There hasn’t been much recruiting news for the Nebraska volleyball team in the last 10 months, but don’t consider that a sign that the Husker recruiting machine has hit a rough patch.
It’s simply a reflection of a 2021 recruiting class that loaded up quick with five top prospects and not many open scholarship spots until the 2023 class.
Nebraska hasn’t had a player commit since Sept. 9, 2018, from Ally Batenhorst, a hard-hitting outside hitter from Texas.
And because of new NCAA recruiting rules aimed to slow down the recruiting process for college volleyball, the lack of commits for the Huskers could continue.
New recruiting rules that were effective May 1 aim to push the first recruiting interactions between prospects and college coaches until the summer after a high school player's sophomore year.
Nebraska did host its annual Dream Team Camp for high school and middle school players this week, with the action ending on Tuesday.
And while the recruiting process has slowed down, high school players still get a taste of the Husker program through the camp, and Nebraska coach John Cook and assistants Kayla Banwarth and Jaylen Reyes get to train with potential recruits.
Players came from California and New Jersey and many places in between. And all seven of the players who have already committed to Nebraska were there: Kalynn Meyer, Alexis Rodriguez, Lindsay Krause, Kennedi Orr, Rylee Gray, Bekka Allick and Batenhorst.
That, along with a number of other good players, is why Cook says it was the best collection of talent he can remember for a Husker camp.
“It’s up another notch,” Cook said. “You see how physical they are. The game is becoming more physical. You’ve got 6-foot-3, 6-foot-4 outside hitters pounding balls, and the angles they hit at and how hard they hit."
Another good player in camp was Hayden Kubik, the younger sister of current Husker Madi Kubik. Hayden Kubik won one of the awards for the camp, and got her medal from her sister.
In past years Nebraska offered a few players scholarships after working with them at camp, but that will have to wait now.
Anticipating the recruiting changes coming, Nebraska did previously offer scholarships to four out-of-state players going into their freshmen year. Those players attended the camp this week.
“(Before the rule changes) we let them know where they’re at in our recruiting right now, but we’re encouraging them to wait until they’re juniors and do an official visit,” Cook said.
Among the new rules is that prospects can’t call or receive phone calls from coaches until after their sophomore year. And previously prospects could take unofficial visits at any age. Now both unofficial and official visits begin as juniors.
“I’m in favor of it,” said Cook of the rule changes. “I think it’s good, and I think this early recruiting has gotten way out of hand, and hopefully this is a way to slow it down.”
This was a good week for Nebraska to have recruits on campus due to the success of several ex-Huskers. The day the camp began, Jordan Larson, Kelsey Robinson and Mikaela Foecke won a world championship playing for the United States national team. A few hours after the title match, Larson, Robinson and Foecke did a quick video chat with the players at the Nebraska camp.
Cook also had Banwarth share her story of going from being a Nebraska walk-on to winning a medal at the Olympics.
“We try to get them to dream big, so you talk to them about Jordan’s story and Kayla’s story. (National champion setter) Kelly Hunter worked camp,” Cook said. “It’s more than just roll out the ball and let them play.”