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Spring Game, 4.13

Nebraska recruit Turner Corcoran (middle) watches warmups before the Red-White Spring Game on April 13 with fellow Husker verbal commits Logan Smothers (left) and Blaise Gunnerson (right).

The coming days are going to feel a little bit foreign to Nebraska coach Scott Frost and most of his coaching staff.

That’s because this is the first time Frost, in his fourth year as a head coach and second year at NU, has actually had a planned bye week since he first took over at Central Florida before the 2016 season. Both years there, weather wiped out a game and forced rescheduling. Then, the same thing happened here last fall when lightning scuttled the Huskers’ season debut against Akron.

That gives Nebraska the luxury of an in-season break for the first time under Frost. While the players had a couple of days off this week — Frost said the team planned to practice Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday — much of the staff will be out on the road recruiting from now through the end of the week.

“It gives us a chance to recruit, get around our families a little bit — Coach Frost is big on that — but it also gives us a chance to get out and see some of the guys,” tight ends coach Sean Beckton said last week. “We can see some of the guys and some guys that we have targeted that we want to look at and see how they’ve progressed their senior year.

“So we’ll all kind be of getting around and we’ll be all across the country.”

The priority for the coaching staff is to get out and see the 14 players who have already verbally committed to Nebraska for the 2020 class. That includes players as close as Zavier Betts in Omaha and offensive linemen Turner Corcoran and Alex Conn a couple of hours away in Kansas, and as far away as defensive back Henry Gray and running back Marvin Scott in south Florida.

Quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco will be in northern Alabama on Friday night to watch committed quarterback Logan Smothers and his 8-0 Muscle Shoals High teammates, Smothers’ father and Muscle Shoals offensive coordinator Shane Smothers told the Journal Star this week. Muscle Shoals takes on Athens High (6-1), where Logan played and Shane coordinated the offense until this season, for the regional championship.

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The Husker coaching staff will also, of course, check in on some players who they’ve offered and are actively recruiting for the 2020 class.

“Guys that we want to take a little bit more of an evaluation with,” Beckton explained. “Maybe those guys that have been here (on an official visit) and then also some of the guys that we still have some questions about.”

Then there’s an opportunity to get eyes on a lot of players in future recruiting classes.

On Thursday alone, players such as 2021 standouts AJ Green (Broken Arrow, Oklahoma) and Keuan Parker (Tulsa) and 2022 CJ Brown (Beggs) were offered in the Tulsa area alone, a region recruited by running backs coach Ryan Held. The Huskers also have player who's verbally committed in Tulsa, too, in Edison High running back Sevion Morrison, who has piled up more than 2,000 yards and 15 touchdowns so far in his senior season. The Eagles hosted Hale on Thursday night.

As for the 2020 class, Nebraska currently has 14 verbally committed players in a group that ranks No. 29 according to the 247Sports Composite rankings and No. 33 according to Rivals. Of that group, four — Gray, defensive back Ronald Delancy (Miami), linebacker Rodney Groce (Pleasant Grove, Alabama) and defensive lineman Marquis Black (McDonough, Georgia) — have joined since the regular season began.

“That’s a tribute to the coaching staff and what we’re doing with communication and also the product that we’re putting on the field,” Beckton said last week, before Black, who he was heavily involved in recruiting, joined the fold. “The biggest thing for us is when we get kids here, the gameday atmosphere has been really, really good for us. Those guys have been able to get involved after the game in seeing what we do off the field with academics and our life skills and whatnot. I think the biggest thing so far is they have seen the atmosphere and the vibe and the way the team approaches everything.”

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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