Nebraska is still attempting to put the finishing touches on its 2021 class, but the 2022 group is becoming more and more the focus as the calendar turns.
Over the weekend, the Huskers found themselves in the top group for several players.
That includes three-star defensive back James Monds III (Fort Pierce, Florida), who listed 13 schools still in the running for his services.
The competition will be stiff, given the presence of several other Big Ten schools — Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State and Indiana — in his top group along with schools like Clemson and in-state Miami.
Nebraska, though, has some history with Monds' family. His uncle, Wonder, earned first-team All-American honors as a Husker defensive back in 1975.
James, listed at 6-foot and 175 pounds, did a little bit of everything for Westwood High in Fort Pierce as a junior, scoring on two return touchdowns and logging an interception and nine breakups defensively.
Monds is considered a three-star prospect by both Rivals and 247Sports at this stage.
The Huskers were also in the top groups for several other players in recent days, including four-star safety Xavier Nwankpa (Des Moines, Iowa) — one of the most coveted 2022 recruits in the Midwest at this point — four-star athlete Dillon Tatum (West Bloomfield, Michigan) and three-star offensive lineman Ka’Marii Landers (Dearborn, Michigan).
Huskers add a walk-on: Nebraska’s walk-on class has been pretty much set since the December signing date, but the program added a new verbal commitment Saturday with Bellevue West defensive back CJ Lilienkamp.
Lilienkamp, listed at 6-1 and 190 pounds, was named honorable mention all-state for Class A by the Journal Star following his senior season after a productive fall. In seven games, he had 54 tackles and four interceptions, according to MaxPreps. That followed a junior season in which he had 82 tackles over 13 games.
I want to thank my family, friends and coaches for helping me grow into the man I am today. With that being said, I am proud to announce that I will be committing to the University of Nebraska as a preferred walk-on. #GBR ⚪️🔴 @coachwilhite @HuskerFBNation pic.twitter.com/yUmIrP4Fap— Cj Lilienkamp (@CJ_Lilienkamp41) January 2, 2021
The Huskers announced a 12-man walk-on class in December, which included 10 players from Nebraska and a pair from Iowa.
Savea picks UCLA: One of the players that remained high on NU’s 2021 board picked another school Sunday when defensive lineman Tiaoalii Savea (Las Vegas) verbally committed to UCLA.
Savea, 6-4 and 270, was a long-time target of Nebraska’s, and the Huskers felt as though they were in a strong position for quite a while.
The question now is how many players will NU ultimately sign in February. The school picked up a commitment from Wynden Ho’ohuli (Mililani, Hawaii) on Saturday and are still thought to be working on defensive back Avante Dickerson (Omaha Westside), who remains verbally committed to Minnesota but did not sign in December.
With the glut of players in the transfer portal and several NU seniors still with decisions to make on whether to return for 2021, the priority list still could be in flux a bit for the Huskers. Take running back for example. If Dedrick Mills returns for an extra season, maybe the Huskers stand pat there. If he doesn’t, that’s a spot NU would likely pursue via the transfer route.
NU’s number of spots for the portal still looks likely to land between two and four.
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