The names to know, decisions to watch in Nebraska’s 2023 class

A sprint toward early National Signing Day on Wednesday has already produced a large number of commitments for Matt Rhule and his Nebraska coaching staff.

In the past two weeks, Nebraska has landed 10 commitments from high school or junior college players, along with three transfer portal additions.

Plenty more could join NU’s 2023 class on Wednesday as well. Here’s a breakdown.

Current commits

Of Nebraska’s 19 commits who can sign their National Letter of Intent (NLI), seven are in-state commits. That’s already the most in-state players Nebraska has taken in a recruiting class since 2002, and there’s still potential to add more. Here’s who Nebraska has committed:

OL: Gunnar Gottula (Lincoln Southeast), Brock Knutson (Scottsbluff), Sam Sledge (Creighton Prep), Mason Goldman (Gretna) and Jason Maciejczak (Pierre, South Dakota).

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RB: Kwinten Ives (Palmyra, New Jersey).

WR: Barry Jackson (Ellenwood, Georgia), Jaidyn Doss (Peculiar, Missouri), Brice Turner (Bay City, Texas) and Jaylen Lloyd (Omaha Westside).

DL: Riley Van Poppel (Argyle, Texas).

EDGE: Princewill Umanmielen (Manor, Texas), Maverick Noonan (Elkhorn South), Dylan Rogers (Cypress, Texas) and Kai Wallin (Sacramento, California).

CB: Dwight Bootle (Miami) and Syncere Safeeullah (Bradenton, Florida).

S: Rahmir Stewart (Philadelphia).

K: Tristan Alvano (Omaha Westside).

All 19 commits have been on campus for an official visit in the last two weeks, and perhaps the only prospect with uncertainty heading into signing day is Jackson. The three-star wide receiver commit visited Cincinnati in December.

Recruiting rankings

Several decommitments early in Rhule’s tenure as Nebraska head coach sent the Huskers plummeting down the recruiting rankings, but recent commitments have elevated Nebraska back up. As of Tuesday afternoon, Nebraska ranks in the top 45 nationally on three major recruiting sites — Nebraska is No. 44 nationally according to 247Sports, No. 37 in On3’s rankings and No. 34 via Rivals.

Nebraska’s position within the Big Ten also changes drastically from site to site. On 247Sports, Nebraska has the 10th-best class in the Big Ten, a mark that rises to sixth with On3 and fifth in the conference on Rivals. Naturally, Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State are far beyond the rest of the Big Ten, but Nebraska is in the same ballpark as Iowa, Northwestern and Minnesota in its rankings at the moment.

Signing day decisions

There are still several Nebraska targets who will announce their decisions on Wednesday.

Lincoln High athlete Beni Ngoyi is an Iowa State commit who fielded late interest from Nebraska that included an official visit. He’ll make his final announcement on Wednesday afternoon.

Two other players who Nebraska is seeking to flip are defensive lineman Vincent Carroll-Jackson (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) and running back Kyron Jones (Charlotte, North Carolina). Carroll-Jackson is a Syracuse commit who took an official visit to Nebraska this weekend, while Jones decommitted from NC State on Monday. Jones was also a recent visitor at Nebraska, but NU’s main competitor is Georgia, which may see Jones as a defensive back rather than a running back.

Nebraska is also waiting on a decision from linebacker Eric Fields (Ardmore, Oklahoma). Fields is an unranked linebacker prospect who only recently picked up a Husker offer during an official visit.

The final wild card is Lincoln East’s Malachi Coleman, who could either make a surprise announcement on Wednesday or hold off until the February signing period. Coleman visited Nebraska and Colorado within the last two weeks.

What about the transfer portal?

Transfer portal players are on a different timeline than high school or junior college recruits. While players can only enter the portal during specific windows, they are free to decide at any time. Nebraska has already landed three FBS transfers — long snapper Marco Ortiz (Florida), quarterback Jeff Sims (Georgia Tech) and safety Corey Collier (Florida).

Nebraska is hoping to land another Florida transfer, edge rusher Chief Borders, along with quarterback Malik Hornsby (Arkansas), edge rusher Elijah Jeudy (Texas A&M) and offensive lineman Ben Scott (Arizona State) after all four players visited Nebraska in December. None have set a final date for their decision yet.

However, NU’s biggest transfer portal target, offensive lineman Ajani Cornelius, will announce his commitment on Wednesday evening. The former Rhode Island tackle is likely choosing between Nebraska, Oregon, Tennessee and Ohio State.

What happens after Wednesday?

The early signing day has become the go-to date for high school prospects to commit, but there are still some who hold off on signing until February. The bulk of Nebraska’s recruiting has been accomplished within this December window, but it’s possible NU could look to add another prospect or two depending on how the next couple of weeks shake out.

For example, if Hornsby commits to Nebraska, one of the program’s current scholarship quarterbacks could transfer. Edge rusher Garrett Nelson could still declare for the NFL Draft, while players with additional eligibility, such as defensive lineman Colton Feist, for example, could end their college careers.

In the high school ranks, Nebraska is certain to keep recruiting Coleman until he makes a final decision. Two NU targets, cornerback Ethan Nation (Roswell, Georgia) and IMG Academy edge rusher Cameron Lenhardt, will announce their commitments during the Under Armor All-America Game on Jan. 3.

So, it’s likely that Nebraska will have at least a couple of additions or subtractions in January and February. Players have until Jan. 18 to enter the transfer portal, which will reopen again in May following the end of spring practice.

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