Chamberlain (South Dakota) defensive tackle Nash Hutmacher — one of NU’s top recruiting targets for months — selected the Huskers over Wisconsin and Oregon

LINCOLN — First, the Missouri River. Then some bass ponds around the area. That’s how Nash Hutmacher and his dad planned to celebrate Saturday’s commitment to Nebraska football.

The Polar Bear was going fishing after becoming one of the biggest, most important catches of the Huskers’ 2020 recruiting class.

The nose tackle from Chamberlain, South Dakota, one of NU’s top recruiting targets for months, selected the Huskers over Wisconsin and Oregon. The 6-foot-4, 305-pound product is also a champion wrestler who could compete and excel in that sport at the collegiate level. But football will be his sport, and Nebraska will be the spot where he plays it.

The Huskers won out, Hutmacher said, because of the coaches: Scott Frost, defensive coordinator Erik Chinander, defensive line coach Tony Tuioti and running backs coach Ryan Held.

“They know how to have fun, but they also know when it’s time to get down to business,” Hutmacher said.

When Hutmacher took his official visit in April, NU was the clear leader, but a June visit to Wisconsin tightened the race. Hutmacher said the Badgers pulled nearly even. Both schools took him fishing, one of his favorite pastimes. Both had campuses and towns that Hutmacher liked. And though Chamberlain is three hours closer to NU’s campus than to Wisconsin’s, Hutmacher said distance wasn’t much of a factor once his family sat down and discussed the options.

The difference was Frost and Chinander, ultimately. Both small-town natives, the duo reminded Hutmacher of the older men in his own hometown. The guys he’d grown up around.

“I just like the way he is,” Hutmacher said of Chinander, who has called himself “a Midwest guy.”

Hutmacher called Nebraska to deliver the good news on Wednesday, a few days after going undefeated at a junior nationals wrestling tournament.

Naturally, Hutmacher said, Husker coaches were thrilled. NU had prioritized Hutmacher for more than a year. He’d made multiple visits to Lincoln. Though he’s a three-star prospect according to ESPN, Rivals and the 247Sports composite service, he’s more valuable than that to Nebraska because of his position and its importance in Chinander’s defense. You need, as coaches like to say, a “war daddy” at nose tackle. Nebraska was so hungry to find one this offseason that it signed graduate transfer Darrion Daniels from Oklahoma State. Chinander has said the best nose tackles are like “the heavyweight champion of the world.”

Hutmacher has certainly been that as a wrestler. He has won 124 high school matches in a row, often by wide margins and dramatic pins. Nicknamed the Polar Bear because of his size and blond hair, Hutmacher frequently throws opponents onto the mat with brute strength. It’s not hard to imagine a quarterback in that scenario. But nose tackle is also a grinding, thankless position that requires absorbing double teams and dirty blocks at the knees.

“I’m ready to hold down the middle of that defensive line,” Hutmacher said. Darrion Daniels will use up his eligibility this season, with Damion Daniels moving into that nose role for 2020. Norfolk Catholic graduate and 2019 signee Ethan Piper may play the nose, too.

Hutmacher becomes the sixth commit for NU’s 2020 class. The Huskers could get more commits in July. One, cornerback Josh Moten from Fort Washington, Maryland, decides on Tuesday between Nebraska and Texas A&M, ostensibly.  Outside linebacker Blaise Gunnerson of Carroll Kuemper in Iowa could decide anytime between Nebraska and Iowa State.

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