Foster Sarell

Five-star offensive tackle Foster Sarell took an official visit to Nebraska for the season opener in September.

Nebraska is aiming high with hopes of adding an elite offensive tackle to its 2017 recruiting class.

The targets: Foster Sarell and Chuck Filiaga. Both rank in the Top 100 nationally of all prospects, according to the 247Sports composite — Sarell is No. 2 overall; Filiaga No. 98 — and both are being pursued heavily by the Huskers.

Nebraska coaches have put in months of work — and in Sarell’s case, years — trying to lure these two linemen. With national signing day less than two months away, crunch time has arrived in trying to land a future anchor for the offensive line to go with current commits Broc Bando, Brenden Jaimes and Matt Sichterman.

Jan. 7 will be the day to circle on your calendars. Both Sarell and Filiaga are set to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on that day, and both plan to announce their college decisions during it. Nebraska will have a hat on the table for both announcements.

Filiaga announced on Thursday his three finalists — Michigan, Nebraska and Oklahoma. Since offering Filiaga back in January, the Huskers have been a steady presence in his recruitment. Tavita Thompson, Mike Cavanaugh and Danny Langsdorf made in-home visits with him and his family in late November and early December.

That persistence helped Nebraska secure Filiaga’s final official visit, which he took the weekend of Dec. 10. The trip went well enough that NU is now one of the final three schools still in contention for Filiaga’s commitment.

Filiaga took his official visits to Michigan and Oklahoma in October.

For Sarell, the five finalists are Nebraska, Notre Dame, Stanford, USC and Washington. He’s taken official visits to four of those schools. Stanford is the lone exception, though he has taken numerous unofficial visits there over the last year.

Cavanaugh has recruited Sarell since his days at Oregon State. He first offered him in the summer of 2014 and kept him as a target once he came to Nebraska.

The Huskers haven’t kept it a secret how much they want him to be a part of the class. Recruiting staff member Todd McShane tweeted a picture Wednesday of the two Outland Trophies won by Zach Wiegert and Will Shields. A message accompanied it: “WANTED: A (five-star bear) from the (Pacific Northwest) to join the greatest OL tradition in college football history.”

That tweet received more than 1,000 likes, and it’s only one example of several similarly subtle messages the Husker staff has sent Sarell’s way. NU even got some social media assistance from NFL lineman Jeremiah Sirles, who tweeted at Sarell on Wednesday, “GBR buddy!”

Will all that be enough to land Sarell or Filiaga on Jan. 7? We’ll find out in a little more than two weeks. But NU’s dogged pursuit of these two elite linemen has at least been rewarded with a seat at the table.

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