Carroll Kuemper outside linebacker Blaise Gunnerson

Blaise Gunnerson took several visits to Nebraska over the last year, including a trip to Lincoln for the spring game in April.

Nebraska received a commitment from Blaise Gunnerson of Carroll Kuemper in Iowa. Three takes on the decision of the 6-foot-5, 250-pound outside linebacker:

1. Good 500-mile radius win. NU prioritized Gunnerson — who missed last season with an injury — in ways many programs did not, seeing a big frame that was going to develop into a potentially dominant edge rusher. Iowa State saw it, too — and was the other finalist for Gunnerson — but the Huskers plucked him away from the Cyclones, who are no longer a doormat program in the Big 12. It’s Nebraska’s second year in a row of grabbing a prospect from Iowa — last year, it was Mosai Newsom from Waverly-Shell Rock — which traces back to defensive coordinator Erik Chinander’s commitment to recruit the region. An Iowa native and Hawkeye alumnus, Chinander knows the value of small-town Midwestern kids. Newsom and Gunnerson fit that bill.

2. Major upside as a pass rusher. Gunnerson’s sophomore film offers a glimpse of his speed and athleticism; now, he’s had a year to build his upper body. It may take another year before the colt legs and the upper body bulk work in complete unison, but Nebraska sees what can happen in two or three years. Gunnerson will learn to keep his feet better when he tackles — it’s harder to rope the tree-trunk legs of college running backs while lying on the ground — and Nebraska’s thrilled to have the clay to mold.

3. Part of a big June and July. Nebraska’s going to have more recruiting success this summer, having set up this run with a strong spring of scouting. Gunnerson probably won’t be the only linebacker the Huskers land, either.

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Reporter - Nebraska athletics

Sam covers Nebraska football, recruiting, women's basketball and more for The World-Herald. Follow him on Twitter @swmckewonOWH. Email: SMcKewon@owh.com

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