Nebraska landed its third in-state prospect for the 2021 class and its 15th addition to the class overall early Monday morning when Omaha Westside’s Koby Bretz verbally committed.
Here are three observations following Bretz’s decision to jump on board:
1. The Huskers are betting on upside, even if it maybe takes a little while to fully develop.
The Class of 2021 athlete called Scott Frost on Sunday night to pledge to Nebraska, less than three days after NU extended a scholarship offer.
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We hear a lot about how multi-sport athletes end up excelling at football. Basketball players who become good tight ends, wrestlers who use their expertise in leverage to become good linemen on either side of the ball, so on and so forth.
Now, let’s add diver to the list. Bretz was a talented diver when he was younger before he shifted his focus solely to football. Omaha Westside football coach Brett Froendt credited that experience as part of the reason Bretz is so good contorting his body in the air and making plays on the ball, either as a receiver or as a defender.
Of course, that’s not the only reason Bretz is a good football player. The people that know him say he’s among the best athletes they’ve ever worked with.
Froendt said Bretz can still make progress in terms of his top-end speed, though Westside clocks him in the 4.6-second range in the 40-yard dash already, which is strong at the high school level. The overall athletic package, though, especially considering Bretz's size, is what has left a considerable impression on pretty much everybody who's spent time around him.
2. The question at this point is what position he ends up playing at the college level, but of course, there’s plenty of time to figure that out.
Bretz is 6-foot-3 and about 190 pounds now, meaning you can squint and see a safety, an outside linebacker or something in between. Froendt said he loves him as a safety because of his ability to read the field and run a defense. Former Husker defensive lineman and trainer Steve Warren, who coached Bretz in 7-on-7, said he sees him in a role not unlike Nebraska senior JoJo Domann, a hybrid linebacker who can also slide out to the slot or serve as a nickel back.
Perhaps another apt comparison: Redshirt freshman Javin Wright. The 6-3 Arizona prospect and son of former Husker Toby Wright started his career off as a cornerback and still could end up playing some there, though defensive coordinator Erik Chinander said this spring that Wright would get the chance to play some outside linebacker, too, a position where the Huskers have had a tougher time building depth.
The next step in Wright’s development won’t be known for a while due to NU’s season being postponed, but time is on the side of both young players, especially Bretz.
As president of the Husker Football Lettermen's Association, Omaha attorney George Achola wants badly to get this right.
Said Warren, “He’s one of those guys where you just get him there and then figure it out.”
3. Nebraska’s 2021 class features a notable regional presence, and that might only continue to grow.
Bretz is No. 15 in the class for the Huskers, who have steadily added to the group over the past five months and also have experienced some attrition.
Bretz joins Elkhorn South offensive lineman Teddy Prochazka and Kearney Catholic quarterback Heinrich Haarberg as in-state pledges, but there are several others from close by, including offensive lineman Henry Lutovsky (Mt. Pleasant, Iowa) and linebackers Randolph Kpai (Sioux Falls, South Dakota) and Seth Malcom (Tabor, Iowa).
That list could grow, too, and perhaps quickly. Four-star tight end Thomas Fidone (Council Bluffs, Iowa) is set to make his college choice Wednesday night and the Huskers have an offer out, too, to Creighton Prep tight end A.J. Rollins. They also have been recruiting Norris tight end James Carnie, though NU has not yet made an official offer.
The coronavirus pandemic has severely limited the ability of recruits to see college campuses, which seemingly has led to some regionalization in recruiting overall.
NU was already working on a deep group of players in the Midwest and, even though they’ve missed on some, they’ve landed several and are still after at least a few more.