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Recruiting Ticker, Jan. 23: A few young QBs on the Huskers' radar screen for 2021, beyond
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HUSKER RECRUITING

Recruiting Ticker, Jan. 23: A few young QBs on the Huskers' radar screen for 2021, beyond

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Walker Howard

Louisiana prep standout quarterback Walker Howard is on Nebraska's recruiting radar.

Check out Husker Extra's Recruiting Ticker feature throughout the current contact period to keep up with Nebraska's whereabouts on the recruiting trail as the second National Signing Day approaches in early February. 

Nebraska already has a talented quarterbacks room, which will make for an intriguing offseason for quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco, head coach Scott Frost and new offensive coordinator Matt Lubick. 

Not only does NU have three scholarship quarterbacks with game experience in juniors Adrian Martinez and Noah Vedral and redshirt freshman Luke McCaffrey, but also a talented freshman in Logan Smothers who's now on campus and taking part in winter conditioning as an early enrollee. 

Work on the recruiting trail never stops, though. 

Nebraska didn't land a signal-caller for the 2021 class as early as it did for each of the past three recruiting cycles — in fact, all four of the scholarship quarterbacks on the roster pledged to NU before Frost coached a game in Lincoln — but Verduzco and company continue to look at that 2021 group and beyond. 

On Thursday, Verduzco and Frost are both expected to be in Lafayette, Louisiana, to see 2022 quarterback Walker Howard, who picked up an offer from the Huskers over the summer. 

Howard is listed at 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds for St. Thomas More High and has offers from the likes of LSU, Alabama, Houston and several others. 

Howard has picked up all of that attention despite the fact that the coming fall will be his first as St. Thomas More's varsity starter. 

Verduzco also saw 2022 quarterback AJ Duffy (Moreno Valley, California) earlier in the week. Duffy, from Rancho Verde High, picked up a Nebraska offer in June and has offers from Oregon, Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Utah and many others. 

It's an inexact science recruiting players that have so much high school football in front of them, but Verduzco explained his thought process to the Journal Star last spring. 

“It won’t affect the initial analysis,” he said in May. “Let’s say you’re watching 10 2022 quarterbacks and man, out of those 10 guys, there are four guys that are just really, really athletic. Those are guys you say, ‘Man, let’s do it.’ Right? The other guys, you’re not necessarily going to put them by the wayside because there’s a lot of maturity left. You’re going to keep an eyeball on them to see how they mature and if they get more athletic and faster, because sometimes guys at that age can be a little gawky, they haven’t grown into their body yet. So let’s keep an eyeball on those guys as we move forward.

“But, boy, you can see those guys that are really athletic at that age.”

On the class of 2021 front, NU has been recruiting four-star Peter Costelli (Mission Viejo, California) for months, hosted him this summer and was back out to his school this month.

The Huskers are also involved with a couple of signal-callers who do not yet have scholarship offers like Kearney Catholic's Heinrich Haarberg and Folsom (California) High's Ari Patu. 

Verduzco's visited both players' schools recently, and Haarberg is slated to be on campus this weekend for NU's junior day. 

One other quarterback-related note: The Huskers offered 2023 prospect Taron Dickens of Miami Northwestern on Wednesday night, marking the freshman's first Division I scholarship offer. 

Dickens quarterbacked the Bulls to a state title and had two Nebraska 2020 signees on his team in defensive back Ronald Delancy and wide receiver Marcus Fleming. The Huskers' interest in Dickens at this point is as a defensive back. All of that goes with the caveat that the 5-11, 180-pounder has three-quarters of his high school career still ahead of him, so his recruitment is very, very early. 

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

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Husker football reporter

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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