Some of America's best high school football is played the valley east of Phoenix.
Scottsdale. Chandler. Gilbert. Mesa. They're full of three- and four-star prospects.
"There’s a reason Arizona has become a recruiting hotbed," said Chandler High School coach Rick Garretson. "We’ve got a lot of players on the quarterback side of things, the defense side of things. We’re acclimated to the climate, to having our kids working throughout the year."
Garretson has two outside linebackers — Malik Reed and Tate Romney — Nebraska is recruiting for its 2020 class. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Reed is among the many prospects visiting Saturday for NU's Red-White spring game. Last year, Garretson's school sent players to Texas, BYU, Kansas State and California, among others. Starting next week, when colleges can start making trips to high schools, Garretson eventually expects 85-90 programs to drop in.
Nebraska will surely be one of them. After all, NU snagged the state of Arizona's Nos. 3, 5 and 15 prospects in the 2019 class when Noa Pola-Gates, Ty Robinson and Javin Wright signed. That trio arrives in May. All three of them, Garretson said, played within a few minutes of Chandler High School. They chose the Huskers over heavy attention from Pac-12 schools.
Reed has those same kind of Pac-12 offers. UCLA has moved in strong. Arizona is a factor. He's scheduled a June official visit to Wisconsin, as well.
Garretson said Reed's versatility makes him a good grab for inside or outside linebacker.
"He can be an edge rusher, a drop back into coverage guy, a run filler," Garretson said. "He’s multiple and he has a nose for the football. If you’re on offense and you’re playing Chandler, you have to know where he’s at, because he’s going to cause some issues."
Reed is one of two known prospects from Arizona visiting this weekend. The other is receiver/kicking specialist Tommy Christakos, from Scottsdale Chaparral High School.
More to come on NU's big spring game visit weekend.
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Naturally, most Huskers are home-grown talent. In total, 1,414 Nebraskans have received scholarships to play for NU, including Millard North graduate and 2001 Heisman recipient Eric Crouch.
Nebraska wide receiver Quincy Enunwa, pictured, is one of 151 recruits to come from California. As a senior in high school, Enunwa helped lead Rancho Verde's pass-happy spread offense to an 11-1 record.
Until the streak was snapped in 2016, Nebraska had signed at least one recruit from Texas every season since 1983. In total, 134 players have traveled from Texas to Lincoln. One of those was running back Rex Burkhead, pictured, from Plano High in 2009. He finished his Husker career with 3,329 yards and 30 touchdowns.
Illinois has produced 82 Huskers, including quarterback Joe Ganz, who holds several NU passing records. Ganz, a two-star recruit per Rivals, threw for 5,125 yards and 44 touchdowns for Nebraska.
Trev Alberts, one of 75 recruits to come from Iowa, had an eye-opening senior season at NU. He totaled 96 tackles, 21 for loss, 15 sacks and 38 quarterback hurries, earning him first-team All-American honors and the school’s first Butkus Award.
Of the 65 recruits to come from Kansas, no Husker is more well-known and beloved than Brook Berringer. In 1994, Berringer stepped off the bench to go 7-0 in Tommie Frazier's absence. On April 18, two days prior to the NFL draft, Berringer tragically died in a plane crash in Raymond, Nebraska.
Will Compton is one of 58 Huskers from Missouri. Compton, a four-star recruit by Rivals, started 37 games and accumulated 247 tackles in his college career.
Colorado has produced 58 Huskers, including Kenny Bell. The versatile Bell, a three-star athlete coming out of Fairview High School in Boulder, played receiver, tailback, quarterback, cornerback, safety, punter and kick returner in high school. He finished his college career with a school-record 181 receptions for 2,689 yards and 21 touchdowns.
The Huskers have landed 54 recruits from Pennsylvania, but only one since 1999 — Zaire Anderson (No. 13). Anderson finished his Husker career with 159 tackles and five sacks, and was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Denver Broncos.
JD Spielman was the 48th of 50 players from Minnesota to sign with Nebraska. Spielman, a three-star receiver, caught 55 passes for 830 yards and two touchdowns his freshman season for the Huskers.
The Huskers didn't start recruiting Florida hard until the 2000s. Before the turn of the millennium, NU had just 13 players come from the Sunshine State. Since? The Huskers have had 36 commits. One of the pre-2000 Huskers was Tommie Frazier, who is fifth all time in total offense at Nebraska with 5,476 yards.
Ohio has produced 47 Huskers, including Frank Solich. In total, Solich spent 29 seasons at Nebraska, starting as a fullback in Bob Devaney's first recruiting class before becoming an assistant under Tom Osborne. He eventually became Osborne's successor as head coach.
The Huskers haven't recruited Michigan much recently. Since 1981, only two Michigan natives have chosen to go to Nebraska, including 2017 commit Andrew Ward, pictured. In total, 38 players have come from Michigan.
New Jersey can boast 38 recruits that have traveled to Nebraska, including notables Mike Rozier, left, and Irving Fryar, right, who were both a part of the 1981 recruiting class. Rozier was the 1983 Heisman recipient, and Fryar was the top pick in the 1984 NFL draft.
Matthew Anderson is the latest Husker to come from Louisiana. The list of 36 includes Stanley Morgan, Alonzo Moore and Tanner Lee.
Nate Gerry headlines 31 recruits from South Dakota. Only four players have come from South Dakota since 1997 — all from Sioux Falls Washington High School.
Two-time national champion quarterback Jerry Tagge is one of 29 recruits to come from Wisconsin. Tagge scored the game-winning touchdown in the 1970 Orange Bowl, and was a Football News first-team All-American the following year.
Cornerback Prince Amukamara is one of 27 Nebraska commits to come from Arizona. Amukamara, a first-round draft pick in 2011, is from Glendale, which also produced Richie Incognito.
Nebraska has had 20 players from Georgia, including both Aaron Williams, pictured, and Mohamed Barry in 2015. Others from the Peach State include AJ Bush, Imani Cross and Alfonzo Dennard.
Will Shields, who committed to the Huskers from Lawton, Oklahoma, led Nebraska to three rushing titles in four years, including in 1992 when he won the Outland Trophy as the nation's top interior offensive lineman. Shields, who is one of 19 Huskers from Oklahoma, went on to be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2015.