Nick Henrich and Chris Hickman

Omaha Burke's Nick Henrich, left, and Chris Hickman, right, are not only two of the top prospects in the state, but also in the entire country.

The state of Nebraska’s 2019 class of football prospects is the strongest, on paper, of any so far this century, and it could ultimately go down as one of the best in the recruiting rankings era dating back about 35 or 40 years.

As we update the NebHSRecruiting.com player rankings, we can explore just how good this group is. There are already 16 players with FBS or FCS offers. The headliners are national recruits being pursued by not only Nebraska, but also the likes of Penn State, Texas A&M, Notre Dame, Mississippi and Wisconsin, just to name a few.

The top five players in the class are either committed to power conference schools or hold offers from programs at the highest level of college football.

Omaha Burke linebacker Nick Henrich leads the group with 18 offers from schools like Florida, Texas A&M, Penn State, Iowa, Wisconsin and Nebraska. He’s a sideline-to-sideline tackler with great natural football instincts, making him a fit for a 3-4 or 4-3 defensive scheme.

His Burke teammate, Chris Hickman, is also a national recruit with 10 offers. Mississippi, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa and Kansas State headline his list. He’s a big target and a fluid runner, playing both sides of the ball for Burke.

York athlete Garrett Snodgrass, Scottsbluff outside linebacker Garrett Nelson and Norfolk Catholic defensive tackle Ethan Piper are committed to Nebraska. Snodgrass and Nelson pledged to the Huskers last year, and Piper chose NU in March over offers from Iowa, Ohio and South Dakota State.

Of the next 15 players in our rankings, 11 have at least one FCS scholarship offer.

No class since 2010 has had that many Division I recruits. The closest was 2015, which had nine, but only three of those were power conference players: DaiShon Neal (Nebraska), Michael Decker (Nebraska) and Adam Holtorf (Kansas State).

The 2011 class had eight Division I recruits and can make a case for top billing of the past decade. It featured four who went to Nebraska and one each for Iowa and Iowa State.

The 2004 class had 12 Division I recruits and 10 that signed with power conference schools. It also included Danny Woodhead, who went on to a long NFL career after shining at Division II Chadron State.

Scott Frost and Nebraska stand to benefit from the strength of this 2019 class. One of the new staff’s top priorities is to lock down the borders and not let in-state talent leave.

They also want to rebuild the walk-on program. NU did an excellent job with the 2018 class by getting in-state players to walk on instead of accepting opportunities at regional Division II schools; of the 15 walk-ons in NU’s class, only two had FCS offers.

The 2019 class will be a good test of Nebraska’s approach to recruiting walk-ons. The Huskers will be battling more with FCS schools to capitalize on the strength of the in-state talent.

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

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