LINCOLN — Nebraska is willing to look just about anywhere for pass rushing talent.
Proof: NU’s newest commit for the 2020 recruiting class. New Mexico Military Institute defensive end Junior Aho — originally from France — announced a commitment to the Huskers Tuesday evening sight unseen as he's yet to take a visit to Nebraska.
The 6-foot-3, 255-pounder could play at a base outside linebacker or defensive end.
“My journey has always been a hustle and God always accompanied me,” Aho wrote on Twitter.
He also had offers to Kansas, Minnesota, SMU, Kent State, Liberty. As a freshman at NMMI, Aho had eight tackles for loss and 3½ sacks.
NMMI coach Joe Forchtner grew up in Nebraska — he graduated from Elkhorn High School — and knows NU running backs coach Ryan Held. Forchtner texted Held twice — once in the spring and once in the fall — about Aho, just in case Nebraska needed a defensive end.
Held said NU did. So defensive coordinator Erik Chinander visited Aho in New Mexico and liked what he saw.
“He’s just a freak athlete,” Forchtner said of Aho. “He’s got abs. He’s got muscles coming out of muscles.”
Aho has less football experience than some players, but he’s learned quickly, and could arrive in May if he graduates this spring. If so, Aho has four years to play three seasons.
Aho became the 14th commit of the 2020 class and the first juco commit. But minutes later, the Huskers added another in Independence (Kan.) Community College inside linebacker Jamoi Hodge.
NU is likely not done recruiting juco players, either. It hosts East Mississippi defensive end and Colorado commit Julius Coates for Friday’s game against Iowa, and Tyler (Texas) Junior College outside linebacker Maureese Wren on Dec. 6. The Huskers have already hosted two big-bodied wide receivers — Omar Manning and Xavier Hutchinson — both of whom would fill a hole on NU’s roster.