LINCOLN — When it comes to recruiting the best wideouts for the 2017 class, future Nebraska quarterback Tristan Gebbia is just as ambitious as Husker coaches. What quarterback wouldn’t want the best possible group of receivers for targets?
So Gebbia, a top-100 national prospect, will throw at NU’s third and final Friday Night Lights camp at Memorial Stadium. He’s doesn’t have to, but he wants specific prospects — notably top-100 wideouts Tyjon Lindsey and Joseph Lewis — to be on the receiving end of his passes.
“I want to show them I’m one of those guys who can get them the ball, and Nebraska is a great place to be,” Gebbia said.
It’s the most star-studded camp of the FNL events. Gebbia’s fine with that. The way he sees it, NU’s in the mix for receivers coach Keith Williams’ top targets.
“We’ve got a great shot at all of them, honestly,” the 6-foot-3, 180-pound Gebbia said. “They know this is a great place and the coaches are great guys. This is somewhere we can come and make a difference. I’m definitely working toward getting them because, with guys like that, the game comes easy. They’re so talented that you put the ball in their hands anywhere on the field and they’re going to go and get it done.”
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Lewis, from Los Angeles Augustus Hawkins High School, had originally planned on attending June 17, but he rescheduled for Friday. He’s a five-star prospect who is considered the nation’s top receiver by Scout.
“A specimen,” Gebbia said of Lewis, who’s being pursued by most of the nation’s best programs, including hometown UCLA and USC. Gebbia doesn’t know Lewis too well, but current NU quarterback Patrick O’Brien does — he was part of Lewis’ 7-on-7 team last spring and summer.
Lindsey, who is 5-9, 180 pounds, will likely end up a unanimous five-star prospect, but he already is one according to the 247Sports composite rankings. Lindsey had 45 catches for 1,117 yards and 14 touchdowns for Las Vegas Bishop Gorman as a junior, but he transferred to Corona (California) Centennial for his senior year. Gebbia said he and others are close friends with Lindsey, but Lindsey’s former quarterback at Gorman, Tate Martell, is committed to Ohio State.
The Buckeyes and Huskers are considered the top teams for Lindsey. OSU receivers coach Zach Smith and NU’s Williams have been engaged in a kind of social media Cold War — originally started by Smith — over the last few months. Nebraska and Ohio State offered scholarships to Johnson, who picked the Huskers over Clemson and the Buckeyes, among many others.
Lewis and Lindsey are part of what Nebraska calls its “Calibraska” recruiting movement. T-shirts combining palm trees and corn stalks have been printed. The Huskers held a satellite camp in conjunction with coaches from Calabasas (California) High School, where Gebbia, Johnson and another five-star prospect, cornerback Darnay Holmes, play football.
Gebbia said football players he knows are now asking him more and more about Nebraska — including an incoming freshman to Calabasas.
“A lot of people are taking notice,” Gebbia said, noting specifically Nebraska’s presence on Twitter.
Fans are again welcome to Friday Night Lights. According to recruiting sites and World-Herald confirmations, other potential unofficial visitors for Friday Night Lights and/or the following Big Red Weekend include:
» Jaylen Kelly-Powell, a defensive back from Detroit prep power Cass Technical, where Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State often battle over prospects. The 6-foot, 175-pound Kelly-Powell is a four-star prospect.
» Reese Leitao, a 6-foot-4, 230-pound tight end out of Oklahoma prep power Tulsa Jenks. His dad, Dave Leitao, is the coach of DePaul’s basketball team. Reese Leitao has offers from a slew of Big Ten and Big 12 programs.
» Jamari Peacock, a back out of Yulee, Florida, who recently took visits to Virginia and Louisville. He ran for 1,239 yards and 16 touchdowns last season for Yulee, the former high school of Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry.
» Robert Porcher IV, who plays at Orlando (Florida) Phillips. The 6-foot-3, 245-pounder boasts a lot of offers — including Virginia Tech and Arizona State — and is the son of former NFL player Robert Porcher.
» Brendan Radley-Hiles, part of the Calabasas contingent. A 2018 prospect, Radley-Hiles, a 5-10, 175-pound athlete who could play either cornerback or wideout, was a reserve wideout/defensive back for Bishop Gorman last season, but has transferred to Calabasas. He’s the cousin of Tyjon Lindsey.
» Ambry Thomas, a 5-11, 175-pound corner from Detroit King. He, like Kelly-Powell, is a four-star prospect being heavily recruited by Michigan and Michigan State.
» Nathan Tilford, who at 6-1, 205 could play running back or linebacker. NU is recruiting Tilford, who plays for Ontario (California) Colony and is committed to Arizona, as a running back.
» Anthony Payne, a 6-foot-3, 250-pound defensive end from the Kansas City area who just received an offer from Michigan. He had 61 tackles and four sacks for Raymore (Missouri) Peculiar.
» Gretna center Patrick Arnold, a 6-2, 285-pounder who impressed at a recent Big Man Camp and returns to try out for the Huskers at Friday Night Lights. Arnold has offers from Navy, Air Force and Wyoming, among others.
» Adam Boselli, a 6-4, 210-pound tight end, is the son of former NFL and USC offensive tackle Tony Boselli, who played for coach Mike Riley when Riley was an offensive coordinator at USC. Adam Boselli plays at Jacksonville Episcopal in Florida, and has an offer from Duke, among other schools.
Not all players may work out, and unofficial visit plans can change based on travel schedules.
Friday Night Lights is open to the public and starts at 6 p.m. inside Memorial Stadium. Fans can enter the stadium on the west side, through Gate 11.
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