Judging by the conversations they’ve had on the phone over the past few weeks, Nash Hutmacher knew he had a good relationship budding with new Nebraska defensive line coach Tony Tuioti.
That was proven correct during Hutmacher’s official visit to Lincoln this weekend.
“The first couple conversations I had with him when he first got there, I enjoyed talking to him,” Hutmacher said. “Going on the visit really solidified that. I really enjoyed my time with him and getting to know him a little bit better.”
The 6-foot-5, 300-pound lineman from Chamberlain, South Dakota, became the first official visitor to NU for the 2020 cycle and had the place pretty much to himself, meaning he got to spend a lot of time with Tuioti and head coach Scott Frost and also got to know several of the Husker players.
“One of my big goals on this visit was to get around some of the players and talk to them and hang out with them and get to know them a little bit,” said Hutmacher, who has been to campus four times now and spent most of his time with freshman outside linebacker Garrett Nelson and redshirt freshmen defensive linemen Tate Wildeman and Casey Rogers. “I loved hanging out with those guys. It was a lot of fun.”
Hutmacher said he ate with Frost and visited with him throughout the weekend.
“Every time I’ve talked with Coach Frost he just seems like a really good dude and I like him a lot,” Hutmacher said. “Every conversation I’ve ever had with him has been enjoyable. I really, really enjoy Coach Frost.”
It’s already been a big spring for Hutmacher, who’s considered a four-star prospect by 247Sports and a three-star by Rivals and is widely considered one of NU’s top priority recruits for the current cycle. Just last week, he won a national wrestling championship at the USAW folkstyle nationals in Iowa.
“It’s the first part of the triple crown, which is a big goal of mine,” Hutmacher said. “You’ve got to win folkstyle nationals, freestyle and Greco nationals.”
So he’ll spend the spring handling school and also competing in track and field for Chamberlain. The next big mile marker in his football recruitment is an official visit to Wisconsin in early June. Hutmacher has said previously that his top three consists of NU, UW and Oregon.
Then, he’ll take aim at the triple crown over the remaining summer.
After the folkstyle nationals, TrackWrestling pegged Hutmacher as the No. 8 overall wrestling prospect in the nation for 2020 and the top-ranked heavyweight. He has the chance to continue to back those rankings up as the summer goes on and then will wrestle for Chamberlain again next winter. He’s never lost since he’s been in high school — Hutmacher’s been wrestling varsity since he was in the seventh grade — and will shoot for a fourth state title next year.
That, though, will be the end of his wrestling career, he says. He’s planning on focusing solely on football once he goes to college.
“Obviously I’m going to miss the sport of wrestling a lot, but my theory on it is if I really want to be a really good football player, I’m going to have to kind of dedicate my time to that,” Hutmacher said.
Hutmacher already naturally weighs nearly 300 pounds and part of the difficulty would be continuing to put on good weight for football compared with the weight limitations in wrestling.
“That would be a challenge and then just the wear and tear that would be on your body if you tried to do both sports in college,” Hutmacher said.
For the Huskers, Hutmacher’s visit is just the start of what will assuredly be a busy recruiting stretch. They will host a big group of prospects, mostly on unofficial visits, for the Red-White Spring Game and then the coaches will be out on the road recruiting for most of May. Last year, the bones of the 2019 class really came together between April and June.
NU has two verbal commitments so far for 2020. Quarterback Logan Smothers (Athens, Alabama) committed last summer and then in-state wide receiver Zavier Betts (Omaha) jumped on board last week.