Scott Frost’s first season at Nebraska was an emotional roller coaster with plenty of disappointment before any joy hit. However, there were some positives to take away from the 4-8 campaign. One of those was — and is — the new staff’s approach to recruiting. Despite a year that was both historically good and bad at times, the Huskers’ 2019 recruiting class is ranked 21st in the nation (fourth in the Big Ten, ahead of all other West division teams) as of this writing.
This is a class that includes Omaha’s own Nick Henrich (the nation’s eighth-ranked inside linebacker prospect), the 6-foot-8 monster among men that is Minnesota offensive tackle Bryce Benhart, versatile quarterback Luke McCaffrey (son of NFL great Ed), and one of the most overall dynamic athletes in Rondale Moore clone Wandale Robinson.
These 22 players are a solid foundation, but some major upgrades could be made between now and the beginning of the early signing period (Wednesday). Here’s what appears to be the best possible outcome Frost and Nebraska fans can likely hope for as news rolls in come the big day:
* 21 of the current 22 commitments send in their National Letters of Intent. Junior college offensive guard Desmond Bland won’t be doing so this week as he’s expected to on the traditional National Signing Day in February.
* Three-star offensive tackle Jimmy Fritzsche signs with Nebraska following an offer from home-state school Clemson during a recent official visit. He made a visit to Lincoln this past weekend.
* Three-star defensive end Brant Banks signs on with the Huskers, shunning Baylor.
* Lloyd Summerall, a four-star outside linebacker candidate for Nebraska’s 3-4 scheme, surprises the entire Sunshine State and signs with Nebraska live on ESPN2’s coverage of National Signing Day (11 a.m.-12 p.m. ET). This would be considered a massive upset, but Summerall was visited by 11 Husker coaches during a recent stop. That’s the maximum number you can have out recruiting across the country at any given time, let alone in one place. Clearly, Nebraska wants Summerall in a bad way.
Florida and Miami also are being considered. However, six recruits decommitted from the Hurricanes in a little more than 24 hours following the announcement that defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was leaving to become Temple’s head coach. Being a linebacker, this could massively impact Summerall’s choice.
* Ty Robinson, the nation’s 16th-ranked strongside defensive end according to the 247Sports Composite Index, commits to Nebraska during his announcement ceremony (scheduled for 1:45 p.m. ET) in Arizona. He also was visited by the 11-member “swarm” of Husker coaches.
* In a clandestine move that we’re not supposed to hear about until The 2019 Polynesian Bowl takes place on Jan. 19, 2019, four-star safety Noa Pola-Gates sends in his NLI.
Obviously, there could be another surprise or two, but these signings seem the most realistic with Summerall being the longest of shots. After the early signing period, Frost and his staff will regroup and put together a plan as the focus shifts to rounding out the class in February. Just for reference, running back Maurice Washington wasn’t even a blip on the radar this time last year.
— Written by Brandon Cavanaugh, FWAA member and part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Be sure to follow him on Twitter (@eightlaces).