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Three observations after LSE's Jake Appleget becomes the second verbal pledge of the day
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Three observations after LSE's Jake Appleget becomes the second verbal pledge of the day

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Friday Night Lights, 6.18

Linebacker Jake Appleget from Lincoln Southeast walks along the field during the Friday Night Lights Camp on Friday, June 18, 2021, at Memorial Stadium. Appleget verbally committed to Nebraska on Sunday evening. 

Steven M. Sipple, Parker Gabriel and Chris Basnett give some highlights from a Wednesday on the road covering Nebraska's Big Red Blitz tour, break down the latest in Nebraska football recruiting -- including recent commitments from QB Richard Torres and RB Ashton Hayes -- and talk through what's coming up this weekend and beyond for football and basketball.   

Nebraska added its second verbal commitment of the day, fifth of June and seventh overall in its 2022 class Sunday evening when Lincoln Southeast linebacker Jake Appleget announced his intention to play for the Huskers. Here are three observations on the addition of a hometown standout.

1. Appleget waited his turn and capitalized in impressive fashion.

It wasn’t difficult to imagine Appleget playing in the Big Ten all the way back in August, when he was putting together standout performances for Southeast on a weekly basis. Given his size and length at 6-foot-4, Appleget could realistically play on either side of the ball at the college level, though his future at Nebraska likely begins on defense.

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Given that coaches couldn’t come to watch him play, though, his recruitment dragged out through the NCAA’s dead period. Frost told him June 1 when he received his scholarship offer that, had it not been for the dead period, he probably would have been offered months ago. Instead of pouting or doubting, though, Appleget kept working and then geared his training to be ready for workout-style events once the dead period ended.

Boy, did that pay off. He picked up offers from NU and Minnesota on the first two days of June and secured his spot on Nebraska’s recruiting board at linebacker.

2. The Lincoln Southeast pipeline continues to produce for Nebraska.

In 2020, NU added Isaac Gifford as a defensive back and he contributed immediately, playing on special teams in every game for the Huskers last fall. Now, he’s penciled in on the two-deep along with Javin Wright behind JoJo Domann as an outside linebacker/nickel.

The 2021 class didn’t have any scholarship players but includes three Southeast walk-ons. Now, Appleget will represent the Knights in Lincoln for the 2022 class.

Nebraska hopes to add much more in the coming year, too, considering the talent coming down the way in 2023. That includes a pair of players already with offers in defensive lineman Teitum Tuioti and offensive lineman Gunnar Gottula.

Tuioti, of course, is the son of Nebraska defensive line coach Tony Tuioti, and has several Power Five offers already. Gottula just picked up an offer from the Huskers earlier this month and also has early offers from Iowa State and Kansas State.

3. The second wave of in-state prospects looks to be paying dividends once again for the Huskers. 

Over the course of the NCAA dead period, one of the biggest storylines, as it pertained to the Huskers’ recruiting efforts, was the failure to really get into the picture for any of the top four in-state players in the 2022 class: Tight ends Kaden Helms and Micah Riley-Ducker of Bellevue West, linebacker Devon Jackson of Omaha Burke and offensive lineman Deshawn Woods of Omaha Central.

That’s still going to sting, but less so considering the Huskers’ two defensive commits in the class are also in-state kids in Appleget and Columbus linebacker Ernest Hausmann.

Last year, Nebraska found talent it liked later in the recruiting cycle in Kearney Catholic quarterback Heinrich Haarberg, Omaha Westside defensive back Koby Bretz and Norris tight end James Carnie. The NU staff is of the mind that sometimes Nebraska kids take a little longer to break out because of the relative lack of year-round work compared to places like Texas, California and the southeast U.S.

The pandemic also slowed the recruitments of all of those players to some degree, but it’s become clear that just because an in-state player doesn’t get an offer as an underclassman, doesn’t mean he can’t work his way into one later in the process.

Name Position Hometown (School) Stars
Chase Androff TE Lakeville, Minn. (South) ***
Jake Appleget LB Lincoln Southeast ***
Ernest Hausmann LB Columbus ***
Ashton Hayes RB Reno, Nev. (McQueen) ***
Victor Jones Jr. WR Orlando, Florida (Olympia) ***
Grant Page WR Boulder, Colo. (Fairview) ***
Richard Torres QB San Antonio, Texas (Southside) ***
Hayden Schwartz DL Jacksonville, Florida (Bolles) ***

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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