LINCOLN — Nebraska signed the bulk of its class Wednesday with 23 players, then added graduate transfer Darrion Daniels Friday. While there are several highly rated prospects in the class — including Bryce Benhart, Wandale Robinson and Nick Henrich — don’t forget about those under-the-radar prospects. The sleepers.
Every class has them. Ameer Abdullah in 2011. Cethan Carter and Nathan Gerry in 2013. Chris Jones in 2014. Devine Ozigbo in 2015. Dicaprio Bootle in 2016.
Who might join them? Here’s six signees to watch:
Matthew Anderson, OT
Nebraska’s strategy of recruiting offensive linemen seems clear: Get size, length and athleticism and worry about their weight after strength and conditioning coach Zach Duval gets hold of them. Anderson, from Leesville, Louisiana, fits the bill. An aggressive, nimble guy, Anderson is also a legitimate 6-foot-6. It may take a year or two, but Anderson should fit nicely in the Big Ten.
Javin Wright, CB The son of former Husker Toby Wright has elite size — 6-foot-3, 195 pounds — along with good speed, a Husker pedigree and an impressive scholarship offer list of top Pac-12 schools. “Buddha,” as everyone calls him, will have a chance to play early at NU. He’s a mid-level three-star prospect from a top high school program in Chandler, Arizona.
Garrett Nelson, OLB Motor. Nelson has one. Enthusiasm. Nelson has that, too. But what really stands out about the Scottsbluff star is his size. He’s all of 6-3, 235 pounds. He’s rangy and strong, too. A skilled wrestler, Nelson moves well at the line of scrimmage. Look for a special teams contribution early.
Jackson Hannah, LB
One hesitates to call Hannah — one of the three best overall prospects in the class — a sleeper, but his relatively quiet recruiting process can lead fans to overlook what he offers. Hannah is very good against the run. Unusually good for a high school linebacker. His film suggests he understands run fits at a high level and knows how to both squeeze a hole and keep an arm free for the tackle if a back bounces the run. When he plays inside linebacker, Hannah is good at playing downhill against zone blocking and knifing into the backfield. He is not quite the speedster Nick Henrich is, but he’s bigger and textbook at the position.
Jamie Nance, WR He doesn’t have the flashiest statistics. Ignore that and look at the yards per catch: 17.4 over the past three seasons. Nance is a home run hitter, a super-fast, take-the-top-off, go-route runner who can stretch opposing defenses. He can attract double coverage with his straight-line speed alone. And, if he gets loose on a quick hitch, look out. Nance can run 100 meters in 10.7 — serious world-class speed — which is why Nebraska was so interested in him.
Jimmy Fritzsche, OT He’s likely to be a big steal for Nebraska if he can put on weight and retain his athleticism. Fritzsche is a converted tight end who pulls and moves with fluidity, can get to linebackers and successfully guard against the outside rush.
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