Put a bow on another signing class for Nebraska
Wednesday marked a quiet signing day for Nebraska, but that was to be expected. It still included a new scholarship signee, and a few preferred walk-ons.
Wednesday marked a quiet signing day for Nebraska, but that was to be expected. The February date isn’t the one circled on many calendars anymore thanks to the early signing period in December.
With that said, Nebraska was waiting on one commitment to cap off its 2024 class and the Huskers got that commitment on Wednesday. As Brandon highlighted Tuesday, Keona Wilhite — a 6-foot-5, 240-pound defensive lineman from Tucson, Arizona — was leaning toward Nebraska over UCLA and Michigan State. He made it official just before 3 p.m. CT.
Not long after, coach Matt Rhule met with the media and said that Wilhite is “exactly the kind of player we’re looking for.”
"When you're that big and that athletic, it's a no-brainer," Rhule added.
Counter Read is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support our work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
While Wilhite was the only scholarship commitment Wednesday, Nebraska did announcefive preferred walk-on signees. Those athletes are:
>> Edge Jordan Ochoa from Castle Rock, Colorado
>> Safety Kahmir Prescott from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
>> Tight end Danny King from Bloomington, Minnesota
>> Running back Ryker Evans from Elwood, Nebraska
>> Athlete Rowdy Bauer from Norfolk, Nebraska
With the addition of Wilhite, Nebraska now sits at 104 scholarships on its roster. That’s over the 85-man scholarship limit by, well, a lot and Rhule knows that. He isn’t concerned about it though.
“People have stopped me on the street like, ‘Coach, how are we going to do this, scholarship-wise?’” Rhule said. “It’ll happen. Don’t worry. I know what I’m doing.”
If you want to keep track, just know that Nebraska doesn’t need to hit that 85 number until fall so the Huskers have time. Attrition is always expected, especially after spring ball.
As a reminder (and we shared this in December):
The current FBS transfer window opened Dec. 4 and runs through Jan. 2, 2024. It’s unlikely we’ll see too many Nebraska players leave in the next couple of weeks, so the spring transfer window is the bigger one to watch.
The spring window opens April 15 and runs through April 30. With Nebraska’s spring game set for Saturday, April 27, it seems likely those few days following would be when the largest number of players would enter the portal.
We’ll check back in following the spring game.
As for how Nebraska’s 2024 class looks, ESPN ranked the Huskers No. 21 on its list Wednesday. A few of those highlighted were quarterbacks Dylan Raiola and Daniel Kaelin, as well as tight end Carter Nelson. Cornerback Mario Buford is highlighted as the top defensive commit. How ESPN sees it is as Rhule assembles his first full class in Lincoln, “he is scoring some key victories on the recruiting trail as well as adding some underrated talent to develop.”
Sounds about right.
Let’s recap a little more from Wednesday’s availability with Rhule:
>> Nebraska made some headlines when new quarterbacks coach Glenn Thomas was announced, especially when co-offensive coordinator was attached to his title. However, Rhule clarified on Wednesday that offensive coordinator and tight ends coach Marcus Satterfield “will be in charge” of the room.
Rhule also said that Satterfield’s “aggressive personality” is a better fit to coach the tight end room versus quarterbacks.
>> A few Huskers will likely miss spring ball due to injuries. Rhule listed Turner Corcoran, Gabe Ervin Jr., Malachi Coleman and Princewill Umanmielen as those he doesn’t expect to see on the practice field this spring.
Corcoran, who hurt his foot late last season, may not return until fall camp.
>> Not that Nebraska really has the room for it on the roster at this point, but don’t expect Rhule to go after a quarterback in the transfer portal. Instead, he’s “all in” on the three quarterbacks Nebraska already has — Heinrich Haarberg, Raiola and Kaelin. The biggest thing for Rhule is that he’s not particularly interested in bringing in a player for one year, which is most likely what the Huskers would be looking at in the portal.
“Bringing a guy in for one year is not ideal for me,” he said.
>> Another roster update from Rhule: he confirmed the departures of guard Ethan Piper and linebacker Kaine Williams.
>> Rhule wasn’t able to be in attendance for his players that made their collegiate track and field debuts on Saturday — we have more on the three from Monday — which he joked they noticed.
“They said I only care about the big guys,” Rhule said. “But I’m really proud of those guys. What they are doing is really hard.”
As for why Rhule wasn’t there, you can blame the end of the recruiting period. However, having players run track — Coleman is also interested in doing so at some point — actually could help Rhule find “really, really fast” athletes on the recruiting trail.
As for those participating in other sports now, which includes Nash Hutmacher, Rhule shared how impressed he is with their work ethic.
“It’s amazing with Nash. He wrestles on Sunday and he’s in the indoor (facility) with us training on Monday,” Rhule said. “Jeremiah and those guys, Friday morning 6:30 a.m. they’re out there doing their runs with us and then they’re competing on Saturdays.”
Again, it all comes down to competition. Rhule will never complain about that.