Going Over the Recruiting Class: Defense

Nebraska went from a situation where we could have potentially had 9 starters returning, to being in a pretty bad spot in a few positions and most likely rebuilding. While it’s a transition year, you would have loved to have guys like Nelson, Mathis, Feist, and others stick around to help the new staff out. But you can’t fault them for moving on. Let’s go over who we brought in:

Defensive Line (3):

Riley Van Poppel – Argyle, TX – offers: Kansas State, Michigan, TCU

At 6’5 275 pounds he has the ability to play as a true freshman for us, and quite frankly that may be needed. If you don’t love this frame, you’ll love what he said to Coach Rhule and Coach Knighton when they came on board. The staff was worried about losing him and he goes “don’t worry about me coach, i’m locked in, finalize your class and i’ll see you in January.” Don’t even care if he contributes zero in his time here, that’s the kind of dude I want. I’ll be curious to see how his frame develops. They can literally work on only putting 10-20 pounds on him over 4 years and he’s fine. Or do they really beef him up for the NG spot? Either way, a great foundation for the DL class that we brought in. Decent pedigree too, his dad was a first round MLB draft pick.

Vincent Carroll-Jackson – Harrisburg, PA – offers: Syracuse, Rutgers, Colorado

Flipping this kid late was huge for us… we needed more high school DL to develop. At 6’5″ and 280 pounds he’s another guy that could log some minutes for us early if need be. But with that said, you don’t want to throw some of these guys into the fire too quickly. The theme for this staff is getting longer guys along the lines to help with leverage and they are doing that with these first two.

Elijah Jeudy – Texas A&M transfer

This is one i’ll watch closely. This isn’t like Ben Scott who logged 28 starts for Arizona State, this is a guy that didn’t see the field much. But at 6’3″ 300 pounds he’s exactly who we need to battle it out with Hutmacher for the starting NG spot. Jeudy was the victim of A&M bringing in 8 DL in their recruiting class last year and got squeezed out. Can he be one of those guys that just had way too much talent on the roster where he was and benefit us? Let’s hope.

DL Summary and Grade: (B) I would say we did a really good job, kept Van Poppel, flipped Carroll-Jackson, and brought in a P5 grad transfer. The reality though is we just don’t have enough players here on the DL and we should try to find another grad transfer somewhere. We also lost a ton of our “developmental” guys like Newsom, Weaver, and Black.

Edge (4)

Princewill Umanmielen – Manor, TX – offers: Florida, TCU, Washington

Rhule started with a bang with this kid, as he is a four star amongst all four recruiting services. While many have him listed on the DL so we could shift him there for depth, at 6’4″ and 225 pounds he just isn’t ready to contribute there yet. I have him listed at Edge because I feel that’s where his skillset is best. However, keep in mind that a guy mentioned above like Jeudy essentially came to college just like Princewill and is now playing along the DL. This is exactly the type of guy DC White wants in his defense to bring pressure from all over.

Maverick Noonan – Elkhorn, NE – offers: Arizona State, Iowa, Kansas State

Name sound familiar? It should! And this is the kind of kid you all day offer and keep in-state. I still remember when we offered him early in his career, one of the metro high school coaches sent me a text and said “glad we are finally offering kids early that deserve it, not because of potential. This kids a stud.” Not a ton to say about him except his motor and play reminds me a bit of Garrett Nelson. If we can get even half that production, let’s goooooo!

Chief Borders – Florida Gators transfer

This guy is a good get from the sense that he was a four star coming out and he has the athletic ability you want. I think he can push your guys like Gunnerson, Butler, and Appleget while Noonan gets up to speed. But again, he didn’t play much at Florida so there’s a lot of unknown here. He did get on the field with their special teams units, but as i’ve said before, it’s sometimes a red flag when i’m trying to figure out how good you are off your practice film.

Kai Wallin – American Rivers JUCO – offers: Utah, Oregon State

Kai Wallin will be an interesting one, he played with his hand on the ground for much of his JUCO career, so if we were going to shift anyone down there to DE I may start with him. I’m not sure what to think as there isn’t a ton of film on him, but he could be a nice buffer of depth for us.

Edge Summary and Grade: (A-) Pretty tough to do much better than what we did here… Grabbed a consensus four star out of Texas, grabbed one of the best players in Nebraska and a legacy, grabbed a JUCO kid, and then grabbed a kid from the Gators. Now, will all of these guys stay at edge? I don’t think so, but it at least gives us some options before shifting them down to DE/DT spot.

ILB (2):

Eric Fields – Ardmore, OK – offers: Arkansas State, North Texas

While his offers won’t wow you, this might be the most eye-popping guy on film that i’ve seen in awhile in regard to his highlight film compared to his stars/offers. The kid is a missile, hits with a ton of force, and is long. Now, he does have some work to do to get here in the classroom, but you heard Rhule mention how he promises people will remember who this kid is because he is elite. I hadn’t watched his film until Rhule said that, and wow, he’s probably right. While it would have been good to keep Hausmann, that is who he reminds me of while watching. Go watch his sideline to sideline speed:

Dylan Rogers – Cypress, TX – offers: Colorado, Houston, Mississippi State, Texas

Rogers was committed to the previous staff back in July, but stuck with his commitment to Nebraska with the coaching change. At 6’3″ 240 pounds he has the build already to step on the field immediately. It will just be how he adjusts to college football on if that happens. One of the things I really like about his film is he has quite a few highlights in there where he is “playing in the garbage”. Too often kids have film where they are just making highlight film tackles and no one is blocking them. As an ILB for us he will need to be able to decipher the play and get around OL coming up to him. His film shows quite a lot of that.

ILB Summary and Grade: (A-) Quietly I really like this haul. They don’t have the star power, but there are some really good guys they brought in for when Henrich and Reimer inevitably go down. Now, there’s obviously some other guys they will need to jump in front of on the depth chart, but this position was one of our more favorable hauls in my opinion.

Defensive Backs

Rahmir Stewart – Philadelphia, PA – Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Michigan

While i’m not sure I believe all of those offers were still available, he had a who’s who of college football after him at one point. Slotted to play safety for us, you can see from his film just what our coaches like about him. A heck of a get late in the process for Rhule and his staff.

Dwight Bootle II – Miami, FL – offers: Indiana, Michigan, Ole MIss

Fast as lightning just like his brother, and he went to school at the same high school that his DB coach attended, so the connection is there for him to come in and get every opportunity to have success just like his brother.

Syncere Safeeullah – Hermitage, TN – offers: Kentucky, Memphis, Ole Miss

Played his ball at IMG academy down in Florida. Have to be honest, not a huge fan of this offer. With that said, getting an IMG connection never hurts at all. At 6’2″ he’s extremely long, and we will try him at corner first. However, I expect him to be moved to safety because I just don’t see the hip fluidity with him.

Corey Collier – Florida Gators Transfer

Another player that played high school ball at the same school as the DB coach. While Collier didn’t have a ton of film out there, it’s always good to get someone in the mix that has FBS experience. A former four star that had a ton of recruiting analysts salivating out of high school, would be nice if we could get him to emerge in Lincoln.

Next week we will go over our biggest positions of need still!

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6 thoughts on “Going Over the Recruiting Class: Defense

  1. Terrific info as usual. I think Rhule and company did about as good as could of been expected, all things considered. I really, really like Fields…kind of reminds me of a young Lavonte David (I dont want to get my hopes up because that isnt fair to Fields), but he pops off the screen…if he can get the grades, and get the mental part of the defense down, look out! Noonan is a stud also and was a must get/keep imo. I am really excited about 23…about as excited as I have been in a long time for Husker football..I was excited when Frost was hired, but looking back at how they did things, compared to this past month wiith Rhule and company…there seem to be quite a few differences…hopefully it all translates into better results in the future.

  2. I’m real interested to see how some of these transfer protal kids work out.

    Rhule is known as a developer of lesser known HS kids, interested to see he can hit on a high rate and have an accelerated development for some of these formerly highly rated kids.

    Syncere agree did not look fluid on tape, thoughtaybe due to height just one of those kids who is faster than appears. Either way probably a development kid who needs some time in weight room

  3. Thank you for your right ups. I find always interesting to follow the process as much as I can. Film study I don’t always see what people are talking about, but that linebacker dude on film seems to be real deal. But after watching Minnesota and Syracuse play. Speed and confusion can be difference maker for a defense. I am one who believed that the previous staff limited speed by their training process. Hoping they can resolve that with the new guys.

  4. Thoughts on Nation and Lenhardt? Move Safeeulah to safety and we have 2 CB’s and 2 S’s. A nice foundation. Love what I’m seeing up front but we still need more down lineman. While everyone keeps yelling 3-3-5, I think our scheme is going to look more like what Busch ran which was a lot of 4-2-5, some 3-3-5 and some 3-4. Just need to be more athletic.

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