LINCOLN — Nebraska’s first pledge for 2017 came from a somewhat unexpected source Wednesday night.
Willie Hampton reportedly had been offered a scholarship by the Huskers just last week. The linebacker prospect from West Palm Beach, Florida, hasn’t visited the NU campus.
But his mind is apparently made up.
The 6-foot-2 220-pounder has made a nonbinding commitment to Nebraska, multiple recruiting outlets reported Wednesday night.
The news produced the standard celebratory social media reaction from Husker football personnel — including coach Mike Riley, who tweeted that Nebraska got “a big addition to the family.”
Hampton’s junior season highlight tape features clips of him playing from a stand-up end position and at outside linebacker — most often firing forward at the snap to create havoc in the backfield. He was credited with 47 tackles, nine sacks and 10 tackles for loss in 2015, according to MaxPreps. He helped Oxbridge Academy to its first Florida Class 3A regional final appearance in November.
“Nebraska likes me at linebacker,” Hampton told Husker Online on Wednesday. “They told me that I could move around in their defense and play both spots. I like man coverage and I like to blitz the quarterback, so I would say that I like to play outside. I like playing inside though, too, because that is where the contact is at. And I love to take on the lead blocker.”
It appears Hampton’s stock rose a bit nationally after an impressive performance at a combine-like testing event in February.
He reportedly ran 40 yards in 4.53 seconds, finished the 20-yard pro agility shuttle in 4.53 seconds and notched a vertical jump of 35.3 inches. He also recorded a kneeling powerball toss of 43 feet. Hampton received a rating of 117.7 based on those figures, which ranks 13th-best on Nike’s most recent national leader board (last updated March 3).
Hampton told Husker Online that he plans to visit Nebraska later this spring. The Huskers are scheduled to host several other 2017 prospects this weekend.
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