Nebraska's head coach Matt Rhule looks on from the sideline during the second quarter in the game against Michigan State on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023, at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing.

Four Notes for Nebraska Football Heading into National Signing Day

Only one day remains until early national signing day, and things have gotten interesting for Head Coach Matt Rhule and his staff in his second offseason at the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The season didn’t end how they wanted, but the Huskers can start the offseason with a bang with a few possible prospects still left uncommitted. There are also a few in play that are currently committed but are on flip watch.

Here are four Notes for Nebraska heading into early national signing day on Wednesday.

Four Notes for Nebraska Football Heading into National Signing Day

Flip Watch and Uncommitted Grabs!

Coach Rhule and his staff have made late pushes on a few high school recruits in the past week. The biggest is the No. 1 quarterback in the 2024 class, according to 247 Sports, five-star Dylan Raiola. Raiola is the son of former Husker offensive lineman and 14-year NFL veteran for the Detroit Lions, Dominic Raiola. Additionally, current offensive line coach Donovan Raiola is his uncle. Nebraska made a recruiting push last offseason after Dylan de-committed from the Ohio State Buckeyes but eventually committed to Kirby Smart and the Georgia Bulldogs in May. Now, fast forward to last week. Reports came out that Rhule and the Huskers were making a late push for Raiola. Then, out of nowhere, Steve Witfong, the director of football recruiting at 247 Sports, changed his crystal ball to project Nebraska to land him. 

Now that Raiola is a Husker after verbally committing to the Huskers on Monday and is set to sign on Wednesday. It is a monumental flip for Rhule, his staff, and the highest-ranked recruit in school history. Now Raiola isn’t the only player on Flip Watch. Four-star linebacker Dylan Williams, committed to the Oregon Ducks, visited campus this past weekend alongside Raiola. Williams committed to Dan Lanning and the Ducks in July but has been taking official visits to other schools. Vincent Shavers, a three-star linebacker from Miami, Florida, also took an official visit to Nebraska this past weekend. The Huskers have been projected to land Shavers as of late, with both Bryan Munson and Sean Callahan of HuskerOnline putting in their predictions. It is also possible that Raiola has been peer recruiting and possibly bringing in more recruits for the Huskers to add to their class. If he did, none of that will come out until National Signing Day on Wednesday. 

In-State Talent Galore

Landing commitments from in-state talent has been an issue in the past, especially with the last coaching staff. There were so many talented players that ended up committing elsewhere, and that has been something the Rhule has hit out of the park thus far. Eight out of the top 12 players in Nebraska have committed to the Huskers, with all of them looking to sign on Wednesday. The No. 1 player in Nebraska and top commit for the Huskers so far is four-star tight end Carter Nelson. Nelson went to Ainsworth High School out in Western Nebraska and was a major star in eight-man football. Yes, eight-man football. He chose the Huskers’ offer over offers from Georgia, Michigan, Ole Miss, Oregon, and even Alabama, to name a few. Nelson is a multi-sport athlete and should be a major weapon alongside sophomore Thomas Fidone as early as next season.

The other committed quarterback is three-star Daniel Kaelin out of Bellevue West High School, just outside of Omaha, Nebraska. Two of Kaelin’s teammates are committed to the Huskers as well. Four-star wide receiver Dae’Vonn Hall and three-star wide receiver Isaiah McMorris look to join their quarterback in Lincoln next season. Kaelin was a finalist at the Elite 11 camp this past summer, holding his own against Raiola and the other top quarterbacks in the 2024 class. Kaelin was originally committed to the Missouri Tigers but decided to flip his commitment to Nebraska after Raiola originally committed to Georgia.

Adding to the Pipeline

From day one, it has been an emphasis that winning comes from success in the trenches. There has been major improvement on both sides of the line, but mostly from the offensive line. Known as the pipeline to the Nebraska faithful, the Huskers will add more talent to an already improving line going into next season. It all starts with the No. 15 offensive tackle in the country and the No. 1 recruit out of Iowa, four-star Grant Brix. Brix committed to the Huskers over many top programs, including Alabama, Oklahoma, Kansas State, and Auburn, to name a few. Brix could get playing time immediately in 2024 and has the potential to be a lineman at the next level.

Another major commitment for the offensive line is four-star Preston Taumua. Taumua is the No. 2 recruit out of Hawaii and is the No. 13 IOL (inside offensive lineman) in the class. He has been projected as a future power-five starter and has the potential to be drafted to the next level. He is strong in pass protection and has been consistent in run blocking during his high school career. The Huskers also have landed multiple three-star offensive linemen, including Gibson Pyle out of Houston, Texas, Landen Davidson out of Broomfield, Colorado, Alexander Ruggeroli out of Las Vegas, Nevada, and Jake Peters out of Cedar Falls, Iowa. All four could have roles down the road at Nebraska and all could potentially get starting roles later on.

Defensive Pickups

The Huskers’ defense finished in the top 15 in the country after a very successful first season under defensive coordinator Tony White. The highest-ranked defensive recruit is four-star safety/athlete Roger Gradney from Rice Consolidated High School in Texas. With a couple of losses in the secondary, he helps bring more bodies for the defense going into 2024. The highest-ranked recruit defensive player from Nebraska from the current class is Ashton Murphy from Elkhorn South. Murphy is a 6-foot-5, 240-pound, three-star defensive lineman/offensive lineman. He finished his senior season with 65 total tackles and 5 sacks and should be a good player for the Huskers regardless of what side of the ball he plays on. 

Gradney isn’t the only safety that Nebraska looks to officially bring in on Wednesday. Three-star Caleb Benning, who is also a Husker legacy commit, will have a chance to play a rotational role right away alongside Gradney. Rex Guthrie, a three-star safety from Littleton, Colorado, is another name for the Huskers. There are a few cornerbacks as well in the 2024 class. Three-star Mario Buford from DeSoto, Texas, Donovan Jones from Omaha North and Evan Taylor from Waxhaw, North Carolina. Each will have a role in the next few seasons. 

As of Monday, Nebraska currently has the 19th-ranked recruiting class in the country, according to 247 Sports, with 26 total verbal commits. There is a chance for more players to join the class in the coming days.

There is a lot to look forward to with this class, and every single player (even the ones not mentioned) could soon have a role for the Huskers. Early national signing day starts Wednesday morning and should be one to watch, as always. 

Main Image: © Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

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