A top-20 class for Scott Frost will hopefully help the Huskers turn things around on the field
About 10 days before this cycle's Early National Signing Day in December came and went, Nebraska head coach Scott Frost's Class of 2020 had its studs but needed to be fleshed out in a major way. Frost and his staff were able to do that in such an impressive fashion that the period between the first NSD and February has largely been about laying the foundation for 2021.
Following a quiet second National Signing Day on Wednesday, we run over how the Nebraska Cornhuskers performed one position at a time and hand down judgment accordingly.
Scott Frost adds another physical dual-threat quarterback to the room in four-star Logan Smothers. Nebraska now has two juniors (Adrian Martinez and Noah Vedral) along with a sophomore (Luke McCaffrey) in addition to Smothers showing excellent class separation.
Final Grade: A+
With Maurice Washington's dismissal and the need to preserve Wan'Dale Robinson for his role as a Duck-R receiver, the Huskers bring in all-everything four-star prospect Sevion Morrison and hard-hitting three-star recruit Marvin Scott III. With Dedrick Mills as the only known quantity with a scholarship, it’s likely one of these two sees significant time as a true freshman.
Final Grade: A
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Nebraska locked down the best in-state prospect with Bellevue's Zavier Betts, who is skilled enough to provide an immediate threat. The Huskers also secured the nation’s No. 2 junior college prospect and probable 2020 starter Omar Manning.
The addition of four-star recruits Alante Brown and Marcus Fleming along with three-star William Nixon packs a youthful, talented wideout room for incoming offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Matt Lubick.
Considering the tight end position is crowded at this point, there wasn’t a big need for that area to be addressed.
Final Grade: A+
With a room already crammed full, the Big Red needed to be selective. They secured Kansas’ best prospect (No. 47 nationally) in Turner Corcoran. While his future is likely at offensive tackle, he showed versatility in the All-American Bowl where he displayed his talents at guard. Fellow Kansan Alex Conn has the size (6-6, 280) to grow into a suitable tackle as well.
Final Grade: B+
Nebraska went for a mixture of experience and potential with this group. Securing weight room warrior Nash Hutmacher should serve the Blackshirts well in the trenches later on, while Marquis Black gives Nebraska a project in the same aspects as Conn for the offensive line.
Junior college transfers Jordon Riley and Pheldarius Payne will look to provide some immediate assistance in the wake of defensive coordinator Erik Chinander losing his entire starting front to graduation.
Final Grade: B-
It’s no secret that this was an area of weakness for Nebraska in 2019, and Frost did an excellent job of addressing it. One of the fastest linebackers in Florida joins the interior corps in Keyshawn Greene with junior college transfer Eteva Mauga-Clements giving the Huskers competition for the likes of seniors Will Honas and Collin Miller.
At outside linebacker, we could see a fierce battle for playing time. Blaise Gunnerson provides the Big Red with a massive enforcer (6-5, 250), while Jimari Butler could develop into a beast in his own right considering his frame (6-5, 217). Junior college transfer Niko Cooper offers a similar size to Butler (6-5, 220) with a little more seasoning allowing him some time to get his feet wet, if necessary.
Final Grade: B+
Defensive backs coach Travis Fisher will have his work cut out for him in replacing Lamar Jackson. However, Fisher more than earned his paycheck this recruiting cycle. Four-star safety Henry Gray paid major dividends as a peer recruiter, and the Early National Signing Day commitment of safety Jaiden Francois was a reason for celebration.
Ronald Delancy III and Tamon Lynum give Fisher cornerbacks capable of playing both the field and boundary sides well. Perhaps the most impressive part of this haul is that all hail from Florida.
Final Grade: A+
This class is another step in the right direction for Frost. So far, he’s proven that he’s able to sell quality players on his vision in Lincoln despite poor returns thus far. Development is the next step. However, this is the kind of class that helps to not only get postseason opportunities but win the Big Ten West division.
Overall Grade: A
— Written by Brandon Cavanaugh, FWAA member and part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Be sure to follow him on Twitter (@eightlaces) and enjoy the Big Red Three and Out Podcast. To contact him, click here.