After already holding two strong weekends when it comes to official visitors, Nebraska’s matchup with Illinois on Saturday will feature some of the best high school talent in the country watching the Huskers from the stands.
Nebraska currently sits at 15 commitments, sporting the nation’s No. 21 overall class. Earlier in the week, head coach Mike Riley said the Huskers are shooting for 22 in the class, but that number is expected to grow if attrition at the end of the year happens.
“We feel really, really good about the buzz that’s out there with the guys,” said Riley. “We’ve got a ways to go with some of them that are going to make later decisions, but we’re going to stay with that and compete like crazy for that. But I think in general it’s real good right now.”
The weekend will be highlighted by the nation’s No.1 wide receiver, Los Angeles Augustus Hawkins (Cali.) five-star prospect Joseph Lewis. The 2017 prospect has already visited Nebraska twice before, but will experience the full red carpet this weekend. Recently named an Army All-American, Lewis is trending towards the Huskers at the moment according to multiple Scout.com national recruiting analysts. But, other official visits loom after his trip to Lincoln. Nebraska will need to set the bar high.
Since joining the Big Ten, the total number of Top 100 prospects to officially visit has been small. Fresno Central High East Campus (Cali.) defensive back Jaylon Johnson is one of the higher rated prospects they have had on campus in the last six years, but won’t likely receive the headlines he deserves because of the shadow of Lewis. Johnson to has pick of schools across the country, but visits Nebraska with three more scheduled visits down the road. Most analysts point to USC as the favorite, but the Nebraska atmosphere has been known to change things in a hurry.
An Iowa commitment, Calloway is a high school teammate of four-star defensive tackle Damion Daniels, who already officially visited Nebraska and has the Huskers out front. A package-duo of the four-star pair would be something the Nebraska coaching staff would welcome with open arms. Calloway still needs to take an official visit to Iowa. A trip to Lincoln could be about the entertainment factor, but we think it is more. Three weeks ago we saw Calloway in person. He seems to always be around the football.
Another return visitor, Johnson visited during the Red-White game and shortly after decommitted from UCLA. The Bruins appear to be back in the drivers’ seat, but Nebraska, Notre Dame, Florida and Texas A&M are still pushing for his services. With three linebackers already committed, does Nebraska have room for another? His frame suggests he could grow into a defensive end down the road, which might be enough for them to take him.
A former Washington State commitment, Hodgins isn’t a household name with Nebraska fans, but the four-star receiver has been on coach Keith Williams’ radar for a while. With plans to be an early enrollee, Hodgins won’t be dragging out his decision. At the moment, Oregon State and Oregon will both receive a visit as well. In his season opener, the senior had 16 catches for 250 yards and three touchdowns, showing he isn’t affected by the extra attention of being labeled a D-1 receiver by defensive coordinators.
Beyond a star-powered uncommitted visitor list, Nebraska will host three commitments over the weekend for their official visit.
In addition, Nebraska “California recruiting coordinator” Keyshawn Johnson Jr. will be in Lincoln for the second time this season.
The four-star wide receiver has pull with California recruits because of his name/background and will be a welcomed addition to help with Lewis, Hodgins and both Johnsons on campus.
Johnson won’t be alone. Fellow Calabasas (Cali.) 2018 teammate Bookie Radley-Hiles tweeted the following earlier this week.
The four-star prospect recently named Florida his new leader, but has visited Lincoln multiple times and has a strong relationship with head coach Mike Riley. A return visit after Nebraska lost some gound as the leader is an encouraging sign.
The weather is bound to turn at some point. Nebraska has done a great job utilizing their weekends early in the season for official visits – something we didn’t always feel the previous staff did well.
Looking at the list of players visiting, don’t expect a commitment from any uncommitted prospect in the coming days after their visit. With that being said, we think on National Signing Day we will look back at Illinois weekend and view it as a positive weekend for the Huskers when it comes to recruiting.