Note: All star ratings and all rankings are based on 247Sports and its composite rankings as of Tuesday, Dec. 20, unless otherwise indicated.

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Since taking over as Nebraska’s new head coach in late November, Matt Rhule has hit the ground running. The 47-year-old has been hitting the recruiting trail hard scouring for prospects prior to the 3-day early signing period that begins Wednesday.

Rhule and his staff have work to do. Recruiting rankings are fluid. And with the portal the most active it has ever been, things can change by the hour.

Nebraska needs upgrades everywhere. An immediate need is offensive line. Defensive positions such as linebacker, edge rusher and DT are also high priority. How Rhule pieces together his first recruiting class will go a long way in determining whether the Huskers can return to respectability sooner rather than later.

On Friday, the Huskers added kicker Tristan Alvano from Omaha Westside. The highly regarded prospect nailed 5 FGs in the Class A state championship game in late November at Memorial Stadium, including the game-winning 45 yarder. That brought the class to 16 members — and it’s now at 18 — ahead of a final weekend of sales pitches from Rhule and his staff.

Let’s take a look at what Nebraska has lined up so far.

By the numbers

Overall rank: 43rd
B1G rank: 10th
5-stars: 0
4-stars: 2

Highest rated player: Riley Van Poppel, DL, 4-star

Van Poppel from Argyle, Texas, comes from an athletic family. Dad, Todd, was an MLB pitcher with Oakland and several other teams in the 1990s and early 2000s.

The younger Van Poppel committed to Nebraska back in June and remains on the list. He’s 6-4, 270 pounds and provides Nebraska with much-needed depth on the defensive front. He committed to the Huskers over Michigan, Florida State, Arkansas, Kansas State and many others.

Princewill Umanmieien, an Edge out of Texas, joined the class late and is now the top player among 19 Nebraska recruits.

Did the Huskers bolster the QB room?

Not via the recruiting class. But Rhule is reportedly working the transfer portal.

Casey Thompson’s status remained up in the air a few days prior to Signing Day. Nebraska got a late visit from Arkansas’ Malik Hornsby this past weekend. Hornsby was the backup to KJ Jefferson this past season, but would be a huge addition to the room in Lincoln. He’d also be a great fit for new OC Marcus Satterfield’s offense.

Another portal QB, Jeff Sims from Georgia Tech, visited prior to Hornsby. Nebraska is in the mix for portal options, as Rhule and staff aren’t taking anything for granted as far as Thompson returning for his senior season.

Hornsby’s decision will be one to keep an eye on. Signing Hornsby would be a huge get for Rhule and Satterfield. He’s a kid who’s been on the big stage in the SEC and would boost the credibility of Nebraska’s offense.

Best position group: Edge

Nebraska is set to add some major talent to the edge rusher position. If 3-star Dylan Rogers signs on the dotted line this week, fans can exhale. Rogers committed back in early July, but with the coaching turnover, has been courted by several other schools. The 6-2, 235-pounder from Cypress, Texas, is a versatile athlete who can play on the edge, but also by physical in stopping the run on the inside.

Kai Wallin’s commitment on Dec. 12 was another upgrade to the defense. Wallin, a 6-6, 240-pounder from American River CC in Sacramento, California, visited both Kansas and Oregon State previously.

Legacy player Maverick Noonan from Elkhorn South HS in Omaha committed back in June. Once Rhule was hired he immediately made an in-home visit to help secure the commitment of the son of former All-America Huskers nose guard Danny Noonan. Posting pictures of Rhule playing ping pong against Maverick’s mom, Julie, the younger Noonan reaffirmed his commitment to his dad’s alma mater.

And now that Umanmieien has joined the class, the edge position is loaded.

Biggest need filled: WR

With Trey Palmer’s departure to the NFL, filling his void at receiver is a pressing need. Rhule visited with 3-star Jaidyn Doss of Peculiar, Missouri, last Thursday. Keeping Doss on board is a high priority for the staff.

Rhule loves speed. And the staff have been after SEC-type speed, especially at receiver, since they arrived in Lincoln. Barry Jackson, from Ellenwood, Georgia, runs a 11.1 in the 100. Jackson did visit Cincinnati last week, and Nebraska this past weekend. Keeping him in the class is key.

Speaking of speed, 3-star Brice Turner from Bay City, Texas, is a track athlete and a burner. His 10.48 time in the 100 is fastest among all Huskers in the early class.

Biggest potential flip: Hayden Moore, LB

Moore, from Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, Colorado, committed to NU back in June when Barrett Ruud was LB coach. Moore visited Texas A&M this past week and is obviously keeping his options open. With Ruud no longer coaching at NU, don’t be surprised to see a flip here.

With the coaching change, there’s likely to be movement right up until Signing Day. Things will be fluid. The portal remains open until January. Rhule and his staff will be busy working to find guys who fit their system.

Final takeaways

The final weekend before Signing Day in Lincoln was a big one. More than 13 visitors were on campus. Rhule and his staff were busy trying to close deals. Speed is the common theme. Rhule has always loved guys that can fly. It looks like he’s targeting the same type of players at Nebraska.

Names to keep an eye on include: Rahmir Stewart, a safety out of Philadelphia; Corey Collier, CB from Miami; Beni Ngoyi (Iowa State commit), from Lincoln High School; as well as Hornsby.

Should the Huskers nab these guys late, their class makes a jump in the rankings.

Rhule knows there’s plenty of work to be done. But he’s hit the ground running, and has made a positive impression with all the visits his staff has made. Re-establishing a footprint in the Omaha metro area is something that hasn’t happened in years. Rhule made it happen immediately with several stops at local high schools.

It’s a move in the right direction if Nebraska hopes to return to relevance.