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Nash Hutmacher

Nash Hutmacher (center) is one of the Huskers' biggest 2020 targets, and is verbally committed to Scott Frost.

He's nicknamed the Polar Bear, and who wouldn't enjoy that?

"I actually like it," Nash Hutmacher said Saturday. "It started when I was in the eighth grade or as a freshman. Some of the wrestling parents started calling me it, and it kind of grew. Now everyone knows about it. I think it's a good nickname."

The Polar Bear injected some serious heat into the Nebraska football recruiting world late Saturday morning. A native of Chamberlain, South Dakota (population 2,390), the 6-foot-5, 305-pound defensive lineman verbally pledged to join the Huskers' class of 2020.

He picked Nebraska over finalists Wisconsin and Oregon, announcing his decision on Twitter.

"The biggest reason for me is just the people," he said, first mentioning Husker second-year head coach Scott Frost. "I love the Nebraska coaches' mentality and attitude toward everything. They're really good guys and they have a winning attitude, obviously. It's where I want to be."

Hutmacher is a three-star recruit according to Rivals while earning four stars from 247 Sports. In addition to his prowess in football -- 247 Sports ranks him as the class of 2020's 27th-best D-tackle -- he is a three-time state wrestling champion. In fact, he pinned four opponents at this year's state meet in a total of 1 minute, 59 seconds.

He told the Journal Star in February he kept in near-daily touch with Frost and running backs coach Ryan Held.

"I would say for sure they've made me feel like a priority," Hutmacher said. "They're texting me all the time, and they were coming up to see me just about every week."

He said Saturday his final decision was "pretty hard" until recently.

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"As the process went on and on, I started feeling it was just Nebraska, and it was where I wanted to be, so it got easier as it went on with the more I thought about it," he said.

The defensive line is arguably the biggest need area of Nebraska's 2020 class as NU currently has five scholarship defensive linemen, including nose tackles Darrion Daniels, Carlos Davis and Vaha Vainuku. Hutmacher seems capable of playing any of the spots along the line in the Huskers' 3-4 system.

Nebraska was the first Power Five school to offer Hutmacher a scholarship. He becomes the third player in the past seven days to pledge to NU's 2020 class, joining cornerback Tamon Lynum of Orlando, Florida, (6-2, 177) and offensive lineman Alex Conn of Derby, Kansas (6-6, 275). Of the six players in the class, four are within a 500-mile radius of Lincoln -- Hutmacher, Conn, receiver Zavier Betts of Bellevue (6-3, 190) and offensive tackle Turner Corcoran of Lawrence, Kansas (6-6, 270).

Hutmacher sounded excited about his decision. He considered Saturday a major day in his relatively young life. He'll now turn his attention toward the U.S. Marine Corps junior nationals wrestling tournament, which begins July 12 in Fargo, North Dakota. That'll be his final wrestling event of the summer.

He'll shoot for a fourth state wrestling crown come February. But that likely will mark the end of his wrestling career.

He said he'll miss it "a lot." He thinks wrestling helped improve his toughness, leverage and use of his hands -- which all directly correlate to defensive line play.

"I don't think I'm going to wrestle (in college) just for the fact it's a lot of wear and tear on your body," he said. "And if I want to be really great at either sport, I probably should just pick one to do -- at that level, anyway. I'm excited to get there and play football."

Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown (School) Stars
Zavier Betts WR 6-2 190 Omaha (Bellevue West) ****
Marquis Black DL 6-4 280 McDonough, Ga. (Eagle's Landing) ***
Alex Conn OT 6-6 280 Derby, Kansas ***
Turner Corcoran OT 6-6 280 Lawrence, Kan. (Free State) ****
Ronald Delancy III DB 5-11 190 Miami (Northwestern) ***
Henry Gray DB 6-0 175 Miami (Central) ****
Rodney Groce Jr. ILB 6-2 235 Pleasant Grove, Ala. ***
Blaise Gunnerson OLB 6-5 250 Carroll, Iowa (Kuemper) ***
Nash Hutmacher DT 6-5 305 Chamberlain, South Dakota ***
Tamon Lynum DB 6-2 170 Orlando, Fla. (Evans) ***
Sevion Morrison RB 6-0 200 Tulsa, Oklahoma (Edison) ***
William Nixon WR 5-11 185 Waco, Texas (Midway) ***
Marvin Scott III RB 5-9 205 Port Orange, Fla. (Spruce Creek) ***
Logan Smothers QB 6-2 180 Muscle Shoals, Ala. ****

Reach the writer at 402-473-7440 or ssipple@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraSip.

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Husker columnist

Steven, a lifelong Nebraskan, newspaper enthusiast and UNL grad, joined the Journal Star in 1990 and has covered NU football since 1995.

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