The World-Herald is jumping into high school recruiting coverage in a bigger way with the acquisition of the online startup NebHSsports.com, founded five years ago by owner Mike Sautter.
The new recruiting site, which Sautter will maintain with the newspaper’s online staff, will further bolster Omaha.com’s offerings by focusing on Nebraska high school athletes, many of whom attract interest from college recruiters.
In recent years, Sautter has carved out a strong niche in the broader world of high school sports coverage in the state. His website was initially dedicated to boys high school basketball and summer club basketball. It moved into football three years ago and will now, with the help of The World-Herald, move into other sports, such as girls basketball and volleyball.
The site will follow high school athletes, even as young as freshmen, who excel at the high school level or on club teams. While some of these athletes are destined for major college competition, many more will join college rosters at smaller schools. NebHSRecruiting.com will monitor them all — big school or small.
The site will have the latest college commitments, comprehensive player lists and updates from summer club basketball tournaments — a mainstay of Sautter’s original website.
Sautter spent much of his youth growing up in virtually every corner of Nebraska and realized several years ago the thirst for information about local high school athletics recruiting.
“Information was scarce and difficult to find on the Internet,” Sautter said. “Coverage was limited.”
That led him to start NebHSsports.com in 2012, serving as the website’s chief content manager and marketer. Much of his information came from summer hoops tournaments throughout the Midwest, as he followed clubs from Nebraska in competitions each weekend. The time spent at the tournaments enabled him to rate the top players and follow them during the high school season. His ratings of basketball players are regarded as the bellwether of such lists for Nebraska.
Sautter also launched an events arm of his business that he will continue with The World-Herald. He holds basketball showcases and camps, a 7-on-7 high school football championship and even coaching clinics.
He also will continue to highlight athletes on social media, report from games and will be a frequent guest on “The Bottom Line,” the newsroom’s online radio show.