Spring Game, 4.13

White Team offensive linemen John Raridon (50) and Will Farniok (68) hold back Red Team defensive lineman Darrion Daniels on Saturday during the Nebraska spring game at Memorial Stadium.

It’s warm enough to put the top down on a Tuesday drive. Let’s get our work done and enjoy.

1. Nebraska football picked up what could be a sizable addition — in more than one way — with the verbal commitment of 2019 junior college defensive lineman Jahkeem Green. Green told Husker coaches of his decision on Sunday while driving back to Highland (Kansas) Community College, and one of that program’s assistant coaches, Judd Remmers, confirmed the pledge to the Journal Star on Monday night.

It took a confluence of factors — and some heads-up work by NU’s staff — to make it work. Green had widespread interest from SEC schools, including the likes of Alabama, before his sophomore year began, but eventually he committed to South Carolina. Green is from Sumter, South Carolina, which is just an hour from Columbia.

As it turns out, though, the 6-foot-4, 300-pounder isn’t going to qualify there (or at any SEC school) because of a quirk. Green is taking a math class online but through an outside party rather than through Highland itself, and SEC schools don’t take credits that are earned online via a third party. NU doesn’t have the same restriction, meaning it’s free and clear to take a commitment from Green and get him enrolled as soon as he graduates later this spring.

Had the Husker staff not done its due diligence, it may not have figured out the particulars of Green’s situation. Let’s not count too many chickens before they hatch, but Green’s not the type of player Nebraska is just going to regularly find within a two-hour drive. He’s got a redshirt year at his disposal if he needs it and two years of eligibility remaining.

2. Green hasn’t signed a national letter of intent and he likely won’t before arriving on campus because of the late nature of the addition. Assuming he signs, NU has a maximum of two spots remaining for the 2019 class.

Roster construction is always fluid and the first post-spring attrition came Monday when Caleb Lightbourn entered his name in the NCAA’s transfer portal.

Counting Green and subtracting Lightbourn, Nebraska has 160 players on its roster, according to Huskers.com. The exact roster cap is somewhere in the low-to-mid 150s, said athletic director Bill Moos.

Figure that NU could add up to two more scholarship players between now and August, and it figures that at least a half-dozen or more players — walk-on or scholarship — will leave the program before preseason camp begins.

We’re coming into a busy stretch in that regard on the calendar, now that spring ball is over and the end of the semester is getting close.

3. Senior defensive lineman Darrion Daniels has been an interesting figure since he first arrived on campus this winter. He earned what seemed like almost instant respect and credibility from his teammates and has become a leader in a veteran position group — and on defense in general — in a few short months.

This quote from after Saturday’s spring game on what he’s seen of the culture was interesting.

“I just know that at Oklahoma State (offense and defense) interacted with each other, of course, but it was also, the defense, we really stuck with defensive players and same with the offense,” he said. “Here, even in the locker room, there's not a D-line section or a cornerback section. Everybody in the locker room mixes and mingles. Here, the one thing that's really special is how everybody is so close.

“You've got DBs hanging out with linemen, you've got offensive linemen hanging out with linebackers, and I think it's beautiful."

4. On his Monday night radio appearance, Moos again talked about the new golf facilities that NU is working on.

Moos talked earlier this month about the conversations around the facility — with an estimated $15 million price tag — that’s being discussed for the Innovation Campus, and he emphasized the urgency Monday night.

“(Men’s golf coach) Mark (Hankins) is doing such an incredible job and we’ve got to get him that golf facility and we’re working on that very hard and I see that coming to fruition,” Moos said. “Mark is a competitor, he’s won Big Ten championships, he’s been to NCAAs many, many times. Highly regarded in college golf.”

Moos said Hankins is an adept fundraiser himself and will have input on the new facility and dropped an interesting note on why the new building is important.

“Really, golf is our only program where we don’t have a home. We don’t have a facility,” Moos said. “We’ve got the great people of Lincoln and the golf courses and country clubs that are very, very helpful for us, but we don’t have a place to call our home. …

“We lost a very, very good recruit that had committed to us — I can’t name names — because we did not have a home like that, so we don’t want that to happen again.”

Moos can’t name names, but he’s referring to Luke Kluver, the Norfolk native and two-time Nebraska state champion, who was verbally committed to Nebraska before changing his commitment to Kansas in March.

5. Much of the discussion around Fred Hoiberg’s now-official basketball staff is about all of the ways in which it’s constructed. Three guys with head coaching experience in Hoiberg, Doc Sadler and special assistant to the head coach Bobby Lutz. An offensive mind in Hoiberg and a defensive mind in Sadler. Two young, accomplished recruiters in Matt Abdelmassih and Armon Gates.

But Gates on Monday revealed what he thinks might be the secret sauce. With a nod and wink, of course.

“Around the country, we’re going to have the funniest accents in college basketball with this staff,” Gates said. “Bobby Lutz has the country accent from North Carolina. Doc has that Southern slang, Southern swing, whatever you want to call it. Our ops guy hasn’t been in place yet, but he’s supposedly from Italy and you’ll hear that as well. Then my Chicago deal. That’s’ what I love.”

Well, maybe it’s productive to have different backgrounds for reasons that stretch beyond intonation.

“We’re all cut from different cloths but Coach (Hoiberg) assembled a really good staff and we’re looking for some really good things in the future,” Gates said.

6. It’s not easy to pull prospects that are coveted by SEC schools such as Alabama, LSU, Auburn and others out of the Deep South, but one to at least keep an eye on for Nebraska fans is outside linebacker Quandarrius Robinson.

The 6-foot-4 220-pounder out of Birmingham, Alabama, enjoyed his visit to Lincoln earlier in the spring and Nebraska might just be a real threat. It’s not going to be easy, of course, but it’s a safe bet NU will continue recruiting Robinson as hard as anybody on its board.

The Jackson-Olin High standout is ranked the No. 39 player in the country for 2020 by 247Sports, and is a four-star prospect according to Rivals as well.

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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