Nebraska football recruiting: 5 takeaways after Day 1 of the Early Signing Period
There wasn’t much drama for Nebraska during the first day of the Early Signing Period on Wednesday as all 19 high school recruits who were expected to sign did so by around noon.
Earlier in the season, Nebraska also got a commitment from Chris Kolarevic, a 6-1, 230-pound grad transfer from Northern Iowa who started there for 2 seasons at middle linebacker. With Collin Miller’s football career being ended due to injury and Will Honas in his senior year, the Huskers will gladly take the experienced Kolarevic.
According to 247sports, Nebraska’s 2021 class currently sits 7th in the B1G and 23rd nationally. Here are 5 takeaways from the Huskers’ class:
Thomas Fidone is the guy
There’s no doubt about it — Fidone (cover photo) is the star of this class. The 6-5, 230-pound 4-star out of Council Bluffs, Iowa, is the top tight end in the country and 41st-ranked player overall. He stayed with Nebraska after being pursued hard by Iowa, LSU and just about everyone else.
Fidone is the guy in this class, and he’s ready for the expectations that come with that. Here’s what he said to Husker 247’s Michael Bruntz:
“Obviously I have a lot to prove and I’m going to go in and hopefully prove to the coaches and to myself that I belong,” Fidone said.
Fidone joins a loaded tight end room in Lincoln as Jack Stoll, Austin Allen and Travis Vokolek could all be back next season. Allen and Vokolek are both juniors, while Stoll, a senior who was slowed this season by a knee injury, hasn’t decided yet if he’ll come back.
But here’s the great thing about a talent like Fidone — he doesn’t need to be used exclusively at tight end. The Lewis Central product can probably line up away from the offensive line as more of a receiver, which is a group fans would like to see more out of next season.
It’s not clear if the quarterback room got better
Nebraska’s lone quarterback recruit for the 2021 class is 3-star in-state product Heinrich Haarberg of Kearney Catholic.
There’s potential for this to work out, of course, but I don’t get the sense that Husker Nation is that excited about Haarberg, who’s going to be regarded as a project.
Haarberg is rated as the No. 17 dual-threat quarterback in the nation and held offers from Boston College, Vanderbilt, Wyoming and NC State, among others.
Nebraska’s quarterback situation is an interesting one. Junior Adrian Martinez still doesn’t look right throwing the ball, while redshirt freshman backup Luke McCaffrey looks more like a receiver or running back than a Division I quarterback. The book is still out on freshman Logan Smothers, who has yet to see the field.
Is Haarberg someone who can come in and push for a starting spot in 2 or 3 years? I’m not sure. And with quarterbacks, you’d like to be sure.
The wideouts got better — and bigger
Recently, Nebraska’s receivers haven’t had much size to them. The 2021 class will help change that with the additions of 3-stars Latrell Neville (6-3, 195) and Shawn Hardy (6-3, 190). Neville, from Missouri City, Texas, had an Alabama offer. Hardy, from Kingsland, Ga., had Ohio State and LSU offers.
Not only did the receiver room improve on Wednesday, but so did the tight end room. We’ve already mentioned Fidone, but Nebraska also added 3-star in-state products James Carnie (6-5, 220) and AJ Rollins (6-6, 220).
The tight end group in Lincoln is looking really solid for the future. Will they have a quarterback to accurately throw them the ball?
What about Dickerson?
Omaha Westside 4-star corner Avante Dickerson tweeted early on Wednesday that he wouldn’t be signing with Minnesota, the school that he’s been committed to since April.
I would like to announce that I will not be signing along with my teammates. I am simply not ready to make a final decision that will impact my future as a student athlete. I will be at the signing at Westside high school to support my teammates but not available for questions.
— AD #28 (@_dickerson1) December 16, 2020
If Nebraska could somehow flip Dickerson, that’d be a major coup for Scott Frost and Co. The Huskers are set on losing senior corner Dicapio Bootle, and had a few defensive backs in the 2020 class from Florida transfer away in Henry Gray, Ronald Delancy and Jaiden Francois.
Dickerson, the top-rated recruit in Nebraska and the No. 8 corner in the nation, would be a major help.
Kamonte Grimes is the most intriguing guy
Michigan really wanted Kamonte Grimes to play defense, and tried to sell him on playing a role similar to what Jabrill Peppers did in Ann Arbor. But Grimes, a consensus 3-star athlete from Naples, Fla., will get an opportunity to play offense at Nebraska, and that obviously made the difference.
If one watches just a few plays from Grimes’ film, they’d see a physical playmaker with the ball in his hands. Nebraska’s receivers need someone like Grimes, a 6-2, 220-pounder.
Nebraska hasn’t had much luck lately with keeping recruits from Florida in Lincoln (the Huskers have had 5 of their 2020 recruits from Florida transfer), but Grimes seems to be the kind of guy Frost is looking for. According to the Omaha World-Herald, Grimes is a 4.0 student.
Grimes picked Nebraska over Ohio State, Kentucky, Miami and North Carolina.