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2022 OL Valen Erickson picks Nebraska over several Midwest suitors, including in-state Illinois

2022 OL Valen Erickson picks Nebraska over several Midwest suitors, including in-state Illinois

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Valen Erickson

Valen Erickson, a 6-foot-6, 310-pound offensive lineman from Chicago, committed to Nebraska football's 2022 class Friday.

Parker Gabriel and Steven M. Sipple discuss the "vibe" around the Nebraska football team on the eve of fall camp.

Nebraska found an offensive lineman it liked this spring and moved swiftly.

It paid off this summer.

The Huskers on Friday landed a verbal commitment from Valen Erickson, a Chicago offensive lineman who only first started earning widespread attention back in April.

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That’s when the high school football season in Illinois finally got played after the state postponed the fall season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Erickson (6-foot-6, 310 pounds) showed well enough for St. Rita High in Chicago for the Huskers to offer in mid-April. Two weeks later, he attended the Red-White Spring Game on his own.

Over the next couple of months, Erickson steadily added scholarship offers. Even as recently as June 7 and 8, he landed offers from Louisville and in-state Illinois, respectively.

By that time, he had already taken his official visit to Lincoln.

Erickson made a return trip to Nebraska for an unofficial visit late this week and was able to see the Huskers' open camp. That was enough for him to make up his mind and decide he was ready to commit. 

He picked up offers from all over the Midwest and ultimately picked the Huskers over Cincinnati and Missouri. 

Erickson is the first offensive line prospect in the 2022 class for Nebraska. At the college level, the Huskers believe he could end up either at tackle or at guard.

The Huskers also hosted Ashton Craig (Lawrenceburg, Indiana) and Jake Maikkula (Littleton, Colorado) on official visits in June. Craig later verbally committed to Notre Dame and Maikkula is expected to make his decision in the coming days. He had Nebraska in his top eight, but also seemed drawn to Stanford after the Cardinal offered him a scholarship. 

NU during June extended an offer to Colorado offensive lineman John Pastore, who was on campus multiple times and impressed during camps and a private workout. 

Nebraska now has nine verbal commitments and room for perhaps only five or so more high school players, unless the NCAA changes its rules about who counts toward the 2022 85-man roster limit. The Huskers may take one more offensive lineman, but could also decide that one high school player is enough for the class. 

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


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Husker football reporter

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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