NATE CLOUSE

Nate Clouse is a recruiting analyst for HuskerOnline. He appears Mondays on "The Bottom Line."


BEST OVERALL PROSPECT

Defensive back Lamar Jackson. He is an elite athlete who has the potential to make an impact right away. He has the finesse of a corner and plays with the physicality of a linebacker. He also has tremendous ball skills.

BEST OFFENSIVE PROSPECT

Quarterback Patrick O'Brien. He is the total package in terms of what Mike Riley and Danny Langsdorf want in a quarterback to operate their system. He is effective in the shotgun or under center, possesses the arm strength to push the ball downfield and is a very accurate passer.

BEST DEFENSIVE PROSPECT

Jackson. Riley talks a lot about production and versatility, both words that describe Jackson well.

STRONGEST POSITION GROUP

Defensive back. This is one of the strongest defensive back classes that Nebraska has signed in a long time, which is saying something because last year's class appeared to be a strength as well.

HIDDEN GEM, OFFENSE

Athlete JD Spielman. Despite being Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Minnesota and putting up video game-type statistics on the best team in the state, Spielman didn't have a ton of recruiting attention. His size most likely had something to do with that.

HIDDEN GEM, DEFENSE

Defensive end Ben Stille. The Ashland-Greenwood product comes to Lincoln with a load of accolades, but it's his upside that makes him one of the diamonds in the rough for this class.

BIG TEN RECRUITING WIN

Offensive tackle Matt Farniok. Landing the South Dakota star was big for the Huskers on several levels, but perhaps the best part of it for NU is that it beat out Michigan State and Big Ten West foe Iowa. Losing a player like Farniok — at a position of need, who had countless hours of time invested in him — to the Hawkeyes would have been a crushing blow for Riley.

BIG TEN RECRUITING LOSS

Tight end Noah Fant. He makes the most sense since the Omaha South product signed with the Hawkeyes after having verbally committed to them last August. Riley and his staff offered Fant early on, and the head coach even personally recruited him.

NEEDS NOT FULLY ADDRESSED

Offensive tackle and defensive end. Taking at least two and as many as three offensive tackles in this class is something Nebraska had wanted to do, but fell short by only landing one true tackle in Farniok. There are serious depth concerns at this position going forward. Defensive end is another area where needs were not fully addressed.

KEY NEEDS FORNEXT YEAR

Nebraska's 2017 class will be graded by how well it recruits along the line of scrimmage. Offensive tackle, defensive tackle and defensive end are all extreme needs in this class and areas we could see Riley and his staff go the junior college route.

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