This was just a couple years back, back when Ernest Suttles switched high schools.

New school. Suttles figured he’d try some new things.

Football? Maybe. He met with the coaches at Tampa Gaither High School.

“Got a real good vibe from them.”

Football? Sure.

Coaches decided to try him on offense. Fullback. That didn’t last long.

"The D-line coach saw me hit a couple dudes,” Suttles recalls. “He said, ‘Come here.’”

That was smart. In his first year playing football, Suttles racked up 80 tackles and 5 ½ sacks.

College coaches began to notice.

Then Suttles went and got even more, claiming 12 sacks and almost 100 tackles his senior year.

The kid in Florida did not go unnoticed by Nebraska coaches.

And after visiting Lincoln this weekend, the 6-foot-5, 240-pound defensive end decided he was committing to the Huskers.

Given that defensive linemen are probably the biggest point of need in this recruiting class, this was very good news for a Nebraska staff that now has 20 pledges in the current class.

Of those 20, five are defensive linemen. Suttles joins A.J. Natter and JUCO player Randy Gregory as listed defensive ends. Maliek Collins and Kevin Maurice are defensive tackles in the class.

Nebraska’s gain in Suttles is Iowa State’s loss. Suttles had originally committed to the Cyclones in October.

Other offers for Suttles included West Virginia, Missouri, South Florida, Kentucky and Indiana.

But Nebraska’s football history carried a certain allure to Suttles.

“It’s kind of funny how things work,” Suttles said. “You see programs on television one day, and then another the coach is offering you.”

Defensive coordinator John Papuchis played the lead role in recruiting Suttles.

The recruit said he liked that Husker coaches didn’t overdo it when making the sell to come to Lincoln.

“There was no sugarcoating,” he said. “It was really, ‘Here it is and take it how you want it.’ You can always respect that in a person.”

On his visit, coaches told him of the opportunity that was there to make a difference early in his career.

“But in the end it’s up to me, and my work ethic when I go up to Nebraska this summer,” Suttles said. “That is my plan to be an immediate help. But that all relies on my shoulders.”

After hosting Suttles and four other recruits this past weekend, Nebraska has another big one ahead, with five more visitors expected, according to Rivals.com and FoxSportsNext.com.

Anticipated visitors are offensive linemen Matt Finnin (Glen Ellyn, Ill.), Dwayne Johnson (Houston, Texas) and Chongo Kondolo (Fresno City Community College in California). Also expected are defensive back Boaz Joseph (Weston, Fla.) and Husker four-star linebacker commit Marcus Newby (North Potomac, Md).

Reach Brian Christopherson at bchristopherson@journalstar.com or 402-473-7439. You can follow him on Twitter @HuskerExtraBC.


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