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NU football vs. Minnesota, 10/20/18

Nebraska recruit Bryce Benhart (left) smiles as he watches the pregame warmups before the Huskers take on Minnesota at Memorial Stadium in October.

As far as high school linemen go, they don’t come much bigger than Bryce Benhart.

The same can be said about what the Minnesota tackle means to Nebraska’s recruiting class.

And now, he’s on board.

The Huskers landed a big verbal commitment when Benhart, listed at 6-foot-9 and 305 pounds, gave his pledge Sunday evening.

Benhart had offers from around the country and chose Nebraska over Wisconsin, Michigan, Tennessee and Minnesota among many others.

He used his official visit in September but didn’t actually see a game as the Huskers’ season-opener was canceled. After Lakeville North clinched its playoff spot earlier this month, though, Benhart made a return trip to watch NU beat Minnesota, 53-28. Since then, the Panthers dispatched Hopkins in the first round of the playoffs and next face Maple Grove on Friday night. 

Lakeville North head coach Brian Vossen couldn’t have been much more complimentary of Benhart, telling the Journal Star, “I think he’s probably the best lineman in our program’s history, dating all the way back to the 1950s. He’s just not normal. He’s 6-9, 300 pounds and he’s athletic. They’re like once-in-a-lifetime kids to have in your program.”

All the way through, Benhart played his recruitment close to his vest. Now, he’s committed to NU. It’s unclear if he’ll enroll early, though, as he’s among Minnesota’s best heavyweight wrestlers and has a chance at a state championship in his senior year. Before that, he’ll be gunning for a football title.

“On a personal level, I’ve just appreciated the fact that I never have to hear about the latest college this or college that with him,” Vossen said. “It’s never a conversation. It’s not something he discusses within the team. Kids are happy for him and excited for him, but nobody’s reached a point of jealousy because he doesn’t broadcast it, he doesn’t tweet about it.

"He just really is all about this team playing right now.”

And now he's about Nebraska in the future. 

Benhart is considered a four-star prospect by 247Sports, which ranks him the No. 65 player overall in the country, one of the 10 best tackles and the top player from Minnesota in the cycle. That company's composite ranking also pegs him a four-star, while Rivals considers him a three-star. 

Benhart, the fourth offensive line prospect to commit to Nebraska for 2019, joins fellow high school tackles Matthew Anderson (Leesville, Louisiana) and Michael Lynn (Englewood, Colorado) and junior college interior lineman Desmond Bland (Arizona Western). 

Offensive line coach Greg Austin said last week the Huskers currently plan on taking five linemen in the class, though, that number could change between now and February. 

Certainly, Benhart is one of the central pieces of the class. The Huskers have been working to get his rare combination of size and athleticism into the fold. Benhart was on campus at least three times — a summer stop, Akron and Minnesota — before pulling the trigger. 

Benhart is the 19th member of the Huskers' 2019 class and the second to commit in recent days, joining receiver Darien Chase (Vancouver, Washington), who pledged on Thursday. It could be just the start of a major recruiting week for Nebraska, as defensive back Javin Wright (Chandler, Arizona) is set to make his decision between Nebraska and UCLA on Wednesday and all-purpose back Wandale Robinson (Frankfort, Kentucky) is planning on announcing his commitment Thursday. 

With Benhart's addition, Nebraska rises to No. 22 in the nation (No. 4 in the Big Ten) in 247Sports' team rankings for 2019 and No. 20 per Rivals. 

Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown (School) Stars
Matthew Anderson OT 6-7 250 Leesville, La. ***
Bryce Benhart OT 6-9 305 Lakeville, Minn. (North) ****
Desmond Bland OL 6-4 300 Flossmoor, Ill. (Arizona Western C.C.) ****
Darien Chase WR 6-1 175 Vancouver, Wash. (Union) ****
Myles Farmer DB 6-3 180 Atlanta (Westlake) ***
Jamin Graham OLB 6-6 240 Attalla, Ala. (Etowah) ***
Jackson Hannah ILB 6-3 220 Nashville, Tenn. (Montgomery Bell) ****
Nick Henrich ILB 6-4 210 Omaha (Burke) ****
Chris Hickman TE 6-5 220 Omaha (Burke) ***
Rahmir Johnson RB 5-10 170 Oradell, N.J. (Bergen Catholic) ****
Michael Lynn OT 6-7 300 Englewood, Colo. (Cherry Creek) ***
Luke McCaffrey QB 6-3 185 Littleton, Colo. (Valor Christian) ***
Dedrick Mills RB 5-10 227 Waycross, Ga. (Garden City C.C.) ***
Jamie Nance WR 6-0 170 Blanchard, Okla. ***
Garrett Nelson OLB 6-3 235 Scottsbluff ***
Mosai Newsom DE 6-5 260 Waverly, Iowa (Waverly-Shell Rock) ***
Quinton Newsome DB 6-2 180 Suwanee, Ga. (North Gwinnett) ***
Ethan Piper DL 6-4 275 Norfolk (Catholic) ***
Wandale Robinson RB 5-9 180 Frankfurt, Ky. (Western Hills) ****
Garrett Snodgrass ATH 6-3 225 York ***
Ronald Thompkins RB 6-0 203 Loganville, Ga. (Grayson) ***
Javin Wright DB 6-3 195 Chandler, Ariz. (Hamilton) ***

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

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Sports writer

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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