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Three observations following Wynden Ho'ohuli's commitment to the Huskers
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Three observations following Wynden Ho'ohuli's commitment to the Huskers

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Penn State vs. Nebraska, 11.14

Nebraska outside linebackers coach Mike Dawson walks back to the sideline flanked by Nick Henrich (left) and Will Honas on Nov. 14 at Memorial Stadium.

Nebraska on Saturday afternoon landed a commitment from four-star linebacker Wynden Ho’ohuli. Here are three observations following his announcement during the All-American Bowl broadcast on NBC.

1. Ho’ohuli has a skill set that Nebraska really needs more of on its roster. The Huskers have struck out on several true outside linebacker prospects during the 2021 cycle, and even though Ho’ohuli could end up playing either outside or inside for the Huskers, he’s got the kind of length that can be effective on the perimeter in the Big Ten.

At 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, he can play in the middle of the field or off the edge. A similarly sized player from Hawaii, Wisconsin’s Nick Herbig, became a starter as a true freshman in a 3-4 system for the Badgers. He ended up leading that program with six tackles for loss. Just because one player from Hawaii plays right away in the Big Ten, of course, doesn’t mean that Ho’ohuli is guaranteed to, too.

But Ho’ohuli adds to an athletic linebacker class that has several other guys who are also capable of playing inside or outside. NU’s other 2021 high school linebacker signees — Seth Malcom, Randolph Kpai and Mikai Gbayor — could end up joining Mike Dawson’s position group, too. Malcom and Kpai are both early enrollees and will be on campus next month.

2. Saturday quickly became a very good day for Dawson, defensive coordinator Erik Chinander and the Blackshirts overall.

Not only did Ho’ohuli commit, but senior outside linebacker JoJo Domann announced that he intended to return for the 2021 season.

Domann does not count against Nebraska’s 85-man scholarship limit because the NCAA gave an extra year of eligibility to every player in the country. Domann is the first Nebraska senior to announce his intention to return to the program rather than move on, but he’s not likely to be the last.

How much more help is on the way for the Blackshirts? Only time will tell.

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3. Nebraska is now down to four remaining spots for the 2021 class. They are still after a couple of highly touted defensive players who remain unsigned in defensive back Avante Dickerson (Omaha Westside), who is verbally committed to Minnesota, and defensive lineman Tiaoalii Savea (Las Vegas).

NU could also turn its attention to some other players that it has offered, such as defensive lineman Zhen Sotelo or outside linebacker Kason Boston, but if it considers Dickerson and Savea the only true “Plan A” type players, it could also just plan on taking a minimum of two spots forward into the offseason to use on transfers. If it misses on one or both of them, then Nebraska would have three or four spots to work with on the transfer market.

It’s shaping up to be an interesting offseason in that way, but as it pertains to high school recruiting, the end is coming into view with Ho’ohuli on board.

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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