Spring Game, 4.13

Nebraska recruit Turner Corcoran (middle) watches warmups before the Red-White Spring Game on April 13 at Memorial Stadium.

Let’s take a drive and check in on some Nebraska recruiting.

1. Some players who verbally commit to a school do some peer recruiting once they’re on board, while some do little or none.

Then there’s Nebraska’s four-star offensive tackle pledge Turner Corcoran (Lawrence, Kansas). He talked some about his pursuit of players such as Xavier Watts (Omaha) and Blaise Gunnerson (Carroll, Iowa) when he announced his commitment earlier this month and told the Journal Star’s The Pipeline podcast this week that he’s excited just to be part of the process overall.

“The table turns for me, and it’s time for me to recruit guys now,” said Corcoran, a 6-foot-6, 280-pounder. “It makes it a hell of a lot easier on the staff because they have a recruiter on board like myself and (fellow verbal commitments) Zavier Betts and (Logan Smothers). It’s really awesome. It’s surreal; I can’t wait to get back up there and be around the guys some more.”

Corcoran’s recruitment is in the books, but his stock as one of the premier offensive line prospects — and one of the best high school seniors in the country overall — might not be done rising.

In 247Sports’ latest composite rankings, which takes multiple services’ ratings into account, Corcoran checked in at No. 31 overall in the nation and the No. 4 offensive tackle.

A couple of superlatives on that front: Currently, the 247Sports composite has 29 players ranked as five-stars. Then offensive lineman Justin Rogers (Oak Park, Michigan), then Corcoran.

That puts Corcoran squarely in the five-star conversation as the cycle continues.

Also, if Corcoran finished the cycle with his current 247Sports Composite ranking of .9825, he’d be the third-highest-rated signee Nebraska’s had by that system behind only Marlon Lucky (2005) and Chris Septak (2000).

2. Speaking of Smothers, the Huskers’ 2020 quarterback is in the midst of a high school transition. Smothers transferred from Athens to Muscle Shoals High recently, returning to the town where he and his family lived when he was younger. His dad, Shane, is returning to Muscle Shoals High for a job.

Smothers jumped right into track season at his new school and ran 10.89 seconds in the 100 meters, :22.36 in the 200 and :51.41 in the 400, according to athletic.net. He’ll be chasing hardware at the state meet in all three.

Then he’ll turn his attention back to football and his senior season this fall before enrolling at NU in January.

It's worth at least mentioning that at Muscle Shoals, he'll be reunited with friend and linebacker Jackson Bratton, a four-star 2020 prospect currently verbally committed to Alabama. Bratton, not surprisingly, has a Husker offer. 

Side note: Smothers recently posted highlights from his standout junior football campaign at Athens. Husker fans will enjoy them.

3. This isn’t the last time this topic will be explored, but a strong tier of recruits is forming in Nebraska for the 2020 cycle after the two players — Betts and Watts — that the Huskers have offered.

Bellevue West’s Jeyvon Ducker (Purdue), Johnson-Brock’s Ty Hahn (Wyoming), Kearney’s Miko Maessner (Ohio) and Lincoln Southeast’s Isaac Gifford (Oregon State) each have at least one FBS offer and a wide swath of FCS interest.

Hahn picked up an offer from South Dakota on Tuesday and has had a strong showing this spring in camps, running a 4.65-second 40-yard dash at 6-2 and 180 at a recent camp. Ducker, who has starred alongside Betts for head coach Michael Huffman, ran :4.62 along with impressive overall athleticism numbers at the same camp in St. Louis.

The Huskers are already going to have a smaller class — perhaps considerably smaller — in 2020 than 2019 and think the class can be special.

It’s going to be very interesting to watch how much more high-level interest this group gets — to say nothing of other quality high school prospects such as Kohl Herbolsheimer — as spring and summer progress and senior seasons begin.

Is there another NU offer in the bunch? Too early to say, but there’s certainly no lack of interest in the next set of Nebraska kids for 2020.

4. Nebraska coaches are on the road again this week and continue to put out a raft of offers.

Tuesday’s set included several players in St. Louis, at least one in Arkansas and Ohio, and activity on the West Coast. Defensive line coach Tony Tuioti is in the Bay Area, stopping by the school of coveted defensive line prospect Jamar Sekona (Marin Catholic) and other schools like City College of San Francisco.

Among the new offers, 6-4, 240-pounder Noah Arinze (Webster Grove, Missouri) came to a junior day in Lincoln earlier this year and in the past five days has picked up offers from Missouri, Oklahoma and the Huskers. He's one to keep an eye on. 

5. Food for thought: CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd put together a post-spring football top 25 and had the Huskers at No. 17.

He wrote, “How do the Cornhuskers show up in the top 25 after a 4-8 season? Nebraska responded nicely under Scott Frost after an 0-6 start. Quarterback Adrian Martinez should take a giant leap forward.”

Other Big Ten schools on the list: No. 6 Ohio State, No. 9 Michigan, No. 13 Wisconsin, No. 20 Penn State, No. 23 Minnesota, No. 24 Northwestern and No. 25 Iowa.

When does football season start?

6. The best thing on Twitter today comes from NU outside linebackers coach Jovan Dewitt, who’s been battling a form of throat cancer.

Dewitt, undoubtedly, will keep fighting the good fight.

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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