Ronald Thompkins

Ronald Thompkins plays at Grayson High School in Georgia, which also has produced current Husker linebackers Mohamed Barry.

Consider this weekend the opening salvo of a five-week recruiting blitz for Nebraska.

It’s not as though the Husker staff has backed off over the past weeks — NU’s gained five verbal commitments since Sept. 1 — but this will serve as the unofficial kickoff to the stretch run that culminates with the early signing period on Dec. 19.

Nebraska would likely have benefited from an afternoon kickoff against Michigan State in order to help get high school prospects to campus in time but still has more than a half-dozen 2019 recruits slated to be on campus for official visits.

The headliner is consensus four-star defensive end Ty Robinson from Gilbert, Arizona.

Robinson, listed at 6-foot-6 and 285 pounds, who has family relations on his mom’s side in Nebraska and has been to campus before, will squeeze in an official visit despite the fact his Higley High team has a playoff game at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

That will make for an early morning and a long weekend, but Robinson has NU among his final choices and wants to experience a game atmosphere at Memorial Stadium.

“Super-athletic, he’s powerful, he’s quick,” Higley coach Eddy Zubey said. “He’s just a beast. He commands a double-team. It’s super-obvious on film. We move Ty around and the quarterback will point Ty out and move the running back to the other side. They run away from him. They don’t run at him.

“He’s a great kid, very hard worker, loves the weight room. He’s a leader both verbally and with his work ethic.”

Robinson’s already been to USC and Oregon and then will take his final known official visit next weekend to Alabama for the Iron Bowl.

Robinson, who 247Sports considers the No. 180 player overall in the nation and Rivals pegs at No. 134, has seen his recruitment explode in the past 12 months as he’s established himself as one of the most dominating players in the Southwest.

“It’s all well-deserved and it’s all well worth it,” Zubey said. “He’s one of those types of kids that could go to the Alabamas, the Nebraskas, and go in there and play at an early age.”

In addition to Robinson, the Huskers are set to host defensive back Myles Farmer (Atlanta) and California junior college linebacker Dru Mathis (Moorpark College) and four-star outside linebacker Lloyd Summerall (Lakeland, Florida).

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NU is also set to host a trio of 2019 players already verbally committed to the program in junior college running back Dedrick Mills (Garden City, Kansas), running back Ronald Thompkins (Grayson, Georgia) and defensive end Mosai Newsom (Waverly, Iowa).

Mills, a former freshman All-American at Georgia Tech, has rushed for 1,358 yards and 19 touchdowns for undefeated GCCC, which is off until it takes on East Mississippi Community College in the national championship game Nov. 29.

Thompkins tore his ACL in the first half of the Rams’ first game of the year and has now had reconstructive surgery on both knees, but Grayson recruiting coordinator Kenyatta Watson said he’s moving well two-plus months post-operation and has been a big boost to his team as it pushes into a Friday night playoff game against Norcross.

“We have stud sophomore running back (Phil Mafah) and Ronald has done an amazing job of mentoring that kid,” said Watson, who added that Thompkins is coming to Lincoln with his brother and his sister. “Helping him through the playbook, just being a big support for him on the sideline. He’s still locked in.”

Watson’s son, Kenyatta Jr., is a touted cornerback prospect and a Texas verbal commit who trains in the Atlanta area with Farmer. That’s allowed the elder Watson to see the Husker target up close and personal.

“Stud,” Watson said of Farmer. “That’s the only way I know to describe him. Once he’s in college, I really think he’s going to be an outside linebacker. He’s 6-3 about 205 right now. He’s a big-ass kid. He’s a hard worker, he’s got unbelievable ball skills. He can play.”

At one point, University High teammates Zay Flowers and Joshua Sanguinetti (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) were thought to be visiting Lincoln this weekend, too — Flowers told the Journal Star this week he still planned to make it — but it appears those trips will have to wait.

NU has only used 20 of its 56 official visits for the 2019 cycle entering this weekend, though, and December will undoubtedly feature a torrid recruiting stretch for the staff, especially since there will be no bowl to prepare for.

The Huskers have 20 verbal commitments and up to 10 more available spots. There are many others to keep an eye on — Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College defensive back Markquese Bell and Alabama verbal commit defensive back Brandon Turnage (Oxford, Mississippi) among them — and many players such as 2020 offensive lineman Turner Corcoran (Lawrence, Kansas) and 2021 pass-rusher Travion Ford (St. Louis) who will be on campus on unofficial visits.

Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown (School) Stars
Matthew Anderson OT 6-7 250 Leesville, La. ***
Brant Banks DL 6-8 285 Houston (Westbury Christian) ***
Bryce Benhart OT 6-9 305 Lakeville, Minn. (North) ****
Desmond Bland OL 6-4 300 Flossmoor, Ill. (Arizona Western C.C.) ****
Darien Chase WR 6-1 175 Vancouver, Wash. (Union) ****
Myles Farmer DB 6-3 180 Atlanta (Westlake) ***
Jimmy Fritzsche OL 6-7 250 Greenville, S.C. ***
Jamin Graham OLB 6-6 240 Attalla, Ala. (Etowah) ***
Jackson Hannah ILB 6-3 220 Nashville, Tenn. (Montgomery Bell) ****
Nick Henrich ILB 6-4 210 Omaha (Burke) ****
Chris Hickman TE 6-5 220 Omaha (Burke) ***
Rahmir Johnson RB 5-10 170 Oradell, N.J. (Bergen Catholic) ****
Michael Lynn OT 6-7 300 Englewood, Colo. (Cherry Creek) ***
Luke McCaffrey QB 6-3 185 Littleton, Colo. (Valor Christian) ***
Dedrick Mills RB 5-10 227 Waycross, Ga. (Garden City C.C.) ***
Jamie Nance WR 6-0 170 Blanchard, Okla. ***
Garrett Nelson OLB 6-3 235 Scottsbluff ***
Mosai Newsom DE 6-5 260 Waverly, Iowa (Waverly-Shell Rock) ***
Quinton Newsome DB 6-2 180 Suwanee, Ga. (North Gwinnett) ***
Ethan Piper DL 6-4 275 Norfolk (Catholic) ***
Ty Robinson DE 6-6 285 Gilbert, Ariz. (Higley) ****
Wandale Robinson RB 5-9 180 Frankfort, Ky. (Western Hills) ****
Garrett Snodgrass ATH 6-3 225 York ***
Ronald Thompkins RB 6-0 203 Loganville, Ga. (Grayson) ***
Javin Wright DB 6-3 195 Chandler, Ariz. (Hamilton) ***

Contact the writer at pgabriel@journalstar.com or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraPG.


Sports writer

Parker joined the Journal Star as the University of Nebraska football beat writer in August 2017. He previously covered Montana State athletics for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2012.

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