LINCOLN — Zavier Betts has jets. The Bellevue West receiver — and 2020 Nebraska football commit — turned them on frequently at the Huskers’ second and final Friday Night Lights camp.
On a cool night, the Huskers again hosted a large number of prospects — with the top, more senior targets wearing black jerseys. Betts wore 15 — same as his jersey number with the Thunderbirds — and tore through defensive backs in one-on-one drills that form the centerpiece of the FNL event. Betts won on crossing routes, stop routes and go routes. His best catch — a toe-tapper down the west sideline — drew the attention of the roughly 2,000 fans who attended the event.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Betts is a national top-100 prospect according to Rivals and ESPN, joining Burke linebacker and 2019 NU signee Nick Henrich as top 100 in-state prospects in the last decade. He’s the first Nebraska athlete to earn an invitation to The Opening camp.
Betts was the standout prospect working the camp, although former Husker signee Dominick Watt provided the backflips and some of the drama.
A 2018 Husker signee who failed to qualify academically for Nebraska, Watt went to Garden City (Kan.) Community College, where he was the team’s top receiver last season. Junior college prospects are able to work out at camps, so Watt returned Friday night. Halfway through the evening, he took off his shirt to run routes. He found a tough assignment, though, in defensive back Jaden Taylor of Montgomery, Alabama.
He’s the younger brother of current Husker corner Cam Taylor, and the 5-11, 180-pound Jaden made it his goal to jam Watt at the line. A few times, he did. But Watt beat Taylor for a touchdown, too, spinning the ball after he scored and doing several backflips, much like former NU receiver Tyjon Lindsey once did at the FNL camp.
Most of the top prospects on hand Friday night weren’t participating, however. They were taking official visits. Florida receiver Ajou Ajou, Atlanta linebacker Choe Bryant-Strother, Florida cornerback Tamon Lynum, Texas junior college receiver Omar Manning, Oklahoma running back Sevion Morrison, Maryland cornerback Josh Moten and Arizona outside linebacker Malik Reed all attended the evening and were often surrounded by current Huskers. Other NU players — including quarterback Adrian Martinez — worked the camp.
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More notes from the second FNL camp:
- Two of Nebraska’s top targets for 2021 quarterback — Santino Marucci from Florida and Peter Costelli from California — spent most of the camp together, with their parents, watching the proceedings. Neither worked out. The Huskers are likely only in the market for one 2021 signal caller. At the end of the camp, quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco gave each of the players a hug.
- Several other 2021 prospects attended the recruiting barbecue on Friday night, including defensive back Denzel Burke, a consensus four-star recruit from Scottsdale, Arizona, with offers from LSU, Auburn and others along with Nebraska. Burke was surrounded by Husker players much of the night.
- Gunnar Kilen, a 2020 center from Verona, Wisconsin, was a standout among the many linemen at the camp. Kilen has offers from several MAC schools.
- Two 2020 junior college prospects who impressed were Butler (Kan.) Community College tight end/wide receiver DeShawn Hanika and Hutchinson (Kan.) CC linebacker Jesse Smith.
- Brothers Koa and Kade McIntyre, both of Fremont Bergan, performed well. Koa is a 2022 quarterback while Kade is a 2023 athlete. Koa won the end-of-camp sprint among the quarterbacks by some margin.
- Former Husker wingback Lance Brown’s son, Elliott Brown, threw the most consistent passes among the quarterbacks. The 2020 Elkhorn South product worked out last week as a receiver. Drew Christo of Elkhorn, a 2021 outside linebacker, also worked out. He’s the son of former Husker quarterback Monte Christo. Another former Husker, running back Brandon Jackson, worked the camp. He’s now an assistant at Southeast Missouri.
- NU coach Scott Frost spent a good chunk of time talking to the official visitors, but Morrison, a running back from of Tulsa, may have gotten the most of Frost’s time on the field. Morrison is one of NU’s top targets at running back.