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Will the Power Five come calling for 2021 Norris TE James Carnie?
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RECRUITING

Will the Power Five come calling for 2021 Norris TE James Carnie?

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James Carnie

Norris' James Carnie runs in the 40-yard dash in July during the Warren Academy’s Top Prospects Showcase at the Omaha Sports Complex in Omaha.

OMAHA — For obvious reasons, James Carnie hasn’t been able to get out and show the progress he’s made in recent months.

The 6-foot-5 Class of 2021 tight end from Norris had a busy summer of camps lined up, but instead the coronavirus pandemic limited him to a six-day-a-week gym regimen near his Hickman home and a diet that included a 3,600-calorie, post-dinner protein shake.

The results, though, have been dramatic. Carnie said Saturday that he weighed 193 pounds after his junior season back in November. He checked in at the Warren Academy Top Prospect Showcase on Saturday morning at 222.

The last 40-yard dash time he ran came in January and he clocked in at 5.1 seconds. In recent months, he’s been working with Lincoln-based speed trainer Christopher Slatt. On Saturday, he said he ran 4.6 flat at the Omaha Sports Complex.

Combine that with his fluid movements and plenty of room still on his frame to add weight, and the question certainly seems to be trending toward when Power Five schools will come calling for him rather than if.

Carnie verbally committed to Miami (Ohio) back in mid-May, but that won’t keep the big schools from recruiting him if they decide to offer him a scholarship.

“Obviously, Power Five is something I’d look forward to, and ever since you know what football is, you want to play on the biggest stage and in the biggest setting,” Carnie said Saturday. “A lot of the coaches I talk to at Power Five schools have said they want to see me in my senior season, and so hopefully we can have that.”

That contact list includes Nebraska. Carnie said he’s regularly in touch with tight ends coach Sean Beckton, inside linebackers coach Barrett Ruud and coach Scott Frost.

“Me and Frost probably text three times a week, coach Beckton calls me every week,” Carnie said.

Carnie, not surprisingly, grew up in a family of diehard Nebraska fans and said, “the Huskers are in our blood.”

He knows where he stands on NU’s recruiting board currently. At tight end, the conversation begins with four-star Thomas Fidone. After that, Nebraska also has an offer out to Creighton Prep's A.J. Rollins and is in the top five for three-star Gunnar Helm (Englewood, Colorado) and four-star Dametrious Crownover (Grandview, Texas). 

The Huskers are likely to take two tight ends in the 2021 class. 

Fidone was also in attendance Saturday and joined Carnie among the most impressive performers.

“In January, we both went down to San Antonio for that All-American Bowl combine and I was blown away with him,” Carnie said. “Obviously I had heard of him, but to see him perform and do his thing … blew my mind while I was watching him. Before this, I was a little nervous to have him in front of me. Everyone’s looking at him, I might get pushed down because we're the same position, but for me to come out here and compete and put up some pretty good numbers, I’d say, is reassuring to me. …

“From a (Nebraska) fan perspective, I hope we get him.”

That remains an open question, as does whether Power Five schools will dial up their pursuit of Carnie. That might largely depend on another set of open questions: Will Nebraska high schools actually get a full season in? Will Carnie get to put his offseason improvement on game film? Will recruits and college coaches be able to interact in person in the coming months? 

One thing's for sure: Carnie certainly hasn't hurt his own chances over the past several months. 

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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