Nebraska is more than two-thirds done with their 2015 recruiting class with nearly five months remaining until Signing Day. With 12 verbal commitments and a maximum class size of 17-18 due to NCAA scholarship limits, NU can only take five or six more players in this class. That being the case, they’ve begun working hard on 2016 and even 2017. Rivals has verified 58 Nebraska scholarship offers to 2016 prospects.
The work on the 2016 class has already paid off with a pledge from Lincoln (Christian) tight end Jared Bubak (6-4/240). Bubak, listed as a 3-star prospect by Rivals.com, plays quarterback for his high school because he’s the best athlete on the team. NU likes him as a tight end, though, as do schools such as Tennessee, Wisconsin and Arkansas who were all close to offering him before his pledge to the Huskers.
At this summer’s Rivals Camp Series in Chicago, Bubak was named the No. 11 Top Underclassmen. He will likely be the No. 1 prospect in Nebraska for 2016, and will serve as the unofficial “ambassador” for that recruiting class.
In addition to Bubak, NU has hosted or will host a number of other highly-ranked 2016 prospects this month for unofficial visits. These visits have been very productive. Eleven of NU’s twelve 2015 pledges visited unofficially for a game, and seven of them actually committed during their trip.
Offensive linemen Matt Farniok (6-5/310) of Sioux Falls, SD and John Raridon (6-4/275) of West Des Moines, IA are arguably the Huskers’ top two targets at that position for 2016. Farniok, who has older brothers playing at both Iowa State and Oklahoma, was in Lincoln for the Miami game. The crowd and NU’s domination up front against the Canes certainly impressed him.
“I liked the game and how loud the fans were,” Farniok told Husker Online. “I also liked how well the offensive line for Nebraska did in running the ball. I’ve never really been to a game that was that loud.”
He’s in no hurry to make a commitment, planning to wait until midway through his senior season to decide.
Raridon, whose father Scott played at NU in the 1980s, will visit for the Illinois game September 27.
Other offensive linemen on those two visit weekends include Matt Kegel (6-5/295) of Chaska, MN, and Bryan Brokop (6-5/280) of New Lenox (IL).
Kegel holds a Minnesota offer and is getting attention from Miami, Michigan State, Oklahoma State and Pittsburgh. He also commented on the fan support.
“That was the loudest game I have ever been too,” Kegel told 247Sports. “It was quite the game, I had a fun time. Overall it was an awesome experience. Coach (Barney) Cotton was good to talk to also.”
Brokop already has a Husker offer as well as tenders from Duke, Illinois, Indiana, NC State and Syracuse and will visit for the Illinois game Sept. 27.
Miami Official Visitors
Nebraska also hosted eleven official visitors for the 2015 class, including four who are already committed to the Huskers. Of the seven uncommitted, three were already pledged to other schools.
Nebraska committed prospects who made their official visits included defensive back Eric Lee (5-11/184) of Highlands Ranch, CO, twin defensive linemen Carlos (6-3/270) and Kahlil Davis (6-3/270) of Blue Springs, MO, and offensive lineman Christian Gaylord (6-7/290) of Baldwin, KS.
Lee has been a strong peer recruiter for Nebraska during this recruiting cycle, and that continued for him Saturday. He told Husker Online, “I definitely got to talk to Jackson Perry and then Kenneth McGruder. I think those are the two kids that I talked to the most out of all of them. I hung out with Jackson a little bit after the game. They are all great kids and I hope that they eventually come to Nebraska.”
Offensive lineman Jackson Perry (6-2/275) of Las Vegas, NV, appears to be NU’s top remaining offensive line target. The coaches like him at guard, and possibly center. Perry is highly-regarded academically as well, holding academic offers from Harvard, Yale and Columbia along with his NU tender. Perry’s mother visited with him and, as important as it is to impress the recruit, impressing mom is also a high priority. Mission accomplished for NU.
Love Perry, Jackson’s mother, told Husker Online, “I value, of course, family so I wanted to see who would be there to support him because we will not be there, obviously… the education side is important to me too and I got to see all about that. So I’m very thankful for that.”
Jacksonville (FL) linebacker Andre Smith (6-0/225) committed to North Carolina in October of 2013. Smith watched Nebraska’s Gator Bowl practices in Jacksonville last December which played into his choice to visit Lincoln, and he’s also close with Husker freshman defensive back Chris Jones as the two played on the same 7-on-7 team as youths. Nebraska intrigued him.
“It’s definitely a place I’ll look deeper into,” Smith told Huskers Illustrated. “They didn’t put any pressure on me; they showed me the place, gave me the information and told me to think about it. It was cool, because I felt like one of the players, and I’m not even on the team or committed. They make you feel at home, and part of the family.”
Defensive back Kahlil Haughton (6-1/178) of Waco, TX, holds offers from Arkansas, Baylor and Oklahoma. His visit was a bit of a surprise, as he listed a top 5 that didn’t include the Huskers. His trip to Lincoln put Nebraska in the mix, however.
“I think I fit in well,” Haughton said to Huskers Illustrated. “The players are from all over the country so there is a lot of diversity, but it’s pretty unique. I got along with the coaches great as well. The game was amazing and the fans are probably some of the best I’ve ever seen.”
QB Lamar Jackson (6-2/185) of Boynton Beach, FL, pledged to Louisville in late August but kept his plans to visit Lincoln public even after the decision.
“It went good,” Jackson told Husker Online. “It was better than I thought it was going to be, like the atmosphere for the game. My mother came with me. She really liked it too. Coach Beck… said I could make their offense electric. “
Jackson is still committed to Louisville, though the door is slightly cracked.
“I’m just keeping my options open,” he said. “I don’t really have a favorite right now. Nebraska is still one of the schools I’m considering too, along with West Virginia, Auburn and UCF. I really don’t know yet when I will have [a final decision].”
Receiver Tavin Richardson (6-3/214) of Duncan, SC, has visits set to UCF and Louisville along with offers from Florida, Kentucky and Virginia that he’s considering. Richardson is a big-bodied receiver from traditional powerhouse Byrnes High School. NU only threw 13 passes against the Hurricanes, but that didn’t deter Richardson.
“(The coaches) were telling me how the program is and how they run their offense. They said that they throw the ball, but if the defense is playing the pass that they will run the ball,” he told Husker Online.
Richardson’s mother also accompanied him, which was important because her opinion will weigh heavily in his choice.
“She said that she loved the trip. She liked the coaches the most, and about the academics how the team GPA is over 3.0. Basically, I’m going to go wherever my mom and family can get along with the coaches, and things like that.”
Visitors who were still on campus as the Journal went to press included Oklahoma State safety commit Kenneth McGruder (6-2/203) of Houston, Texas, as well as uncommitted defensive back DeShawn Raymond (6-0/180) of Metairie, La. and uncommitted defensive end Reuben Jones (6-3/223) of Lakeland, Fla.
Check www.fcjournal.net for additional visit updates on McGruder, Raymond and Jones.