Nebraska has a signal-caller for its 2019 class, and he comes from a family of football royalty.
Luke McCaffrey of Littleton, Colorado, verbally committed to the Huskers on Monday afternoon, giving Scott Frost and Mario Verduzco an athletic option to add to the quarterback room next year.
— Luke McCaffrey (@mccaffrey_luke) June 4, 2018
Truth be told, McCaffrey essentially made his decision to play for Frost and Verduzco some time ago.
"A few weeks ago, I really knew that Nebraska was the place for me," the 6-foot-3, 185-pound prospect said. "My parents encouraged me to look at all the options, make sure I'm 100 percent committed. I have no doubt going into the future. There’s no turning back. The last few weeks have really let me see that and really let me know that Nebraska is the place."
McCaffrey, of course, is the son of Denver Broncos great Ed McCaffrey and former Stanford soccer player Lisa McCaffrey.
Each of his three brothers are also in the process of putting together successful football careers. Christian starred at Stanford and now is a versatile offensive weapon for the Carolina Panthers. Max is a wide receiver with the San Francisco 49ers and Dylan is a redshirt freshman quarterback at the University of Michigan.
"I just try to learn everything I can from them," the youngest McCaffrey said. "I think that’s probably one of the most important things, is just take everything I can and look at them and see what they've done. Then I just try to learn how they’ve done it and every detail they’ve used and how hard they’ve worked."
— Christian McCaffrey (@run__cmc) June 4, 2018
But while Luke has football in his DNA, to this point he's not had his chance as a full-time quarterback at Valor Christian High School.
Dylan McCaffrey started for the Colorado powerhouse through 2016. In 2017, Luke split time with Blake Stenstrom, now a freshman at the University of Colorado. Luke McCaffrey threw for 878 yards, completing more than 76 percent of his passes, and threw six touchdowns against three interceptions.
In his first three seasons, McCaffrey has played quarterback, running back, receiver, safety, cornerback, and also returned punts and kicks.
Now, though, McCaffrey is expected to get his first shot at full-time duty as a senior starter under his dad, who's the new head coach at the school in Highlands Ranch.
The lack of regular playing time didn't dissuade Frost and Verduzco, who believe strongly in their ability to evaluate young quarterbacks.
“Does he demonstrate that he can throw the ball on the move? Is all of his yardage nothing but bubbles and screen passes, that sort of thing?” Verduzco said last month of his evaluation methods. “Sometimes what you get on tape is not necessarily what you see in person, but if you know what you’re looking for and you can see the different angles on his Hudl tape, you can get a good feel of what his stroke may look like."
Clearly, Verduzco liked what he saw with McCaffrey. Not only did he complete a high percentage of his passes and average more than 12 yards per attempt as a junior, but he also rushed 80 times for 548 yards and nine touchdowns, in addition to 19 catches for 147 yards and another score.
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As a sophomore, he caught 47 passes for 717 yards and nine touchdowns. That made McCaffrey a coveted player even though he has a relative lack of experience. 247Sports' Composite rankings peg him as a four-star prospect, the No. 262 player overall in the nation and the No. 17 athlete. Per Rivals, McCaffrey is a three-star prospect and the No. 2 player in the state of Colorado.
As soon as the Huskers started showing interest this spring, McCaffrey reciprocated in a big way.
Nebraska extended a scholarship offer March 27. McCaffrey and his father made it to NU's junior day just four days later, an early sign that Verduzco was on to something. And it helped that the 41-year coaching veteran made a big impression.
"He’s awesome," McCaffrey said. "The minute I stepped foot in there and met him, that was really a game-changer. The way he coaches, I think, will really improve my game."
On Monday, Verduzco tweeted, "Cornhusker Nation, we got our guy. The future just happened... Again!!!"
Cornhusker Nation, we got our guy. The future just happened...Again!!!— Mario A. F. Verduzco (@Coach_Verdu) June 4, 2018
McCaffrey's conversations with incoming Husker freshman Tate Wildeman, a childhood friend from nearby Parker, Colorado, also helped. Lacrosse brought them together growing up and they played football for conference rivals in high school.
"I talked to him a lot," McCaffrey said. "I've known him since first or second grade, so it was good to be able to talk to him and know it first-hand."
Wildeman said earlier this spring, "(McCaffrey)’s a good player, he’s very elusive. He’s a good dude, too.”
McCaffrey attracted no shortage of interest — he has scholarship offers from Michigan, Duke, Colorado, North Carolina and many others — but he decided that the chance to play for Frost and Verduzco was too much to pass up.
"I watched a lot of (UCF) games and, just watching the offense, it was electric," McCaffrey said. "Even before they started to talk to me or recruit me at all, I looked at that offense and I thought that that would definitely be something I would love to play in."
NU's quarterback room is now really rounding into form numbers-wise. Assuming no attrition, Nebraska would enter 2019 with redshirt sophomores Tristan Gebbia and Noah Vedral, sophomore Adrian Martinez, junior walk-on Andrew Bunch and the incoming McCaffrey.
Frost has said his ideal number is five scholarship QBs, but the staff clearly thinks highly of Bunch. All four of the scholarship players have multiple years of eligibility, so the Huskers can continue to build depth by recruiting one QB per class and then responding to any further attrition as needed.
After evaluating and offering scholarships to about a dozen quarterback prospects this spring, Verduzco insisted that he was impressed with each one and would be happy to have any of them on board.
McCaffrey, the seventh verbal commitment of the Huskers' 2019 class and second in four days, didn't do the big spring and summer tour that some prospects do. He knew right away when NU offered that he was serious about his interest, so he visited immediately. Shortly after, he felt ready but he waited.
Now, he's sure.