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Iowa defender Gunnerson picks Huskers
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Iowa defender Gunnerson picks Huskers

Friday Night Lights, 6.14

Blaise Gunnerson (left) at the Huskers' Friday Night Lights event last June at Memorial Stadium. Nebraska coach Scott Frost says Gunnerson is "one of my favorite kids I've ever recruited."

Blaise Gunnerson has had a running bit with Turner Corcoran about their prospects as future college teammates.

“We’ve had this joke running for a few months now saying how we’re going to be doing one-on-ones soon, playing at Nebraska and going against each other in one-on-ones,” explained Corcoran, the third member of Nebraska’s 2020 recruiting class.

Well, it’s not a joke any longer.

Gunnerson announced his verbal commitment to NU Tuesday afternoon on Twitter, becoming the seventh in the Huskers’ class and joining his friend Corcoran as those among the first wave of what is already shaping up to be a decorated group.

Gunnerson is listed at 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, and is likely capable of playing either outside linebacker spot in Erik Chinander’s defense. Rest assured, Nebraska’s defensive coordinator is just happy to have the Kuemper (Carroll, Iowa) Catholic athlete on board. Chinander, himself an Iowa native, has been high on Gunnerson for more than a year and has committed to recruiting the best that Iowa has to offer despite heavy in-state competition from Iowa and Iowa State. The Cyclones were seen as the primary competition for Gunnerson’s services.

Gunnerson missed his entire junior season due to a hip injury but showed enough during his sophomore campaign to draw extensive Power Five interest.

“He’s pretty stocky,” Corcoran said. “He got really big after his injury and he said he’s been doing straight chest and arm work for like six months. I was like, ‘Oh, my God.’ He’s a great kid.”

Gunnerson’s most recent of four trips to NU in the past year came June 14-16, when he dominated a Friday Night Lights camp and then had his official visit. On the field during the FNL camp and then another camp the next day, Gunnerson talked with coaches and current Husker players and exchanged plenty of hugs and smiles.

Among the crowd on that Friday: 2020 standout receiver Xavier Watts (Omaha Burke), an unofficial visitor at the FNL camp who has formed a recruiting friendship with Gunnerson and Corcoran after being on campus with both several times.

Now two of the three are on board. Watts won’t be an easy get, as he’s narrowed his choices to Nebraska, Wisconsin, Michigan, Notre Dame, Tennessee and Iowa State.

“Those are two really important guys headed into the future of the Huskers that we feel like we can get, obviously, and that are going to be program-changers right way," Corcoran said. "This isn’t recruiting talk. These guys can straight-up play.”

Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown (School) Stars
Zavier Betts WR 6-2 190 Omaha (Bellevue West) ****
Marquis Black DL 6-4 280 McDonough, Ga. (Eagle's Landing) ***
Alante Brown WR 6-0 190 Chicago (Simeon) ****
Jimari Butler OLB 6-5 215 Mobile, Ala. (Murphy) ***
Alex Conn OT 6-6 280 Derby, Kansas ***
Niko Cooper OLB 6-5 220 Memphis, Tenn. (Hutchinson C.C.) ***
Turner Corcoran OT 6-6 280 Lawrence, Kan. (Free State) ****
Ronald Delancy III DB 5-11 190 Miami (Northwestern) ***
Marcus Fleming WR 5-10 160 Miami, Fla. (Northwestern) ****
Jaiden Francois CB 6-0 185 Homestead, Fla. ****
Henry Gray DB 6-0 175 Miami (Central) ****
Keyshawn Greene LB 6-3 205 Crawfordville, Fla. (Wakulla) ****
Blaise Gunnerson OLB 6-5 250 Carroll, Iowa (Kuemper) ****
Nash Hutmacher DT 6-5 305 Chamberlain, South Dakota ***
Tamon Lynum DB 6-2 170 Orlando, Fla. (Evans) ***
Omar Manning WR 6-4 225 Lancaster, Texas (Kilgore College) ****
Eteva Mauga-Clements ILB 6-2 210 Pleasant Hill, Calif. (Diablo Vall. College) ***
Sevion Morrison RB 6-0 200 Tulsa, Oklahoma (Edison) ****
William Nixon WR 5-11 185 Waco, Texas (Midway) ***
Pheldarius Payne DE 6-3 270 Suffolk, Va. (Lackawanna CC) ***
Jordon Riley DE 6-5 300 Durhan, N.C. (Garden City C.C.) ***
Marvin Scott III RB 5-9 205 Port Orange, Fla. (Spruce Creek) ***
Logan Smothers QB 6-2 180 Muscle Shoals, Ala. ****

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


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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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