Finally, it’s all over. Signatures have been put to paper and the newest members of the Nebraska Cornhuskers’ roster are committed in the truest sense of the word. This class didn’t meet every need, but it gives us some tea leaves to read about what the future of Nebraska football will look like. After sorting through them, here’s what there is to see.
1. Quality, Reliable Quarterback Depth
California stud Patrick O’Brien gets all of the headlines, but former member of the Tulane Green Wave Tanner Lee is coming aboard as a transfer.
While Lee has to sit a year, O’Brien and familiar Husker signal-caller Tommy Armstrong will be battling it out to see if No. 4 can keep the title of “starter.” Regardless, the Big Red will have more than one quarterback capable of executing head coach Mike Riley’s scheme.
2. Beef: It’s What’s for Dinner
Nebraska’s 2016 class contains one of the best hauls of offensive line talent that the Huskers have brought in at once in a long time. Inside linemen Boe Wilson, John Raridon and Bryan Brokop along with tackle Matt Farniok provide offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh with four legitimate options to potentially work into the 2016 lineup.
What’s clear from these four massive monsters’ presence is that Nebraska does want to be able to impose a traditional Big Ten running game on its foes, but also be able to protect those hurling the rock. If you’re familiar with Stanford during the Andrew Luck days, that seems to be a fair comparison.
3. Following in Andy Janovich’s Footsteps
It’s no secret that Nebraska fans welcomed back the use of a traditional position in the fullback and Riley seems to have taken a shine to it. David Engelhaupt, who hails from Norfolk, Neb., may prove to be the next bruiser at the spot.
Then again, he has the athleticism to step in as an H-back or tight end. Regardless of his future, Engelhaupt’s signing along with the addition of a number of walk-ons show the Huskers are still all about turning opponents black and blue.
4. Working to Build a Dominant Front Seven
The Huskers didn’t land any standout defensive tackles, the one blemish of the 2016 class. However, they did continue to bring in quality talent at the linebacker spots and for pass rush situations.
Greg Simmons (Fort Pierce, Fla.) could provide immediate help if current Blackshirt linebacker Michael Rose-Ivey’s injuries spark back up. Quayshon Alexander's name is one that Big Red fans may become familiar with early on as well.
No doubt stacking the defensive interior will be one of the biggest goals for the 2017 class, but the Huskers have enough depth to keep the gates closed for now.
5. Highway to the Danger Zone
A pair of the nation’s best safety prospects are potential Blackshirts in Marquel Dismuke and Lamar Jackson.
Nebraska kept quite a bit of young, inexperienced talent redshirted last season. Those youngsters are ready to see live play while athletes on the level of Dismuke and Jackson can be worked in immediately.
The Big Red also brought in two quality cornerbacks in Tony Butler and Athlon Sports Recruiting All-Name Team honoree DiCaprio Bootle. Defensive coordinator Mark Banker may eventually have himself one of the saltiest secondaries in the Big Ten, if not the nation.