Friday Night Lights II, 6.21

Class of 2020 defensive back Joshuah Moten (Fort Washington, Maryland) makes his official visit to campus during June's second Friday Night Lights camp at Memorial Stadium on Friday.

We’re going to need the AC at full blast by the time this drive is over.

1. In the eight-plus months since the NCAA introduced the transfer portal as the new vehicle by which student-athletes change schools, the number of transfers has spiked in football and across sports.

On Wednesday, the NCAA “clarified” some of its guidelines to determine when to issue a waiver and allow a student-athlete to play immediately rather than sitting out the typical one year.

“The changes were acknowledged as minor adjustments to the waiver process intended to clarify the requirements, prompt more involvement from athletics directors and give guidance to members as they submit waivers,” the NCAA wrote in a release, which also referred to its own changes as “noncontroversial.”

Essentially, the guidelines appear to ask for more specific and more extensive paperwork and documentation from a student-athlete's new school, including in situations where a student-athlete is trying to transfer close to home because of a personal or family illness or injury situation.

None of the NCAA’s transfer rules actually changed, only the guidelines by which waivers are or are not approved.

Clearly, though, the transfer issue in general is not going away any time soon.

2. Ty Hahn had interesting insight last week not only to how Nebraska’s new summer recruiting barbecue event worked, but also into his conversations with NU about potentially earning a scholarship.

Hahn, the Johnson-Brock standout, said the coaching staff has been upfront with him.

"They've said they really want me and that, in trying to turn the program around so quickly, they want to plug and play with some kids and they're trying to get some of the top talent in the nation, which is very understandable," Hahn said. "Just as to where things stand with me, in the bigger picture as other kids commit down the road, that'll be kind of where I come into play." 

Among the most interesting in-state storylines is whether the Huskers offer another in-state player for the 2020 cycle. Hahn and Lincoln Southeast athlete Isaac Gifford are among the potential candidates, though based on Hahn’s comments and the general feeling around the football program, another in-state offer may only come much closer to the end of the cycle this winter.

3. One of the most frequent questions I’ve been asked this week is, “Who’s next?” As in, who is the next verbal commitment for Nebraska’s 2020 class? 

So far this week defensive back Tamon Lynum (Orlando, Florida) and offensive lineman Alex Conn (Derby, Kansas) pledged on Sunday and Monday, respectively, before linebacker Malik Reed (Chandler, Arizona), picked Wisconsin over the Huskers on Tuesday.

There’s no such thing as a sure thing in recruiting, but here are some candidates:

Josh Moten: The four-star defensive back from Maryland visited NU officially last weekend and is planning to announce his verbal commitment to a school on July 2. Moten recently decommitted from Penn State before visiting Texas A&M and the Huskers.

Blaise Gunnerson: The talented outside linebacker from Carroll, Iowa, visited Nebraska officially June 14 and Iowa State last week and will pick between those two schools. A decision could come any day now, though Gunnerson has not laid out a specific timeline.

Sevion Morrison: The running back from Tulsa, Oklahoma, was another weekend visitor for the Huskers. The three-star back, listed at 6 feet and 180 pounds, also has offers from Washington, Arkansas, Baylor and Missouri but clearly feels strongly about NU and running backs coach Ryan Held.

“That’s like my best friend,” Morrison said of Held, who was the first to offer him a scholarship.

Nash Hutmacher: The big defensive lineman from Chamberlain, South Dakota, makes the list because he’s asked about frequently, but he’s less likely to be next. Hutmacher told the Journal Star earlier this month that he wants to focus on wrestling before making a decision later in July.

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“I’m probably just going to focus on wrestling right now and focus on training,” he said June 9.

Cody Simon: NU’s got a tough battle on its hands for the 6-2, 215-pound four-star linebacker from Jersey City, New Jersey. He told Rivals this week that his other two finalists are Ohio State and Penn State. He’s visited all three this month. Simon is being recruited heavily by Husker assistant Barrett Ruud and also head coach Scott Frost.

4. Speaking of Reed and Hutmacher, there’s quite a trio of 2020 recruiting battles shaping up between Nebraska and Wisconsin.

The Badgers landed Reed after he visited both places and Hutmacher also has both schools among his final three, along with Oregon.

Then there’s outside linebacker Kaden Johnson (Minneapolis), a 6-4, 200-pound four-star recruit who’s among the most highly ranked pass-rushers in the Midwest.

Johnson visited NU unofficially during spring ball and took his official visit to Madison just before the dead period. It’ll be interesting to see if the Huskers can get him back on campus for an official visit early in the regular season.

Johnson, who plays at Minnehaha Academy, is ranked the No. 106 player overall in the country (No. 8 OLB) by 247Sports and the No. 133 player overall (No. 12 OLB) by Rivals.

5. Nebraska recently made the top groups for a couple of highly touted 2020 prospects.

First up is Hawaii wide receiver Roman Wilson, who included NU among nine schools on a list that also includes Michigan, Wisconsin and a host of Pac-12 schools.

Then there’s four-star defensive back Darion Green-Warren, a four-star prospect from Harbor City, California. The Narbonne High standout said via Twitter this week that his final six is NU, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Georgia and hometown USC.

6. A couple of former Huskers and Lincoln Southeast grads are raising money for a good cause this week.

Outside linebacker Luke Gifford and offensive lineman Jerald Foster are raising money for Boys 2 Men, a leadership group founded by Foster’s father, Jesse.

They’ll be at Whitehall Mansion from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday signing autographs and said on Twitter that their goal is to raise $10,000.

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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