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Noa Pola-Gates

Noa Pola-Gates (left) of Williams Field in Gilbert, Ariz., is part of a four-man defensive back recruiting class for Nebraska in 2019.

College football may be in the midst of a recruiting dead period, but there is still plenty happening behind the scenes.

The dead period only means that college coaches can’t visit high school prospects or host them on campus, which leaves plenty of time for communicating via phone or message.

Nebraska and schools all over the country are working to get their ducks in a row when the contact period resumes Jan. 11. At that point, there are about four weeks to get out and see players and four weekends to host them on visits.

Husker coach Scott Frost on Dec. 19, the early National Signing Day, outlined where he thinks his program’s priorities lie as it looks to add to the 24 players already signed for 2019, pointing to outside linebacker, defensive back and receiver — while also maintaining that the Huskers can afford to take a best-player-available-type approach — for the program’s final spots.

Nebraska can take up to 30 scholarship players overall for the class and signed 23 plus graduate transfer defensive lineman Darrion Daniels (Oklahoma State) in the early period.

That number will bump to 25 if NU ends up signing junior college running back Dedrick Mills (Garden City CC) and could go to 26 if Mills and juco offensive lineman Desmond Bland (Arizona Western) both sign.

So with anywhere between four and six spots remaining, the Huskers are currently in the process of setting up visits in addition to looking ahead to 2020 and beyond.

Some of the remaining targets for 2019 have been on the board for a while, such as four-star defensive back Noa Pola-Gates (Gilbert, Arizona). Pola-Gates is currently in San Antonio for the All-American Bowl and is likely hearing a lot about Nebraska from signees defensive lineman Ty Robinson, offensive lineman Bryce Benhart and all-purpose back Wandale Robinson, each of whom are also playing in the game.

Cornerback Tavian Mayo (Leesburg, Georgia) has also been in the picture for a long time. It will be interesting to see if the coaching change at West Virginia alters his recruitment at all.

Others just came into the picture recently, like outside linebacker Dylan Jordan (Pittsburg, Kansas). The three-star pass-rusher didn’t have a Power Five offer until the Huskers came calling on Dec. 26. Since then, he’s picked up offers from Kansas State, Kansas and Utah.

Jordan tweeted on Wednesday that he'll be visiting NU the weekend of Jan. 26. 

The growing list of recently offered pass-rushers that could visit NU in January includes Michael Lockhart (Birmingham, Alabama), Steven Parker (Dallas), Eugene Asante (Chantilly, Virginia, and the younger brother of Larry Asante), and Soni Fonua (Mesa CC in Arizona).

The leading receiver candidate seems to be four-star Charles Njoku (Wayne, New Jersey), who was offered in December. If another defensive back visits in January, perhaps its DJ James (Spanish Fort, Alabama), who is currently committed to Mississippi State but did not sign.

Nebraska has some flexibility in terms of visits. By the Journal Star’s count, NU has used 36 of 56 visits for the 2019 cycle, which runs through the end of July. Any leftover visits after the February signing date can be used in the spring and summer for 2020 prospects.

Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown (School) Stars
Matthew Anderson OT 6-7 250 Leesville, La. ***
Brant Banks DL 6-8 285 Houston (Westbury Christian) ***
Bryce Benhart OT 6-9 305 Lakeville, Minn. (North) ****
Desmond Bland OL 6-4 300 Flossmoor, Ill. (Arizona Western C.C.) ****
Darien Chase WR 6-1 175 Vancouver, Wash. (Union) ****
Myles Farmer DB 6-3 180 Atlanta (Westlake) ***
Jimmy Fritzsche OL 6-7 250 Greenville, S.C. ***
Jamin Graham OLB 6-6 240 Attalla, Ala. (Etowah) ***
Jackson Hannah ILB 6-3 220 Nashville, Tenn. (Montgomery Bell) ****
Nick Henrich ILB 6-4 210 Omaha (Burke) ****
Chris Hickman TE 6-5 220 Omaha (Burke) ***
Rahmir Johnson RB 5-10 170 Oradell, N.J. (Bergen Catholic) ****
Michael Lynn OT 6-7 300 Englewood, Colo. (Cherry Creek) ***
Luke McCaffrey QB 6-3 185 Littleton, Colo. (Valor Christian) ***
Dedrick Mills RB 5-10 227 Waycross, Ga. (Garden City C.C.) ***
Jamie Nance WR 6-0 170 Blanchard, Okla. ***
Garrett Nelson OLB 6-3 235 Scottsbluff ***
Mosai Newsom DE 6-5 260 Waverly, Iowa (Waverly-Shell Rock) ***
Quinton Newsome DB 6-2 180 Suwanee, Ga. (North Gwinnett) ***
Ethan Piper DL 6-4 275 Norfolk (Catholic) ***
Ty Robinson DE 6-6 285 Gilbert, Ariz. (Higley) ****
Wandale Robinson RB 5-9 180 Frankfort, Ky. (Western Hills) ****
Garrett Snodgrass ATH 6-3 225 York ***
Ronald Thompkins RB 6-0 203 Loganville, Ga. (Grayson) ***
Javin Wright DB 6-3 195 Chandler, Ariz. (Hamilton) ***

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


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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