A 2:30 p.m. kickoff against Northwestern Saturday has afforded Nebraska the opportunity to invite more recruiting targets for official visits. As of Thursday night, five prospects — including kicker commit Drew Brown — appear ready for the trip.
Four targets — linebacker Jaevon Walton, offensive tackle Nick Gates, junior college linebacker Devante Bond and junior college wide receiver Robert Lockhart — have told scouting services they intend to visit NU for the game.
Walton is a 6-foot, 235-pound high two-star/low three-star prospect from New Orleans Edna Karr High School who got an offer after Husker coach Bo Pelini watched one of Walton’s high school games during a Nebraska bye week. The son of former Alabama defensive star John Copeland, Walton spent his junior year in Tuscaloosa, Ala., before moving back to New Orleans for his senior season. He’s committed to Louisiana-Lafayette but open to offers, including interest from home-state LSU.
A 6-foot-4, 270-pound three-star prospect out of desert power Las Vegas Bishop Gorman, Gates attended one of NU’s summer football camps. He projects to play tackle at Nebraska and has the Huskers in the mix with Texas A&M and Oregon. Gates is considered one of Nebraska’s top two offensive tackle targets.
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Lockhart visited Nebraska out of West Boca Raton (Fla.) High School in early 2011 just before Signing Day. He picked Virginia Tech, but never enrolled there, spending instead a year at military school. He then committed to Miami (Fla.), left there after his position coach left, and landed at Hinds (Miss.) Community College. He finished his regular season with 28 catches for 502 yards and five touchdowns. Lockhart said last week in an interview with the World-Herald that Nebraska was his top choice out of high school — his mother wouldn’t let him travel so far away at the time — and is in his top three now with Ole Miss and Colorado.
At 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds, Bond, a three-star prospect out of Sierra (Calif.) College is the biggest linebacker NU has targeted in years. He’s narrowed his list to the Huskers and Oklahoma, where he took a visit in early October.
The Huskers have 13 commits thus far for their 2014 class. They could pick up No. 14 Monday if Ft. Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas running back Madre London — who visited in September — selects NU over Wisconsin, Michigan State and Illinois.
Martinez out; Long doubtful
Quarterback Taylor Martinez is out for Saturday with a medley of injuries — he wore a full gray sweatsuit to practice Thursday. Tight end Jake Long (hamstring) is doubtful and slot receiver Jamal Turner (hamstring, calf) is “50-50,” according to coach Bo Pelini.
Pelini: QBs, LBs ready to go
Quarterback Tommy Armstrong and Ron Kellogg are “ready to go” after a “good” week of practice, Pelini said. Ditto for linebackers Michael Rose and Josh Banderas, who will be handling the Mike linebacker spot together against Northwestern. Buck linebacker Jared Afalava will not play Saturday, Pelini said, and not because of injury.
Ľ Wide receiver Tyler Wullenwaber, who announced his retirement on Twitter, went to Pelini Wednesday night and told him he could no longer play through acute shoulder pain.
“He just doesn’t feel like he can do it anymore,” Pelini said. “It’s too bad. He’s a great kid. I feel bad for him.”
Ľ Nebraska offensive lineman Spencer Long is one of 16 finalists for the William Campbell Trophy, which honors college football’s top scholar-athlete. Other finalists include Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr and Michigan State linebacker Max Bullough.