The early enrollees have arrived at Nebraska
The spring semester doesn’t begin for Nebraska until Monday, Jan. 22, but the Huskers’ early enrollees have already made their way to campus.
The spring semester doesn’t begin for Nebraska until Monday, Jan. 22, but the Huskers’ early enrollees have already made their way to campus. The group moved in Saturday, Jan. 13 and quickly hit the ground running (weather be damned).
Nebraska joked that move-in day was going to build character early, and that’s no surprise with temperatures in the negative-degree range. Even this weather may be just a bit too cold to get the Huskers out on the field like they did in February 2023, although Nebraska also suggested that strength and conditioning coach Corey Campbell should “get the prowlers ready.”
Back to the early enrollees though. Of the 29 players that signed in Nebraska’s 2024 recruiting class, 16 are expected to enroll early and participate in spring ball. That includes quarterback Daniel Kaelin and wide receiver Dae’vonn Hall, both of whom were looking forward to the move-in date when we spoke one week ago.
“I'm ready to get on campus, I'm ready to start the playbook, I’m ready to start the workouts, all of that,” Hall said. “I'm ready to get in the wide receiver room with Malachi (Coleman) and all of those guys.
“It's really just counting the days at this point.”
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Hall is living with tight end Keelan Smith and defensive back Mario Buford — their fourth roommate hadn’t been assigned yet when we spoke — while Kaelin is living with offensive lineman Grant Brix.
For Kaelin, he is already familiar with Brix after having spent plenty of time together. That includes a trip to the All-American Bowl in San Antonio earlier this month, alongside tight end Carter Nelson. It still feels surreal though that the time has come to enroll and start this Nebraska chapter.
“I feel like the weird part is that it's gotten here so quick,” Kaelin said. “I know it's just going to be a great experience because Nebraska is a really good school. Obviously football is what I'm really looking forward to but I’m also fortunate to have a really good roommate.
“Grant's my guy. He’s funny and he’s kind of goofy, but I think we’re both pretty chill and we’re definitely going to enjoy each other’s company. I think he’ll be a good roommate, not just because he’s a good dude but because he’s a hard worker. I’m excited to get to work with him, especially since he’s the one blocking and protecting me in the game.”
Kaelin is also ready to put his recruiting days behind him. He originally committed to Missouri, but decommitted from the Tigers and instead committed to Nebraska in late May 2023. This was right after quarterback Dylan Raiola committed to Georgia and the Huskers’ staff turned their attention to Kaelin.
Things got even more interesting in December when rumor started that Raiola might flip to Nebraska. Would Kaelin stay? Would he go? A visit to Michigan State was on the table, but the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Elite 11 quarterback decided not to go to East Lansing. He instead stuck with his commitment, signing with Nebraska on the first day of the early signing period.
Raiola — who is a five-star quarterback and also an Elite 11 member — will challenge Kaelin. Kaelin’s ready for it, saying that the two quarterbacks will only push each other — and the entire quarterback room — to be better. The opportunity ahead inspires Kaelin, which has allowed him to put the rollercoaster of the recruiting experience in the rearview as he looks ahead to what’s next.
“I think at this point it is all behind me,” Kaelin said. “There were so many different things that happened in the recruiting process that were definitely blessings and incredible opportunities, but a lot of things that didn't go as planned or kind of twists and turns.
“I'm just really excited to just finally be here, get to work and be a part of a program that I've wanted to be a part of for so long. I'm just really pumped.”
Here is the full list of early enrollees (in alphabetical order by last name):
WR Jacory Barney
OL Grant Brix
DB Mario Buford
TE Ian Flynt
DB Roger Gradney
DB Rex Guthrie
WR Dae’vonn Hall
JACK Willis McGahee IV
QB Daniel Kaelin
DL Ashton Murphy
OL Gibson Pyle
QB Dylan Raiola
LB Vincent Shavers
TE Keelan Smith
DB Larry Tarver Jr.
DB Evan Taylor
Other news and notes heading into the week:
>> Nebraska football is hosting a Junior Day next weekend, so expect to see more announcements like this one trickle out via Twitter (still not calling it X) and other social media platforms. One of the more notable announcements so far has come from 2026 offensive tackle Jackson Cantwell, considered the No. 1 OT in that class right now.
This won’t be Cantwell’s first visit to Nebraska. He visited the Huskers for the 2023 spring game too.
As of now, Nebraska has around 20 known visitors scheduled to be in Lincoln next weekend.
>> Leyla Blackwell, a 6-foot-4 middle blocker, announced on Instagram that she will transfer from San Diego to Nebraska. She has one season of eligibility remaining.
Interestingly enough, Blackwell is familiar with Big Ten volleyball. She started her career at Indiana in 2020 before transferring to play for the Toreros. While at San Diego, she played in 87 matches and made a trip to the 2022 Final Four with the team. In 2023, she averaged 2.25 kills per set while hitting .329, and had 1.24 blocks per set.
>> I’m not personally ready to talk about Nick Saban's retirement just yet, but maybe all of this weather is some sign of hell freezing over. Just kidding (maybe). Kalen DeBoer — who was hired away from Washington to replace Saban — is as good of a hire as you can get. He has big shoes to fill (and that’s putting it very lightly) but his departure from Washington also makes things interesting in the Big Ten.
Nebraska won’t face Washington in 2024 unless the two meet in the conference championship, but it still makes things interesting. Who will take over? That was the question through the weekend and we got our answer Sunday night: Washington hired Jedd Fisch, who most recently spent three years as the head coach at Arizona.
It is being reported by the Athletic and ESPN that Fisch’s deal with Washington is for seven years and an average of $7.75 million annually. He will be formally introduced on Tuesday, January 16th.
The original draft of this newsletter was telling you to have a flight tracker ready this week, but guess we don’t need it after all. Thanks, Washington!