The preseason player rankings for the senior class provides the first position-by-position breakdown of the class. There are 45 players total ranked with five at each position (except kicker).

The class is deep and could end up being one of the best Nebraska has seen in recent history.

This update was the first since April and provided plenty of debate.

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The Process

Believe it or not, there is a formula I use when it comes to player rankings.

Without giving away everything, it starts with scholarship offers. I've always lived by the rule that college coaches get paid to make decisions on which players they recruit. That helps identify who are the top players.

But I've also spent hours watching game film, poring over pages of notes from practices and camps I attended and getting feedback from coaches across the state. More than 100 players were considered for this iteration of the rankings.

The process of naming No. 1 starts with a look at the players returning from last year's All-Nebraska team and those that are getting recruited by schools at the highest levels. From there, I review film, read season previews provided by coaches from every class, have conversations with high school and college coaches and confer with other sports writers across the state.​

The top five of the class is very strong. All of them have power conference scholarship offers, and four of the five are committed to Nebraska. The fifth is Chris Hickman (Omaha Burke), who holds 13 scholarship offers from Division I schools, including Nebraska. It feels as though Hickman is in no hurry to make a commitment.

Deepest position

The linebacker position is the deepest in the class. Seven of the top 20 overall prospects are being recruited to play linebacker in college. The top three — Nick Henrich (Omaha Burke), Garrett Nelson (Scottsbluff) and Garrett Snodgrass (York) — could all play linebacker for the Huskers.

Thinnest position

Wide receiver is the weakest position group. The 2019 class does not have a player with a Division I offer. By comparison, the 2020 class already has two receivers with power conference scholarship offers.

Biggest risers

The top eight remain the same. Nelson jumped to No. 2 behind Henrich. Nelson and Henrich are the two most ready to play at a power conference level.

Auburn's Bailey Darnell jumped in to the top 20 after a strong summer and a commitment to South Dakota State. Darnell is versatile for Auburn and will play both sides of the ball for, and return kicks, for the Bulldogs.

Darnell and Lincoln High safety Darius Luff are the lone newcomers to crack the top 20. 

​Omaha Burke running back James Burks made the biggest move. Burks moved up six spots to No. 14. He should have another big year for the Bulldogs and would be a star for any team in the state.

Mike is a prep recruiting specialist for The World-Herald. Follow him on Twitter @MikeSautterOWH. Phone: 402-444-1335.

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