LINCOLN At the rate Nebraska continues to recruit offensive linemen, you can forget about a shortage at the five positions up front any time soon.
Ryan Klachko of Springfield, Ill., accepted an NU scholarship on Wednesday, the fourth offensive lineman among five pledges in the Huskers' 2011 class of recruits.
Projected to play on the interior, Klachko, a 6-foot-4, 280-pound junior at football power Sacred Heart-Griffin High School, picked NU over Michigan State and Purdue. His list of offers also included Illinois, Missouri, Minnesota and Arizona.
“Nebraska was the one that stood out,” Klachko said. “The academic program made a great impression on me. I was set with the school. And on top of that, football is unmatched. I'm so happy I made this decision.”
Klachko plans to sign a binding letter of intent next February. He joins O-linemen Ryne Reeves of Crete, Neb.; Tyler Moore of Clearwater, Fla.; and Dylan Admire of Overland Park, Kan., as future Huskers.
“I've Googled them a bunch,” Klachko said of the others. “I knew the slots were getting a little tighter, and I didn't want to miss out. I wanted to be part of something great.”
Nebraska also has received an oral commitment from quarterback Jamal Turner of Arlington, Texas.
Klachko visited Lincoln this week while on spring break. He attended practice Monday and watched offensive line coach Barney Cotton work with his players on the field and in the meeting room. The Huskers' latest roster lists 25 offensive linemen on the 2010 team, including 16 on scholarship.
“I was blown away with everybody at Nebraska,” Klachko said. “People go a long way in my book.”
He said he'll fit the NU offense well.
“I'm somebody that likes to pull, and their guards pull a ton,” Klachko said. “When I pull and I get going, I can hit.”
Randle could provide depth at DL
Size disadvantages are pretty common for a 6-foot-1 defensive tackle, but Thad Randle apparently isn't letting height limit his progress.
The redshirt freshman from Galena Park, Texas, has emerged as a legitimate candidate to join Nebraska's defensive tackle rotation. It's because Randle, at 6-1, 280, is too quick and too fearless to contain, junior Jared Crick said.
“His feet are just constantly going,” Crick said. “You see that in his pass rush and his run stance. He's got that explosiveness.”
Crick is listed at 6-6. So is redshirt freshman Baker Steinkuhler. Junior Terrence Moore is 6-3. Those three will likely play often on the Husker defensive line.
Despite his smaller stature, Randle has inserted himself into that conversation. Now, Crick said, Randle just needs to study the scheme.
“But he'll get there, through the summer,” Crick said. “Come fall camp, I'm looking for Thad to do big things.”
Coaches discuss redshirt for Kunalic
NU assistant coach John Papuchis said the staff will have to “make the best decision for our football team this year and going forward” regarding kicker Adi Kunalic and a possible redshirt season.
Sitting out a year would allow the senior-to-be to possibly handle place-kicking chores in 2011. Kunalic has not gotten that chance the past three seasons behind Alex Henery.
But Kunalic has been a valuable contributor on kickoffs for NU.
“Right now, it could go either way,” Papuchis said. “A lot of it depends on our kickoff situation and how good we feel about it going into the year, and it also depends on how we feel about our place-kicking situation going into 2011.”
Papuchis said Kunalic, Henery and walk-ons Brett Maher and Tyler Daake all got chances Wednesday as the Huskers worked on kickoffs.
“If they need me, I would make sure I was ready,'' Henery said.
Mitch Sherman, Rich Kaipust and Jon Nyatawa