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Friday Night Lights, 6/22

Nebraska head football coach Scott Frost watches drills with Friday Night Lights camp participants at Memorial Stadium.

Make sure the windshield wipers work on a rainy Monday, because we're taking a drive. 

1. A monthlong college football recruiting dead period is underway as of Monday.

Although coaches and players can still communicate, there are no visits — official or unofficial — allowed.

Some schools tried to have big groups of official visitors in the days before the dead period started, while the Huskers opted for a recruits' barbecue Friday afternoon, then a final Friday Night Lights camp in the evening. 

In the future, it will be interesting to see how the Husker coaching staff approaches June. Not to say there will be wholesale change — head coach Scott Frost has made it clear that he wants to use official visits during the fall when prospects can take in a game at Memorial Stadium —  but they will actually have official visits to work with in the summer of 2019. 

2. For this recruiting cycle, the most intriguing June/dead period storyline is Omaha Burke standout linebacker Nick Henrich. 

All along, the four-star inside linebacker has maintained he wants to, if possible, make a decision before his senior season with the Bulldogs gets rolling. On that timeline — and remember, he has every right to alter it if he feels the need to — the weeks leading up to the recruiting dead period would, for the most part, represent his last, best chance at visiting schools. 

We know Henrich made an official visit to Wisconsin on the weekend of June 15 and then followed that up with a Monday unofficial visit to Nebraska last week.

Henrich confirmed to the Journal Star over the weekend that those two were the last visits he took before the dead period began.

That, of course, doesn’t rule out any other school, but if Henrich does indeed make his decision before Burke begins its season, that would mean that Wisconsin got the penultimate visit and the Huskers received the final in-person swing. 

Those two schools likely feel best about their chances to sign the 6-foot-4, 210-pounder. 

For what it's worth, recruiting services seem to sense some momentum on Nebraska's side. 247Sports' Crystal Ball has flipped and now shows five of six predictions for the Huskers, with one for Notre Dame. 

It's something certainly to keep an eye on as the calendar turns to July and we march through the summer. 

3. In talking with Jerald Foster and Mick Stoltenberg for the Journal Star’s Sunday story about The Program, I asked about having guys such as Eric Kapitulik, who spent time as a Marine special forces commander, around the program.

Foster said it was a good experience, and that those guys get your attention fast given their distinguished military careers, but also made an excellent point about the Huskers' unique situation. 

In his eyes, NU is already lucky that way.

“We have Damian, so being able to see somebody that really pushes themselves past what a regular person’s limits are, we get to see that every day. It’s amazing.”

Jackson, a redshirt freshman, is a large human being and, obviously, an accomplished one, too. 

I watched part of last weekend's lineman camp with a guy who knows a lot of football but isn't local. When I told him who Jackson was, he said, "Holy ****, that's a player? I would have sworn he was an assistant strength coach or something." 

4. NU 2019 verbal commitment Garrett Nelson (Scottsbluff) worked out as a defensive lineman at the Huskers’ lineman camp last weekend and as a linebacker Friday night.

He showed athleticism and explosion in both and looks like a really good athlete. NU fans are going to like this guy.

The lineman camp gave Nelson a chance to work under the watch of seniors such as Stoltenberg and Freedom Akinmoladun.

“I was talking to Freedom after camp and he was, like, ‘Man, I can’t believe I’m going to be gone by the time you get here.’ I said, ‘You’re going to miss me, huh?’ And he said, ‘No, you’re going to miss me!’ We just laughed. With Luke (Gifford) and Mick and Freedom leaving, I got my offer around Freedom and Mick. They’ve coached me for two years now. Definitely guys I look up to and guys I will continue to look up to in the future.”

5. Norfolk Catholic running back Dylan Kautz picked up a preferred walk-on offer from Minnesota over the weekend. 

Kautz (5-8, 178 pounds) is among the state's fastest players and added more evidence at FNL II last week, running 4.44 seconds in the 40-yard dash and winning the fastest man competition among running backs. 

He rushed for more than 2,400 yards as a junior and racked up 24 touchdowns. Kautz is part of the next wave of Nebraska's 2019 recruits that could see their respective recruitments pick up with big senior seasons. Put Lincoln Southwest linebacker Caden McCormack and Lincoln North Star athlete Luke Reimer (he verbally committed Friday to South Dakota State) in the same boat. 

The congratulations does seem a bit premature, considering Henderson hasn't tweeted that he's committed or even, for that matter, that Nebraska has offered him a scholarship. Nor has anybody on the coaching staff indicated that NU has a new commit via the normal Twitter celebrating. 

Contact the writer at pgabriel@journalstar.com or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraPG.

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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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