Red-White Spring Game, 4/21/18

Nebraska head coach Scott Frost watches the Red team on offense during the Red-White Spring Game in April. Frost says assistants who are good coaches are usually good recruiters, too.

The only real decision Scott Frost made in regard to his staff when he left Central Florida to be the head coach at Nebraska was a simple one: He wanted everybody to join him.

Much is made across college football about which assistant coaches and head coaches are the best recruiters.

Some assistants around the country are thought of as recruiting “aces" maybe even more so than as football coaches, but Frost doesn’t seem to lend that sort of term much credence. In fact, at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago, he was asked about balancing recruiting prowess and coaching prowess in building a staff.

His answer made clear where his priorities rest.

“I’ll start with this,” Frost said. “When people go around the country and say, ‘That coach is a great recruiter,’ usually that’s because they’re not following all the rules.

“Most guys that I’ve seen that are great coaches are really good recruiters, too. If you’re talented enough and smart enough to figure out how to do one, you’re usually pretty good at the other. I also have some guys that are really good human beings and that makes them able to relate to young men really well. That formula’s worked well for us.”

Nebraska, of course, has been recruiting essentially nonstop since Frost and his staff took over in December. They landed 16 new players in less than two months to finish with a 2018 class that ranked in the top 25 nationally according to both Rivals and 247Sports and now are hovering around the top 25 with 14 verbal commitments to date for 2019.

The recruiting challenge of NU: Frost likened recruiting at Nebraska to recruiting at Oregon in the sense that both campuses are removed geographically from traditional recruiting hotbeds and major population centers.

“I think if you look at the history of college football, it’s challenging to win outside of those areas,” he said. “Probably in my lifetime, you can think of Nebraska with Coach (Tom) Osborne and Oregon with Chip (Kelly) and Mark (Helfrich) and maybe Colorado when they were winning national championships as the only schools that really excelled and were at the top of college football for an extended period of time outside of a highly valued recruiting area.”

Frost, though, maintains that it’s possible to win big, specifically in Lincoln.

“We’re going to have the type of program that will bring kids in from all over the country,” Frost said.

The Huskers are certainly backing up that statement. In addition to four in-state verbal commitments to date for 2019, NU has two pledges from Oklahoma and one each from Colorado, Iowa, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, New Jersey, Tennessee and Illinois (by way of Arizona Western Community College).

You figure at least there more states — California, Florida and Texas — will be added to that list by National Signing Day, as will several others.

Defensive backs here there and everywhere: Speaking of Oregon, two players with connections to the Huskers pledged to the Ducks in the past two days. Bryan Addison, a top-100 player for 2018, committed to Oregon on Tuesday after receiving a release from his scholarship at UCLA. Addison visited NU last fall and considered the school again this time around, but is headed for Eugene. Same with Elijah Blades (Arizona Western), who committed to the Ducks’ 2019 class Wednesday. Blades signed with NU in 2017 but didn’t qualify and opted for Arizona Western. He’ll play there this fall before heading to Oregon.

A common thread: Donte Williams recruited both to NU. Now he’s an assistant at Oregon.

Meanwhile, defensive back Quinton Newsome (Suwanee, Georgia) put the Huskers in his top three on Monday along with Georgia and Auburn and said he planned on announcing his commitment in the near future.

Newsome is listed at 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds and is considered a three-star prospect by both 247Sports and Rivals.

Rivals reported recently that three-star corner Tavian Mayo (Leesburg, Georgia) has the Huskers in his final group and is planning on a fall visit. Others in contention: Duke, Georgia Tech and Iowa State.

Aloha, Hawaii connection?: Nebraska has offered several 2019 players from Hawaii. One of them is four-star offensive lineman Enokk Vimahi (Kahuku) who put NU in his top eight earlier this month. Vimahi is considered a top-100-type player in the nation.

It will be a long wait to find out where he’s headed, though. Vimahi tweeted Wednesday that he’ll announce his decision at the Polynesian Bowl, which takes place in Hawaii on Jan. 19.

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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