Nebraska’s been trying to fortify its group of young pass-rushers for some time now and the closer signing day comes, the more it looks like that project will have to wait. 

The Huskers' top remaining outside linebacker prospect, Steven Parker (Dallas), gave his verbal commitment to Kansas on Monday afternoon, one day after junior college pass-rusher Soni Fonua (Mesa (Ariz.) Community College) pledged to LSU. 

Parker was once verbally committed to Texas Tech and took a visit this past weekend to Kansas, committing shortly after returning. 

Parker, listed at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, entered January as one of the more decorated pass-rushers still available and quickly became a Nebraska target. He visited Lincoln on Jan. 11 and the Huskers visited his high school in the weeks that followed. 

Parker finished his senior year at South Oak Cliff with 91 tackles (31 for loss) and 20 sacks along with four forced fumbles for the area powerhouse. That was enough for The Associated Press to name him the Class 5A Defensive Player of the Year. 

NU had three pass-rushers visit in January in Parker, Fonua and Dylan Jordan, who committed to TCU in late January. 

The Huskers will now most likely enter spring ball with December signees Garrett Nelson (Scottsbluff) and Jamin Graham (Attalla, Alabama) as their only incoming outside linebackers. Nelson is already on campus as an early enrollee, while Graham is slated to arrive this summer.

It is possible that NU pursues a transfer at the position after spring ball, but that conversation will depend on needs in other areas and also how many spots the Huskers have available.

It does appear there could be some flexibility. Nebraska has 26 signees and four spots remaining under a hard cap of 30, which extends all the way to the beginning of the season.

With Parker’s decision out of the way, attention mostly turns toward receiver De’Mariyon Houston’s decision, which is expected to come Wednesday, the opening of the signing period.

Houston visited Lincoln the same weekend as Parker and has not taken other officials since.

The only other players among Nebraska's 43 known official visitors who remain uncommitted are running back John Bivens (Dayton, Ohio) and defensive backs Tavian Mayo (Leesburg, Georgia) and Jamel Starks (Decatur, Georgia). 

The Huskers' 2019 class currently ranks No. 14 in the nation (No. 3 in the Big Ten) per Rivals and and No. 19 (No. 4 in Big Ten) per 247Sports. 

Contact the writer at pgabriel@journalstar.com 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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