LINCOLN — Nebraska football recruiting is fully back — and blooming — in Colorado.
Denver-area tight end Jack Stoll on Wednesday announced on Twitter he’d picked the Huskers over another heavyweight finalist, Texas.
Minutes after that tweet, Stoll told the World-Herald that NU and Texas both scored well in a variety of categories. He liked Lincoln, and he liked Austin. He liked Nebraska coach Mike Riley and Texas coach Charlie Strong. But in two visits to Nebraska’s campus — for NU’s spring game and Big Red Weekend — he had a “gut feeling” about the place that he didn’t have at Texas.
As a result, the 6-foot-5, 225-pound Stoll becomes the third prospect from Colorado in the last two recruiting classes to pledge red. In the 2015 class, defensive backs and close friends Eric Lee and Avery Anderson picked Nebraska, enrolling early. On Friday, Anderson’s high school teammate, Colorado Springs Pine Creek linebacker JoJo Domann, announces his college decision. Nebraska has long been a favorite.
Couple those developments with a strong turnout of Colorado’s top 2017 prospects at Nebraska’s summer camps, and a region that produced only a handful of Husker players in recent years — tackle Jeremiah Sirles, wideout Kenny Bell and guard Mike Moudy among them — is flowing again.
Ditto for the tight end position, which is a depth and talent issue for the Huskers this fall. Stoll caught 19 passes for 176 yards and four touchdowns last season for Aurora Regis High School, but Stoll took as much pride in his blocking abilities. He grew up in youth football as an offensive tackle, so when he made the transition to tight end in high school, blocking came naturally.
“I want to knock guys on their ass,” Stoll said. “But I also want to catch the ball, and just be the best possible athlete I can be.”
Stoll said he’ll consider joining the Regis track and field team as a sprinter in his senior year.
On his Hudl highlight film, Stoll’s skill set resembles that of 2015 tight end signee Matt Snyder — strong kick-out blocks, quickness in downfield routes — while playing a traditional, in-line tight end position. In recent years, Nebraska’s offensive coaches had struggled to lure true tight end prospects from out of state to the program. Starting tight end Cethan Carter was a fullback and H-back in high school. Another tight end who has since left the program, Greg Hart, was more of a slot receiver.
Stoll plays tight end naturally and added that, on his visits to NU, coaches emphasized the use of tight ends in their system.
“They have two tight ends on the field about 60 percent of the time and one tight end on the field 95 percent of the time,” Stoll said. “Obviously, that wasn’t the main selling point, but it was one of them.”
The biggest selling point was NU’s atmosphere. Stoll said he got “goose bumps” at the spring game, but the depth of Husker fan support hit him just as hard the night before the spring game as he sat at Haymarket Park, watching Nebraska’s baseball team play Minnesota.
“I turned to my dad and said, ‘there isn’t a single person here not wearing Husker red,’ ” Stoll said. “That really struck me.”
A three-star prospect according to all four major recruiting services, Stoll is the 11th overall pledge for the 2016 class and the second tight end committed to NU’s class, although the commitment status of the first, Lincoln Christian athlete Jared Bubak, is uncertain. Bubak attended Big Red Weekend June 12 but has not responded to requests for interviews since then. Bubak committed to Nebraska last fall, but has visited Arizona State and shown interest in the Sun Devils’ program since then.
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