Nebraska is on the board for 2022 and its first verbal commitment is from within the state's border.
Columbus linebacker Ernest Hausmann announced Sunday morning his commitment to the Huskers, marking the program's first verbal pledge for the current cycle and giving NU an early in-state win.
"I'm really excited about it," Hausmann told the Journal Star. "I'm all in with Nebraska. One of the things I decided was I want to go to a school that I'm 100% into. There's no questions asked. I'm about to go 100 miles per hour at it.
"It's going to be exciting."
Hausmann, listed at 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, has seen his recruitment explode in the past couple of months. He went from an unheralded recruit who earned his first offer — from Nebraska — back in November to having offers from around the country in a matter of a couple of months.
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"When you see a kid like Ernest and you know where he came from and how much he's grown in the last few years, it just makes you feel good as a coach that all of his hard work is being validated," Columbus coach Craig Williams told the Journal Star recently.
Hausmann played cornerback and wide receiver as a sophomore, but put on good weight before his junior season, moved to linebacker and opened college coaches' eyes with his athleticism and strength.
“I love defense and I think coaches like my instincts on the defensive edge,” Hausmann told the Journal Star recently. “They like my aggressiveness and nose for the ball, the football IQ and being very explosive. I love to hit people.”
Said Williams, "Ernest works as hard as any young man I’ve ever been around in football. 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."
Hausmann said earlier this year that he was hoping to take some visits and see other college campuses when the NCAA's recruiting dead period ended, especially as he piled up scholarship offers from around the country. With that date pushed back to at least May 31 and no certainty about what the recruiting world will look like beyond that, though, Hausmann decided to pull the trigger and commit to the school he grew up rooting for much earlier than initially planned.
"I wanted to give every single school equal opportunity. Through hours of Zoom and calls, we were just checking boxes off," Hausmann said. "Nebraska checks every box off. The timing now, what I wanted to do was I wanted to respect the other schools and make sure they could focus on the kids they need for their class."
He had a Zoom call with Nebraska's coaching staff on Friday and told them he planned on committing over the weekend.
"It was an experience I'll never forget," Hausmann said. "It was awesome."
After Nebraska offered, Hausmann picked up offers from Kansas and Virginia in December and then Kansas State and North Dakota State in January. His recruitment really exploded over the past month, though. Hausmann picked up offers from the following schools (in order by date): Minnesota, Boston College, Arizona State, Michigan, Iowa, Michigan State and Northwestern, turning him into one of the most widely sought-after linebackers in Big Ten country.
"When you get that first offer, other people take notice and they realize, hey, this kid from a midsize town in Nebraska, he can play a little bit," Williams said.
Hausmann is considered a three-star prospect by both 247Sports and Rivals. He is one of five players in the state of Nebraska to have an offer from the Huskers in the 2022 class and is the first of that group to make his verbal commitment.
"My mission and Nebraska's mission really align," Hausmann said. "And the coaching staff, my relationship with them is a deeper level. They're always checking in and they just truly, generally care about you. It's like they're my family."
Contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraPG.