 13-0 record and a Class 6A state title in 2018. With Benhart providing a huge blocking presence, the Lakeville North offense scored at least 35 points seven times in its unbeaten season, capped by victories over Eden Prairie and Lakeville South in the state semifinals and finals. Benhart earned first-team all-conference honors for his efforts as a senior. In 2017, Benhart helped Lakeville to a 7-4 record and a trip to the state playoffs. For his work on the line, Benhart was a second-team All-Minnesota selection by the Associated Press. Benhart was also a member of the varsity team in 2016, helping Lakeville North to a 9-2 record.
Benhart was ranked as the No. 1 player in Minnesota by 247 Sports and was the second-ranked player in the state by Rivals. He was ranked as the No. 8 offensive tackle in the nation and the No. 64 overall recruit by 247 Sports, while he was also a member of the ESPN 300. Benhart also visited Tennessee and Wisconsin and had numerous other offers, including Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern, Notre Dame and Oklahoma. Benhart also participates in wrestling and finished fourth at the 2018 state wrestling championship.
Darien Chase, WR, Vancouver, Wash. (Union HS)
Talented athlete Darien Chase is a consensus choice as one of the top prospects in Washington and is a versatile performer capable of playing multiple positions for the Huskers. Chase was a standout performer for Coach Rory Rosenbach at Union High School in Vancouver, Wash., helping the school to a Class 4A state title and a 14-0 record in 2018.
Chase caught 65 passes for 1,004 yards and 14 receiving touchdowns in his senior season and added 214 yards on kickoff returns. His play keyed an offense that averaged better than 430 yards per game. In the state championship game, Chase had five catches for 126 yards and a touchdown, while adding two tackles. Chase was named the Seattle Times Co-Player of the Year for his play. Chase also led Union to the state playoffs as a junior in 2017. He caught 45 passes for 1,095 yards, averaging better than 24.3 yards per reception. Chase had 14 receiving touchdowns, including a 98-yard touchdown catch, and totaled more than 1,300 all-purpose yards. On defense, he had 33 tackles, four interceptions, four tackles for loss and two breakups. Chase was a first-team All-Washington pick by the Associated Press in 2017.
Chase was ranked as the top prospect in Washington by 247 Sports, which also listed him as the nation’s No. 11 athlete prospect and the No. 188 player overall in the nation. Rivals also ranked him among the top 50 athlete prospects in the country. Chase also visited Boise State and had offers from Oregon, Oregon State, Utah, Washington and Washington State among others.
Myles Farmer, DB, Atlanta, Ga. (Westlake HS)
Myles Farmer is one of two safety prospects who signed with the Huskers from the Atlanta area. He brings good size and athleticism to the Husker secondary after playing for Westlake High School.
Although statistics from his high school career are unavailable, Farmer was named to the all-region first team as a senior after earning second-team honors as a junior. Farmer helped Westlake to a 9-3 record in 2018, a 7-4 mark in 2017 and an 11-4 record in 2016.
Farmer was regarded as a three-star prospect. He was ranked among the top 50 safeties nationally by Rivals and among the top 70 safeties in the country in the 247 Sports Composite rankings. He only visited Nebraska but also held offers from Louisville, Minnesota, Ole Miss, Oregon, Virginia Tech and West Virginia, among others.
Jimmy Fritzsche, OL, Greenville, S.C. (Greenville HS)
Jimmy Fritzsche, an athletic offensive lineman who also lined up at tight end for Greenville High School, is the first South Carolina player to sign with Nebraska out of high school since Tyrone Legette in 1988.
Fritzsche helped Greenville reach the state playoffs with a 7-4 record as a senior, when the Red Raiders averaged nearly 400 yards of total offense per game and topped the 40-point mark six times. As a junior in 2017, Frtizsche caught five passes for 35 yards as a tight end for a 12-2 Greenville squad that advanced to the state quarterfinals.
Fritzsche held scholarship offers from several Power Five programs, including Clemson, Purdue and Syracuse. The three-star prospect chose Nebraska after also visiting Clemson, Connecticut and Syracuse.
Jamin Graham, LB, Attalla, Ala. (Etowah HS)
Jamin Graham comes to Nebraska as one of the top players in the state of Alabama. Graham starred as a defensive end for Etowah High School, helping the Blue Devils to a 12-1 record and a trip to the Class 5A state quarterfinals in 2018.
As a senior, Graham posted 85 tackles, 37 tackles for loss, 13.5 sacks and 20 hurries. He also forced three fumbles and had two fumble recoveries. Against Gadsen City, Etowah trailed by three with 1:15 remaining before Graham scored two defensive touchdowns – including a strip-sack and 73-yard return – to lift the Blue Devils to the win. Graham was an all-area selection as a junior and had 52 tackles as a sophomore with 16 TFLs and four sacks.
Graham is also a standout basketball player for Etowah. He helped the Blue Devils to the program’s first regional title as a junior, when he averaged 13 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks per game and was named The Gadsen Times’ 2018 All-Etowah County Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
Graham only visited Nebraska, but he held offers from Louisville, Minnesota, Ole Miss, South Carolina and Virginia, among others. A three-star recruit, Graham was ranked among the nation’s top 50 defensive ends in the 247 Sports Composite rankings.
Jackson Hannah, LB, Nashville, Tenn. (Montgomery Bell Academy)
Nebraska signed one of the top linebackers in the southeast in Nashville native Jackson Hannah. Hannah comes to Lincoln from Montgomery Bell Academy, and is the Huskers’ first scholarship recruit to play high school football in Tennessee since Barry Turner in 2005.
Hannah, who helped Montgomery Bell Academy to three trips to the Division II-AAA state championship game, totaled 157 tackles in his prep career with 32.5 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, six fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles. He had 66 tackles, 16 TFLs and 6.0 sacks as a senior, when he also saw action in the backfield, rushing 29 times for 123 yards. Hannah had 52 tackles, nine tackles for loss, three sacks, one forced fumble and a pair of fumble recoveries as a junior. He totaled 37 tackles, 7.5 TFLs, four sacks, one forced fumble and three fumble recoveries as a sophomore. Hannah also saw varsity action as a freshman, recording a pair of tackles.
Rivals rated Hannah as a four-star recruit and the No. 14 inside linebacker in the nation. He only visited Nebraska but held offers from numerous other Power Five programs, including Alabama, Florida, LSU, Oregon and Wisconsin, among many others.
Nick Henrich, LB, Omaha, Neb. (Burke HS)
The 2018 Gatorade Nebraska Player of the Year, Nick Henrich is a standout linebacker in the Huskers’ 2019 recruiting class. In addition to his state honor, Henrich was chosen as a semifinalist for the high school Butkus Award. Henrich is one of two members of the class from Class A state champion Omaha Burke and one of five in-state signees overall. Henrich has been a catalyst for the success of Coach Paul Limongi’s team each of the past three seasons.
As a senior, Henrich helped the Bulldogs to a 13-0 record by recording 96 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss and four sacks. He earned first-team All-Nebraska honors from the Omaha World-Herald and Super State accolades from the Lincoln Journal Star for the second straight year, while being named the honorary captain of the defensive unit by both outlets. Henrich led Burke to a 9-3 record and an appearance in the Class A semifinals in 2017. He finished with 119 tackles, 31.5 tackles for loss and 11 sacks. As a sophomore, Henrich helped his team to an 8-3 record and a quarterfinal playoff appearance. He earned honorable-mention all-state recognition after collecting 58 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.
Henrich was a consensus choice by Rivals, 247 Sports and ESPN as the top prospect in the state of Nebraska. Rivals ranked him as the No. 6 outside linebacker prospect in the nation and the No. 119 player overall, while 247 Sports listed him as the nation’s No. 88 overall player and its No. 6 inside linebacker prospect. He was also a member of the ESPN 300. Henrich also visited Wisconsin and had dozens of offers including Notre Dame, Iowa and Oregon to name a few.
Chris Hickman, TE, Omaha, Neb. (Burke HS)
Tight end prospect Chris Hickman is one of two members of the Class A state champion Omaha Burke team to join the Nebraska program. Hickman is also one of five in-state signees in the class, the largest group of homegrown scholarship signees since 2008.
Hickman provided a big receiving target for Coach Paul Limongi’s team, and Hickman also excelled on defense. In 2018, Hickman caught 19 passes for 421 yards and four touchdowns, averaging better than 22 yards per reception. Defensively, he had 39 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, two interceptions, four pass breakups and caused two fumbles. Hickman’s play helped Burke to a perfect 13-0 record in 2018. Hickman earned Omaha World-Herald All-Nebraska and Lincoln Journal Star Super State honors as a defensive lineman for his play in 2018. It marked the second straight year he has received those accolades, after also being selected as a defensive lineman in 2017.
During his junior year, Hickman caught 24 passes for 575 yards and eight touchdowns. On defense, he had 46 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and six sacks from his defensive end spot. He also had four interceptions, five pass breakups and caused four fumbles. Hickman first starred for the Bulldogs as a sophomore when he caught 15 passes for 320 yards and seven touchdowns. His production in 2016 earned Hickman honorable-mention all-state recognition.
Hickman was regarded as one of the top three prospects in Nebraska by both Rivals and 247 Sports, while 247 Sports ranked him among the nation’s top 20 tight ends. Hickman was also a member of the Bulldogs’ varsity basketball team as a sophomore and junior. He chose Nebraska over numerous offers including Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas State, LSU, Minnesota, Purdue and Wisconsin among others.
Rahmir Johnson, RB, Oradell, N.J. (Bergen Catholic HS)
Rahmir Johnson rushed for more than 2,300 yards in his career as a state champion at Bergen Catholic High School in New Jersey, where he was one of the nation’s top running back prospects.
Johnson led Bergen Catholic to a 10-2 record and state runner-up finish as a senior in 2018, when he was named a third-team all-state selection and a first-team pick among non-public schools. Johnson ran for 1,334 yards and scored 12 total touchdowns, becoming the first Crusader to rush for 1,000 yards in a season since 2009. Johnson had seven 100-yard rushing games as a senior and averaged 11.2 yards per game. He rushed for 555 yards and six touchdowns on 90 carries as a junior, when Bergen Catholic won the state title. Johnson also caught 11 passes for 97 yards and two touchdowns and had 23 kickoff returns for 428 yards as a junior. He rushed for 462 yards and three touchdowns on 86 carries as a sophomore.
Johnson was also a standout on the track at Bergen Catholic, clocking career bests of 10.75 in the 100-meter dash and 21.46 in the 200-meter dash. One of the fastest runners in the state, Johnson won sectional titles in the 100-meter dash in both 2017 and 2018 and was third at the 2018 NJSIAA Championships. He won a sectional title in the 200 meters in 2017, when he also finished fourth in the long jump. Indoors, Johnson finished second in the 200 meters at the 2018 NJSIAA Meet of Champions and second in the 55-meter dash at the 2017 NJSIAA Championships. Johnson also competed in sprints at the New Balance Indoor National meet as a freshman, sophomore and junior.
A four-star recruit, Johnson was rated as the No. 6 all-purpose back in the country by Rivals. He only visited NU but had offers from numerous Power Five schools, including Minnesota, North Carolina, Pitt and West Virginia.
Michael Lynn, OL, Greenwood Village, Colo. (Cherry Hills HS)
One of two signees from Colorado, Michael Lynn is part of an impressive group of lineman in the Huskers’ 2019 recruiting class. Lynn provided a strong blocking presence at Cherry Hills High School, one of the top programs in the Colorado Class 5A ranks.
As a senior, Lynn helped Cherry Hills and Coach Dave Logan to a 12-2 record and a state runner-up finish. During his junior season, Lynn helped Cherry Creek post a 9-3 record and reach the state playoffs. Lynn’s blocking keyed an explosive offense that averaged 233.7 rushing yards per game. Lynn earned second-team All-Colorado honors as an offensive tackle for his work in 2017. Lynn was also a member of Cherry Creek’s varsity squad as a sophomore when the school posted a 9-4 record and reached the state semifinals. Lynn is ranked among the top five players in Colorado and among the top 75 offensive tackle prospects in the nation by both Rivals and 247 Sports.
Lynn only visited Nebraska, but had a number of offers including Arizona, Arizona State, Oklahoma State, Penn State, Utah and Washington State.
Luke McCaffrey, QB, Highlands Ranch, Colo. (Valor Christian HS)
One of the nation’s top dual-threat quarterback prospects, Luke McCaffrey will join the Nebraska program after leading his team to a Colorado state championship in 2018. McCaffrey has been an offensive standout at Valor Christian (Colo.) High School the past three seasons and produced big numbers through the air and on the ground as a senior.
McCaffrey was coached by his father, Ed, and guided Valor Christian to a perfect 14-0 record and a Class 5A state championship in 2018. McCaffrey threw for 2,202 yards as a senior, with 21 touchdowns and only four interceptions. On the ground he ran for 526 yards and eight touchdowns and averaged nearly 6.5 yards per carry. In the state title victory over Cherry Creek, McCaffrey passed for 169 yards, while picking up 72 yards on the ground.
As a junior, McCaffrey was a versatile offensive performer, while splitting time at quarterback with Colorado signee Blake Stenstrom. McCaffrey helped Valor Christian to an 11-1 record by rushing for 548 yards and passing for 878 yards with a 78 percent completion rate. He also had 147 receiving yards. McCaffrey was a First-Team All-Colorado choice as a quarterback by the coaches association, and was a first-team all-state pick by the Denver Post as an Athlete.
McCaffrey saw limited time as a quarterback as a sophomore in 2016, but provided Valor Christian with an explosive running and receiving option. He ran 23 times for 245 yards and two touchdowns, while catching 47 passes for 717 yards and nine touchdowns. As a defensive back, he made 42 tackles and had two interceptions, helping the team to an 11-3 record and a state title.
McCaffrey was ranked as the nation’s No. 142 overall prospect by ESPN, which listed him as the top prospect in Colorado and the No. 5 dual-threat quarterback in the country. He was also the top player in Colorado, the No. 11 athlete prospect in the nation and among the top 300 players in the nation in the 247 Sports Composite rankings. McCaffrey had offers from numerous schools including Colorado, Michigan, Ohio State, Washington and UCLA to name a few.
His father, Ed, played 13 seasons in the National Football League, and was part of three Super Bowl champion teams. His older brothers, Max (Duke/San Francisco 49ers) and Christian (Stanford/Carolina Panthers), have both played professionally, and older brother, Dylan, is a member of the Michigan football team.
Jamie Nance, WR, Blanchard, Okla. (Blanchard HS)
Four-star wide receiver Jamie Nance had a standout career at Blanchard High School in Oklahoma. A speedy and athletic receiver, Nance had 107 catches for 1,884 yards and 21 touchdowns in his prep career.
In his senior season, Nance caught 36 passes for 523 yards and nine touchdowns. He also rushed for 234 yards on 30 carries and totaled nearly 500 combined punt and kickoff return yards. Nance also intercepted three passes as a defensive back, finishing his career with 10 interceptions. As a junior in 2017, Nance totaled 35 receptions for 673 yards and six touchdowns, including a 92-yard touchdown. He also rushed for 174 yards and had more than 300 yards on kickoff and punt returns. Nance added five interceptions on defense, including a game-clinching pick-six that ended Wagoner’s 48-game winning streak, the longest 11-man win streak in Oklahoma high school history. Nance had 36 catches for 668 yards and six touchdowns as a sophomore.
A gifted athlete, Nance is also a standout in track and field. He won the 2018 Oklahoma Class 4A long jump title in his first season competing in the event, while also finishing second in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes. As a sophomore, Nance finished fifth in the 200 meters and sixth in the 100 meters.
Nance was regarded as one of the top 40 wide receivers in the country by Rivals and one of the top 40 athletes in the 247 Sports Composite rankings. He chose Nebraska after also visiting TCU, and Nance had offers from Iowa State, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Missouri, Notre Dame and others.
Garrett Nelson, LB, Scottsbluff, Neb. (Scottsbluff HS)
Garrett Nelson is one of five in-state scholarship signees in the Huskers’ 2019 class. Nelson joins the program after being a dominant defensive force at Scottsbluff High School for each of the past three seasons. Nelson received national recognition for his performance, being named a semifinalist for the 2018 high school Butkus Award.
Over the past three seasons, Nelson has totaled 150 tackles, 26 tackles for loss and 18 sacks, while also playing offense for Coach Joe Benson’s Bearcats. In 2018, Nelson led Scottsbluff to a 12-1 record and a runner-up finish in the Class B state playoffs. Nelson finished his senior year with 39 tackles, including seven tackles for loss and four sacks for 34 yards. Nelson was named an Omaha World-Herald All-Nebraska selection and was a member of the Lincoln Journal Star Super-State team as a defensive lineman. He was also an honorary captain of the Lincoln Journal Star’s Class B all-state team.
During his junior season, Nelson helped Scottsbluff to a 9-2 record. He recorded 44 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, nine sacks and recovered a fumble. He added 133 rushing yards and caught four passes. His play earned him All-Nebraska and Super State honors from the World-Herald and Journal Star, respectively. Nelson made his first impact on the varsity squad as a sophomore, racking up 67 tackles, eight tackles for loss and five sacks to help his team to a 9-2 record.
Nelson was the first commitment to Nebraska’s 2019 class, pledging to the Cornhuskers in the summer of 2017. He was ranked as the No. 2 player in Nebraska by Rivals and among the top 40 defensive ends in the country, while 247 Sports also listed him among the nation’s top 50 defensive ends.
Garrett Nelson’s father, Chris, was an All-American wrestler for Nebraska in the early 1990s. The younger Nelson captured the Class B heavyweight wrestling title as a junior, and was a state qualifier at 220 pounds in 2017.
Mosai Newsom, DL, Waverly, Iowa (Waverly-Shell Rock HS)
Defensive end prospect Mosai Newsom joins the Nebraska program after helping Waverly-Shell Rock High School to three consecutive state playoff appearances. Newsom is just the second Nebraska scholarship signee from the state of Iowa since 2008.
In his senior season, Newsome had 18 tackles, including 10 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks to help his team to an 8-2 record and a state playoff appearance. On offense, Newsom had five receptions for 86 yards and a touchdown. Newsom also starred on both sides of the ball for Coach Mark Hubbard in 2017, helping Waverly-Shell Rock to an 8-2 record. Newsom played offensive line to help power an explosive offense, while making 38.5 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and three sacks on defense. Newsom first saw varsity action as a sophomore, helping his team to a state playoff appearance.
Newsom also helped the Waverly-Shell Rock basketball team to the state tournament each of the past two seasons, and earned honorable-mention all-conference recognition as a junior. In track, he has qualified for the state meet in the discus the past two years, finishing seventh in 2018. He had a school-record throw of 169-1 to qualify for the Drake Relays.
Newsom was ranked among the top five players in Iowa by both Rivals and 247 Sports. He was also ranked among the top 35 strongside defensive ends by 247 Sports. Newsom had numerous offers, including Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota and Northwestern.
Quinton Newsome, DB, Suwanee, Ga. (North Gwinnett HS)
Quinton Newsome is one of two talented safety prospects from the Atlanta area to sign with the Huskers during the early period. Newsome played in Georgia’s largest class for North Gwinnett High School, the 2017 Class 7A state champions.
In partial statistics from his senior season, when he was a first-team all-region pick, Newsome totaled 39 tackles with six passes defended, one interception and one forced fumble. He had 49 tackles, one tackle for loss, 10 passes defended and one interception as a junior for the state champion Bulldogs. Newsome registered 12 tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery as a sophomore.
Newsome was ranked among the top 50 players in Georgia and the top 40 safety prospects nationally by Rivals. He only visited Nebraska but had offers from nearly two dozen schools, including Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Penn State and Stanford.
Ethan Piper, ATH, Norfolk, Neb. (Norfolk Catholic HS)
Ethan Piper is part of Nebraska’s largest class of in-state signees since 2008. The two-way standout lineman joins the Huskers after being a dominant presence for Norfolk Catholic and Coach Jeff Bellar for the past three seasons.
As a senior, Piper’s blocking paved the way for a powerful Norfolk Catholic offense and record-setting rushing attack. Defensively, he recorded 120 tackles, including 14 sacks. His play helped the Knights to an 11-2 record and a runner-up finish in the Class C-2 playoffs. Piper earned All-Nebraska honors as a defensive lineman from the Omaha World-Herald and was a Lincoln Journal Star Super State pick as an offensive lineman. He was also an honorary captain of the Class C-2 all-state team by both publications.
Piper’s excellent play in 2017 helped Norfolk Catholic to a perfect 13-0 record and a Class C-1 state title, when Piper was honored as an All-Nebraska and Super State offensive lineman. As a sophomore, Piper helped the Knights to the state playoffs and earned first-team Class C-1 all-state honors as an offensive lineman from the Omaha World-Herald.
Piper has also excelled on the hardwood and track. He captured the Class C state shot put title in 2018 with a throw of 57-8 3/4, while finishing second in the state in the discus. He is a four-year member of the varsity basketball team and a two-time honorable-mention all-state choice. Piper averaged 13.5 points and 7.6 rebounds per game as a junior.
Piper was regarded among the top five players in Nebraska by both Rivals and 247 Sports, which also ranked him among the top 80 defensive line prospects in the nation. Piper chose Nebraska over offers from Iowa and Ohio.
Ty Robinson, DL, Gilbert, Ariz. (Higley HS)
Ty Robinson comes to Lincoln after earning high school All-America honors at Higley High School in Arizona, where he is one of four finalists for the All-American Bowl National Defensive Player of the Year.
As a senior, Robinson slid inside to play defensive tackle for the first time in his career. He registered 74 tackles, including 34 tackles for loss and seven sacks in 2018 while helping Higley to a 9-4 record and an appearance in the Arizona 5A semifinals. Robinson previously played defensive end, totaling 56 tackles, 30 TFLs, 13 sacks, five forced fumbles and three quarterback hurries as a junior for an 11-2 Higley team that advanced to the 4A state semifinals. Robinson earned first-team All-Arizona accolades in the big schools classification as a junior. As a sophomore, Robinson had 16 tackles, five tackles for loss and three sacks for an 11-2 Higley squad that made the 4A state semifinals.
A consensus four-star recruit, Robinson was ranked among the top 150 players in the country by Rivals and among the top 180 players nationally in the 247 Sports Composite rankings. He had offers from many of the top programs and chose Nebraska after also visiting Alabama, Oregon and USC.
Wandale Robinson, ATH, Frankfort, Ky. (Western Hills HS)
Wandale Robinson was the top player in Kentucky as a senior at Western Hills High School in Frankfort, winning the Paul Hornung Award in addition to being named Kentucky’s Mr. Football and the Gatorade Kentucky Player of the Year. Robinson, who looks to become Nebraska’s first-ever letterwinner from Kentucky, is one of five finalists for the 2019 All-American Bowl Player-of-the-Year award, which is presented annually to the nation’s most outstanding high school senior.
In his illustrious career, Robinson totaled 8,582 yards from scrimmage with 118 offensive touchdowns. On the ground, he gained 6,795 yards, averaging more than 11 yards per carry while scoring 97 rushing touchdowns. He was also a threat in the receiving game, catching 102 passes in his career for 1,787 yards and 21 touchdowns. Robinson totaled 781 career points which ranks No. 2 all-time in Kentucky history.
As a senior, Robinson rushed for 1,973 yards and 30 touchdowns while catching 31 passes for 725 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also returned a pair of punts, one interception and one fumble for a touchdown, accounting for 45 touchdowns in 11 games while adding two touchdown passes. Defensively, Robinson had 113 tackles, including 12 TFLs and one sack. He also had three interceptions, broke up five passes, forced six fumbles and had one fumble recovery. Robinson also returned five kickoffs for 111 yards and six punts for 170 yards and two touchdowns.
Robinson rushed for 2,330 yards and 33 touchdowns as a junior in 2017, when he also caught 25 passes for 343 yards and six scores. He also rushed for 2,000 yards as a sophomore, gaining 2,014 yards with 28 scores and adding 22 receptions for 434 yards and three touchdowns. Robinson also contributed as a freshman, rushing for 478 yards and six touchdowns while catching 24 passes for 285 yards and one score.
A four-star recruit, Robinson is regarded as the nation’s No. 2 all-purpose back in the 247 Sports Composite rankings. He was ranked as the nation’s No. 98 player by Rivals and No. 117 by 247 Sports, which also regarded Robinson as the top player in Kentucky. Robinson, who was selected to play in the 2019 Army All-America Bowl, chose Nebraska over Kentucky, and he also visited Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State and Purdue.
Garrett Snodgrass, LB, York, Neb. (York HS)
Garrett Snodgrass joins four other in-state prospects in the 2019 signing class, giving Nebraska its largest group of homegrown signees since 2008. Snodgrass starred as a versatile performer at York High School, making the Dukes one of the state’s top Class B programs over the past several seasons. Snodgrass played for this father, Glen, at York and lined up at as many as seven positions. His outstanding defensive play earned Snodgrass selection as a semifinalist for the high school version of the Butkus Award as a senior.
As a senior in 2018, Snodgrass helped the Dukes to a 9-3 record and an appearance in the Class B state semifinals. On offense, Snodgrass completed 98-of-167 passes for 1,780 yards and 17 touchdowns, against just five interceptions, while rushing for 1,008 yards and 23 touchdowns. Defensively, he had 47 tackles, five tackles for loss and a sack. Snodgrass was a first-team All-Nebraska pick as a linebacker by the Omaha World-Herald and a member of the Lincoln Journal Star’s Super State team.
Snodgrass keyed York’s run to the Class B state championship and a 12-1 record in 2017. On offense, Snodgrass rushed for 1,542 yards, threw for 692 yards and had 426 receiving yards. He paced the York defense with 86 tackles from his linebacker position. Snodgrass was the honorary captain of the World-Herald’s Class B offensive all-state team and a member of the paper’s All-Nebraska offense. The Lincoln Journal Star named him to its Super State team as an all-purpose player. Snodgrass earned honorable-mention all-state honors as a sophomore, while helping York to a 7-3 record and a state playoff appearance.
A multi-sport talent, Snodgrass was an honorable-mention all-state basketball player as a sophomore and junior and was a state qualifier in the discus in 2018.
Snodgrass committed to Nebraska in November of 2017, and only visited the Huskers, but did have offers from Iowa State and Kansas State. He was ranked among the top four players in the state by both Rivals and 247 Sports and was listed among the top 55 ‘athlete’ prospects in the nation by both outlets.
Ronald Thompkins, RB, Loganville, Ga. (Grayson HS)
Ronald Thompkins joins the Huskers from Grayson High School, the same school as Husker linebackers Mohamed Barry and Breon Dixon. Thompkins is regarded as one of the nation’s top running backs.
Thompkins had five carries for 51 yards in the first half of Grayson’s 2018 season opener before he suffered a season-ending injury. Injuries also slowed Thompkins’ junior season, when he averaged 6.6 yards per carry while running for 414 yards and four touchdowns despite only playing in six games. Thompkins also caught nine passes for 201 yards as a junior.
Prior to the 2018 season, Grayson recruiting coordinator Kenyatta Watson Sr. called Thompkins the best player on the Grayson team, effusive praise considering the Rams boast two of the top 15 players in the 2019 class, according to the 247 Sports Composite rankings.
Thompkins was regarded as a four-star prospect by 247 Sports and the No. 5 all-purpose back in the country. He had offers from numerous schools including Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Oregon, Penn State and USC, and he also visited LSU, Minnesota and Tennessee.
Javin Wright, DB, Chandler, Ariz. (Hamilton HS)
Defensive back prospect Javin Wright is a versatile performer who has the ability to play multiple positions for the Nebraska defense. Wright is a second-generation Cornhusker, following his father, Toby, who played safety at Nebraska in the early 1990s.
Javin Wright starred for Coach Mike Zdebski at Hamilton High School in Arizona. As a senior, Wright made 18 tackles, had an interception and a pair of pass breakups before his season was cut short by injury. During his junior season, Wright helped Hamilton to an 8-4 record and a trip to the 6A playoffs. Wright made 41 tackles from his defensive back spot, while adding an interception, seven pass breakups and two tackles for loss. Wright first made an impact on defense as a sophomore, when he had 52 tackles, 12 breakups and an interception, helping his team to a 7-4 record.
Wright was ranked among the top 15 prospects in the state of Arizona and among the top 70 cornerbacks in the nation in the 247 Sports Composite rankings. Wright also visited UCLA before choosing Nebraska, and had offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, Syracuse and Washington among others.
WALK-ON CLASS BIOS
Matt Huser, DL, Omaha, Neb. (Millard West HS)
Matt Huser was a strong presence on the defensive line for Millard West in 2017 and 2018, helping the Wildcats rank among the top teams in the Class A ranks. As a senior, Huser was an honorable-mention all-state choice by the Omaha World-Herald and the Lincoln Journal Star, as he helped the Wildcats to a 9-3 record and a trip to the state semifinals. Huser was also a key player in 2017, helping Millard West to a 9-2 record and a state quarterfinal appearance.
Dylan Jorgensen, PK, Lincoln, Neb. (Southwest HS)
Dylan Jorgensen provided Lincoln Southwest High School with a dependable kicking threat each of the past two seasons. Jorgensen earned first-team Super-State honors from the Lincoln Journal Star and second-team All-Nebraska accolades from the Omaha World-Herald as a senior, when he connected on 7-of-11 field goals and all 29 of his PAT attempts to help the Silverhawks to the state playoffs. Jorgensen also averaged better than 36 yards per punt and booted 36 of his 48 kickoffs for touchbacks. As a junior, Jorgensen made 7-of-10 field goals with a long field goal of 44 yards. He also made all 36 extra-point tries, averaged better than 36 yards per punt and had 19 touchbacks.
Nick Leader, LB, Lincoln, Neb. (Southwest HS)
One of the top defensive players in Lincoln as a senior, Nick Leader joins the Huskers as a walk-on after a standout career at Lincoln Southwest. Leader helped Coach Andrew Sherman’s team to a 7-3 record in 2018, posting 76 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, nine sacks for 59 yards and three fumble recoveries. His play earned Leader honorable-mention all-state honors from the Lincoln Journal Star and the Omaha World-Herald. He also earned all-city accolades from the Journal Star. As a junior, Leader had 43 tackles, three sacks, an interception and two tackles for loss, while adding six receptions. He had 19 tackles and two sacks as a sophomore defender for the Silverhawks. Leader is the son of David Leader, a two-year letterwinner at linebacker for Nebraska in 1991 and 1992.
Riley Moses, C, Fairmont, Neb. (Fillmore Central HS)
A dominant two-way lineman, Riley Moses joins the Husker program after a strong career at Fillmore Central High School. Moses earned first-team Class C-1 all-state honors as an offensive lineman by both the Lincoln Journal Star and Omaha World-Herald. As a senior, Moses had 67 pancake blocks as an offensive lineman, while adding 67 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, three sacks and two blocked field goals for Coach Mitchell Lockhart’s team. As a junior, he earned honorable-mention all-state recognition. He had 71 pancake blocks, with 60 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, three sacks and two blocked field goals. A four-year varsity performer, Moses had 39 tackles and six tackles for loss as a sophomore and made 50 tackles and added four tackles for loss as a freshman.
Luke Reimer, ATH, Lincoln, Neb. (North Star HS)
Luke Reimer was a talented two-way performer at Lincoln North Star. As a senior, Reimer earned Lincoln Journal Star Super-State honors for his work at linebacker, as he posted 74 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and a sack. The captain of the Journal Star’s all-city team, Reimer also added 328 rushing yards and nearly 500 all-purpose yards. Reimer earned honorable-mention all-state honors for the Navigators as a junior, as he had 397 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on the ground, while posting 838 all-purpose yards. He added 40 tackles, six tackles for loss and an interception. Reimer had scholarship offers from Buffalo, South Dakota State, South Dakota, Northern Iowa and North Dakota.
Eli Richter, OL, Kearney, Neb. (Kearney Catholic HS)
Eli Richter was a powerful force on the offensive line for Kearney Catholic High School each of the past three seasons. As a senior, Richter paved the way for Coach Rashawn Harvey’s offense from his tackle spot, while also adding 81 tackles, including 48 solo stops, along with nine sacks, six hurries and three fumbles caused. Richter earned first-team Class C-1 all-state honors from the Lincoln Journal Star for the second straight year and earned honorable-mention all-state from the Omaha World-Herald for the third straight season. As a junior, Richter helped his team to a 7-3 record and a state playoff appearance. In addition to his strong play on the offensive line, Richter had 79 tackles and 3.5 sacks on defense.
Sam Shurtleff, DE, Watkinsville, Ga. (Oconee County HS)
Sam Shurtleff joins Nebraska from Oconee County High School in Georgia. Shurtleff helped the Warriors to a 6-5 record and a state playoff appearance in 20218, making 30 tackles, including five tackles for loss and three sacks during his. Shurtleff was also a strong defensive presence as a junior, recording 18 tackles and three sacks for nine yards in losses.
Noah Stafursky, OL, York, Neb. (York HS)
Noah Stafursky joins the Nebraska program as a walk-on after earning recognition as one of the state’s top offensive linemen in 2018. Stafursky helped York High School to a 9-3 record in 2018, and his blocking helped fellow Husker signee Garrett Snodgrass pass for more than 1,700 yards, while rushing for better than 1,000 yards. Stafursky earned first-team Super-State honors from the Lincoln Journal Star and Omaha World-Herald All-Nebraska accolades for his performance. In 2017, Stafursky was a first-team Class B all-state choice by the Lincoln Journal Star. His blocking helped Coach Glenn Snodgrass’ team to a 12-1 record and the Class B state championship.
Head Coach Scott Frost
On how he would characterize this year’s class
“I feel great about the guys we signed. You’ll probably get tired of hearing me say this but I not only feel great about the type of player we brought in but I feel great about the kid we’re bringing in in this class. I had the privilege of going around and stopping at all these guy’s homes, meeting their families and talking to the kids through December and what kept making an impression on me is the type of character kid that has chosen to become a family at Nebraska. I think this is a pretty special group in a lot of ways but the type of indviduals they are was really impressive to me.”
On the lack of drama with this year’s class
“I think you’re right. It was a pretty drama free signing day for us because the commitments we had were commitments. A bunch of good kids that gave us their pledge, they honored it and we honored it. There’s a couple of kids we were fighting for right down to the end, but other than that this group committed to us, and we’re fired up to sign and become a part of our family. It was a pretty relaxing day for us.”
On how much he looks for a certain mentality when recruiting defensive guys
“When we’re recruiting defense we want athletic ability, but we’re also looking for toughness. In fact, when we go out on the road that’s two of our priorities to look for is upside, athletic ability (and) to look for and a guy that you would want to be in a scrap with. That kind of edge, that kind of mentality, that kind of toughness and aggressiveness. That’s what Husker defense has been built on, as I knew it, and the more guys we can get like that I think the better mentality the whole defense will be.”
On Wandale Robinson
“I sure am glad we have Wandale. I really like him as a young man. That’s not even to speak of the things he can do on the football field which I can’t wait to get my hands on that and start working with him. I got to give some credit to Troy Walters and Ryan Held with Wandale because when he committed somewhere else I gave up. I wasn’t going to spend any more time on it, and those guys kind of kept with it. We knew all along that this is where his heart was, and I think there’s a lot of pressure in recruiting that goes on, particularly if the kid is going to leave a school that is closer to home and I sure am glad Wandale followed his heart and came here. We’re going to get started with him real quick, he’s enrolling early and he’ll be here for spring ball and we’ve got a new toy for our offense.”
On if he feels he improved the offensive line with this class
“I’ll keep giving guys credit. Coach (Greg) Austin fights for his group in recruiting as much as anybody on our staff. He wants to get his group right. He takes a lot of pride in that. (I) love the group that we brought in and Coach Austin did a great job with it. Bryce Benhart is as big of a kid as I’ve ever recruited. Not only that but he’s a great kid and a really good athlete, an elite wrestler. Matthew Anderson from Louisiana is the frame we’re looking for. I think he’s got a huge upside once we get him in here and get him with Zach (Duval). Jimmy Fritzsche who joined us late is kind of the same type of kid. Love his mentality, he’s going to be huge and he’s a great athlete that plays other positions. Michael Lynn from Colorado, he’s going to be a special kid. Talking to him is like talking to a 29-year-old the way he has life figured out. I look forward to getting all those guys in here. I think they all have a huge upside, with some work I think they could have some really good upside for us.”
On if Greg Austin had to lobby for Jimmy Fritzsche
“If only you were in our meetings. You only have so many spots in recruiting. There’s a lot of needs for us that need to be addressed and make sure we’re getting the right kind of talent into the program at all the different spots. I think Greg (Austin) would sign 31 offensive linemen if he could. I limit him a little bit, made sure we were getting the right kind of kid, a kid that we all agreed, we thought could be the type of player and the type of person that we wanted and it kind of boiled down to the kids that he ended up getting, and I think he did a great job. I think we signed a really good group up front.”
On Barrett Ruud getting in-state recruits
“I knew Barrett (Ruud) was big in Nebraska. I remember being at a basketball game last winter and they introduced all of the assistants, everybody else got a nice round of applause and the whole Pinnacle Bank Arena erupted with the ‘Ruud’ chant when he came out. He’s the right guy to have in Nebraska. I thought it was a good year in Nebraska, talent-wise; if we can sign five scholarship quality players from the state every year that will be a good start for us. There was some special players in the state this year. All five of them, I think Nebraska people know them pretty well but those guys are going to be huge for us. I think they will help be the backbone of the program we’re starting.”
On signing two high profile recruits from Omaha in Nick Henrich and Chris Hickman
“Those guys were key for us. We can’t let in-state talent get away. We have to win in Nebraska and start moving across borders and getting other kids. I think this staff getting in here had a lot to do with Nick (Henrich) and Chris (Hickman) both deciding to come. I think the relationships they developed really helped with those two guys. Those two guys had a great high school career. A lot of the guys, in-state recruits, I think everyone of our guys either played in the state championship game or the semifinals. If you go across our recruiting class, that’s kind of a common thread. These guys are coming from winning programs, they were winners in high school. Nick and Chris certainly were winners in high school are going to be great for us to have on the team.”
On how his staff recruited the state of Georgia so well
“Giving credit where it’s due, Coach (Sean) Beckton did an unbelievable job down there. That’s one of his areas. I think our coaching staff’s credibility in Florida and Georgia is still carrying some weight. Just happened to be more in Georgia this year than it was in Florida. I love the guys we got out of there. I think we went down there and got the right kind of kid with the right kind of talent and those four kids are going to have a chance to be special around here.”
On how Nebraska successfully signed Ty Robinson
“Ty is our kind of kid. I think he’s a Nebraska type of kid. It helps that his grandpa is from O’Neill, Nebraska. I went to kindergarten and first grade in O’Neill, so we had a lot to talk about. Ty had lot of places to go. Coach (Mike) Dawson deserves a ton of credit for that, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen one coach work so hard for one player as Coach Dawson did to get Ty. Not just Ty but Brent Banks out of Houston, Ethan Piper, who I don’t think gets the credit he deserves out of Norfolk. We needed to add to the depth on the defensive line and Coach Dawson did a great job.”
On Ronald Thompkins
“Ronald’s a guy that other people tried to come in on here late. I think if Ronald would have stayed healthy this year, it might have been tough for us to hold onto him with all the people that would have come after him. One thing I take pride in when it comes to recruiting is that we are as honest as we can be. We give good people our word or say something, we mean it. When a kid is committed to us, we’re committed to them. Even if somebody gets hurt, we’re going to see him through it. Bring them here even if they can’t play. I think that means a lot to kids, means a lot to parents. Ronald went down early on in the season. If you watch his highlights from this year before he got hurt, I think he has a chance to be special, and I think he’s doing well in his rehab process, we’ll see how healthy he is when he gets here. I know I expect great things for him.”
On the process of recruiting Luke McCaffrey
“Mario (Verduzco) takes pride in recruiting quarterbacks just like he takes pride in coaching quarterbacks. Since I’ve been with Mario we’ve had one of the best quarterbacks in the country every year I’ve been with him. The way he goes about it is very meticulous. I think we had a group of three or four kids that we thought fit us and were the right type of kids. As we gotta to know Luke, we started leaning in that direction. He called and wanted to commit, and we were excited about it. Love his athletic ability, love his mentality and he throws it really well too. I think that improved this year, and he’s going to have a chance to get in here early as an early enrollee and get involved with spring ball so we can’t wait to have him.”
On how important size was for this class
“I said this after the Iowa game that there were a few games this year when looking across the 50 at other teams warming up, I thought teams were bigger than us. That’s not supposed to happen at Nebraska. The Nebraska I know is bigger, stronger and more physical than other teams. We certainly have some of those guys right now, but we need more of them. We want bigger on the two lines but also in other areas. We weren’t just recruiting size, we wanted good players and good athletes. I think we were able to fill those needs for them most part.”
On if the staff will have a chance to relax after this process
“It never ends, you know that. Hopefully we’re not done today. I don’t know how much more we’ll be able to announce, hopefully there’s a couple more signatures that will be announced eventually. With our roster turnover this year, we can sign up to 30, so I think we’ll have around four spots to look for guys in January and beyond. The work never ends. My coaching staff has done a great job. I hired the right guys when I got a job the first time, and I’m grateful to those guys for the work that they’ve done. We’re tired though. First years are hard. There’s a lot of work, there’s a lot of things that need to get done. This staff has three straight years without a bye week so we haven’t had a lot of time to rest. I think we’re all going to enjoy the Christmas break and come back ready to go back to work.”
On recruiting “winners” and how important that is
“People that know how to win and expect to win, I don’t think it’s any accident that if you have a bunch of winners in your program and kids that come from winning high school programs that that’s going to lead to good things. I have to say thank you to the high school coaches whose kids are coming our way. Like I said going around and seeing the type of seasons these kids have had, I don’t think there is one that didn’t make the playoffs or go deep into the playoffs or win championships, and I hope that’s the expectation when they get here too because that’s where we’re headed.”
On what he looks for when deciding who can be an immediate contributor
“I say this to recruits all the time, we wouldn’t be recruiting them from a physical standpoint if we didn’t think they could come in and play for us. We’re always trying to recruit the best we can and the guys we are recruiting we think have the athletic ability and skill to come in and play. Usually the biggest factor in determining whether somebody plays or not is their level of maturity and if they approach their preparation and approach football like a pro and like an adult so that usually has more to do with whether they get on the field their freshman year than anything else. I tell guys to come in and dive in, go full speed don’t dip your toe in the water. I’d rather see guys tackle the wrong guy full speed than the right guy half speed and the guys that come in and just let it rip usually can see it right away and those guys are typically ready to try to contribute.”
On what he likes about Jamie Nance and Darien Chase
“Yeah those two added with Wandale (Robinson), who’s going to be like a hybrid for us, I think is a really good start to adding to our receiving talent and depth. Jamie had a great year down in Oklahoma. He can really run, I mean he can really go. I’m anxious to see what he can run a 40-yard dash in when he gets here because his 100 time is really good. He did kick returns in high school and played defense, did a lot for his high school team. He’s a great kid, we’re excited to have him. Darien we kind of got in on late. My first conversation was with his father, who was a special forces military guy, and we hit it off right away. Darien’s team won a state championship. I was actually at the high school the day they were having the get together to celebrate. He’s a winner. He’s playing basketball, he’s an athlete, tremendous ball skills, great kid. We needed to add to the talent depth in our receiver room, and I think we’ve had a really good start to it today.”
On what attracting skill players from numerous states says about the reputation of the Husker offense
“Yeah if you’re a football fan and followed our offense, I think you see the type of firepower it has, and I think that lends itself to having recruits want to come play in this offense. We had a great start and covered a lot of ground in year one. Offensively, (we) still want to get better. Speaking to the last job we had, they were second-to-last in the country in offense when we got there and in two years we were the No. 1 scoring offense in the United States. This one’s heading in the same direction particular with Adrian (Martinez) at the controls. I wouldn’t trade him for anyone in the country. You know if I was a skill player on offense, I’d want to come play with a guy like that.”
On if there are any areas of emphasis to recruit before the February signing period
“We’re going to let the dust settle see how many spots we still have. It’s going to be a best available player that we can get to Lincoln. For the most part, I still think there’s some things we’d like to add. I still think we need to improve our depth at outside linebacker and pass rusher so we will keep our eye out for that. If there’s another receiver that we can add, I think our depth there is not really where we want it to be through this first year. I still think we could use a young corner to try to get in here and develop to see if they can help us. So those are kind of areas that we’re looking so it doesn’t really matter skill player on offense, d-line, if we find a kind of player that can help us win games in the Big Ten, we’re going to take them.”
On the type of receiver Frost looks for
“Ideally, I just want five guys on the field that can hurt you if you leave them open, and we certainly use guys in different roles and different ways. We’ve kind of had outside receivers who are straight outside receivers, we’ve had running backs who have played slot, slots who’ve played running back, guys that can do multiple things. We’ve had running back types playing ‘Z’ and ‘X’ (receiver) for us before, so I just want five skill players out on the field at the same time who are dangerous and the way our offense is able to distribute it, once we get that way we’re going to be tough to stop.”
On if he’s open to adding potential graduate transfers
“We’re definitely going to keep our eyes open. There’s a couple positions where I think we could benefit from having a guy that’s ready to come in and play right now, and if we find the right guy - particularly at the right position - we’ll take a hard look at that. So with three, four, five spots, whatever’s going to be left, we certainly aren’t going to be hunting for every one of those but if it’s the right guy, we’re going to be open to it.”
On taking junior college transfers
“Yeah, junior college players, you know the further we get into the development of this program, I think our need for that will go down a little bit every year. We’re still willing to take those guys. At certain positions it probably matters more than others to get in here for spring ball, but if it’s the right kid we’ll bring him after May, too. Again, if we have spots after today it’s going to be the best we can get, guys that fit us the best whether it’s a grad transfer, a junior college kid or a high school kid.”
On how many commits are enrolling in January and if that gives them a head start toward seeing the field this fall
“By last count if I’m not mistaken there’s going to be six early enrollees, we’ll have to see how it all shakes out. I’ve seen it work both ways. Guys not get here until summer or get to school until summer and still contribute greatly their freshman year. It does help to get that spring ball under your belt. I think it gets you a little more familiar with the scheme, it gets you comfortable with the team and maybe most importantly it gets you used to going to college and having to deal with a college lifestyle. I hope we have players that are here early that help us next year. I hope we have players that aren’t coming until next summer that help us next year. I’m excited about this class, and I think this group is going to be mature enough and ready enough to come in and compete.”
On taking the entire staff on in-home visits
“At this time of year a lot of the coaches have been around each other a lot and all our little habits are starting to wear on each other, I’m always careful to bring everybody together. There were a few kids here down the stretch that we wanted them to know how important they were to us, and we kind of intentionally put them off to the end to give us the best chance to be as late into the home as we could. Boy, they were fun. We were at Ty’s (Robinson) house with the entire staff had some cornhole going on, some ping pong, a little bit of basketball, a bonfire and a camel and a dog that can go get waters out of the fridge on command for you. It was a fun night, and it ended up paying off for us.”
On if the camel could fetch water, too
“Calvin the camel, I don’t know…I thought camels carried water around with them, I’d have to check on that.”
On the possibility of quarterback Andrew Bunch transferring
“I don’t want to get into Andrew’s business too much. I really like the kid, and I want what’s best for him. I think after talking to him he just wants to explore his options and see if there’s a place out there where he can get out on the field and play or have a better chance to get on the field and play. If he doesn’t find that then we’ll welcome him back here with open arms. He’s been a great teammate and a great part of our team. I want what’s best for him no matter what he decides.”
On expanding to an eight-team playoff
“I’m a proponent of an eight-team playoff, I have been. I’ll keep this short for you, but it needs to be the five major college conference champions and three at-large. I think that makes the most sense. Then a team like UCF this year or last year would have a chance to go compete for it. Take the case of the Big Ten this year, if Northwestern would’ve beaten Ohio State in the championship game, I think they win the Big Ten they deserve to be in and Ohio State probably deserved to be in too at 11-2 or if they were 12-1 and lost in that championship game. I think that gives you the best chance to solve it on the field and any sport where it’s solved on the field and not in a committee room is a better sport to me. And I’ll continue to push this; I don’t think college football is fair and equitable until every conference plays the same number of conference games. If we get those two things fixed, I think college football will be in a better place.”
On the message to the team as they go home for winter break
“I think they know what they’re in for when they get back, but I think they’re looking forward to it. I just got done with an interview at HuskerVision and I said I can’t remember a season when I just got done with season and I was so quickly excited about getting started next year. I think a lot of people in our building, from our coaches to our players have that feeling. I want the guys to get away and go enjoy Christmas with their families, and when they come back we’ve got to get to work. Our team is going to be in a lot better shape this year than it was last year. We had to start from ground zero from a strength and conditioning standpoint with the guys. With a year under their belt with Zach (Duval), we’re way ahead of where we were a year ago, and I can’t wait to get started with them.”