Let’s kick off the week with a drive with some recruiting talk.
1. Even though four-star Class of 2022 linebacker Devon Jackson (Omaha Burke) says some teams have dropped off in how frequently they communicate with him in the wake of his junior season being canceled, he still has an impressive list of suitors.
He hears regularly from Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Arizona State, Missouri and, of course, Nebraska.
Contact with Notre Dame cooled off for a month, but only because the Irish had to find a new defensive coordinator when Clark Lea was hired as Vanderbilt’s head coach and then new coordinator Marcus Freemen had to get up to speed.
“There was a month where he didn’t really want to talk to me — not because he didn’t like me, but because he knew he was going to be gone — then Coach Freeman came in two weeks ago and I’ve already talked two or three times. So Notre Dame, they’ve picked it back up. I just talked to Coach Freeman (on Thursday) actually."
The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder is well aware of who’s stayed in contact and who hasn’t, so NU’s persistence will work to its benefit. Jackson, though, has plenty of options and will be a big challenge for the Husker staff to land in the coming months.
2. Jackson ran into Notre Dame freshman Xavier Watts at Burke in recent weeks and said he’s getting the hard sell from his former teammate.
“He loves it. Over the winter break, we had to go to the school — (Burke head coach Paul Limongi) named me a captain, so I was at the school — and Xavier was there just to see us and say what’s up. He was telling me, ‘You know what the move is. We need to be teammates,’ and he was making jokes. He’s recruiting me hard. He seems to like it and I can’t wait to go see it.”
3. Recruits using social media is nothing new, but three-star 2022 linebacker Ernest Hausmann has direct testimony as to how much it can make a difference.
The Columbus High standout had a conversation with head coach Craig Williams about making sure to get his highlights out where they were easy for coaches to find, and it worked in expanding his recruitment beyond regional offers like Nebraska and Kansas.
“Ernest started putting a lot of his film out there on Twitter and those sorts of things, and that’s actually where he’s made a couple of contacts with these coaches,” Williams said. “Like Virginia, a Virginia contact through (social media) turned into an offer.”
4. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Hausmann’s recruitment blossomed during his junior season after he moved to linebacker and receiver.
As a sophomore, he started for Columbus as a cornerback.
“I love defense and I think coaches like my instincts on the defensive edge,” Hausmann said. “They like my aggressiveness and nose for the ball, the football IQ and being very explosive. I love to hit people.”
Everybody is recruiting Hausmann on the defensive side of the ball. So far, he said, the Husker staff likes him as a future inside linebacker.
“Ernest works as hard as any young man I’ve ever been around in football,” Williams said. "… He put on 15-18 pounds in the offseason and it’s solid muscle. Just the physicality he showed this year, he moves so smooth on the field, so effortless, and I think coaches started to notice that.”
5. The NCAA approved a couple of blanket rule alterations due to the coronavirus pandemic recently, including allowing college coaches to start directly calling Class of 2022 players today.
The phone lines are going to be busy.
6. One nonrecruiting note to close it out.
ESPN’s Bill Connelly put out his annual list of the college programs that have the most returning production overall. Not surprisingly, the Huskers rank very high on defense and not as far up the list offensively.
According to Connelly’s metrics, NU has 88% of its defensive production returning, tops in the Big Ten and No. 9 nationally. On offense? Just 56%, which is No. 69 nationally. Overall, the number checks in right in the middle at 72% (No. 60 nationally).
Our favorite staff images from the 2020 Husker football season
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