Nebraska did its work early recruiting offensive linemen and it paid off.
Tanner Farmer (6-foot-4, 315 pounds) of Highland, Ill., DJ Foster (6-3, 310) of Lincoln Southeast and Mick Stoltenberg (6-5, 270) of Gretna all committed to the Huskers in June. To top off the class, Nebraska swooped in and grabbed Nick Gates (6-5, 275) of Las Vegas on Jan. 24.
"They’re really good,” Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said Wednesday. “It’s a good group of offensive linemen.”
Pelini had high praise for Stoltenberg, who missed most of his senior year because of a knee injury.
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"Stoltenberg, he's a guy I know who can be a heck of an offensive lineman, but also has the potential to be a tremendous defensive lineman if we go that route. A kid who’s that big and can run the way he can, can do a lot of different things for us. What we’ve talked about is we’ll play him where we can get him on the field the quickest. I think he’s a guy who’s going to be a heck of a football player down the line."
The Huskers return seniors Mark Pelini, Jake Cotton, Mike Moudy and junior Zach Sterup on the offensive line. Last year, Nebraska supplemented its freshman offensive line recruits — Dwayne Johnson, David Knevel and Zach Hannon -- with junior-college transfers Chongo Kondolo and Matt Finnin. The three freshman and Kondolo redshirted last season.
This freshman class could be different. Farmer drew a lot of late recruiting attention but remained true to his Nebraska commitment. Gates starred at Bishop Gorman, which plays a difficult schedule against top teams from other states. Foster’s Lincoln Southeast teammate, defensive back recruit Luke Gifford, says Foster was “nasty on the football field.”
-- Darnell Dickson