On Wednesday, we published our offensive mock class 2.0. Now we’ll take our best shot at what the defense may look like in Nebraska’s 2018 recruiting class.
As one can expect with a coaching change, the predictions this month vary greatly when compared to the projections from November.
Nebraska currently holds 10 commitments and this class has the potential to grow to around 20. Since I included 12 prospects in our offensive edition, logic would dictate the Huskers could nab 10 or 11 defensive players in this class. (However, I may cheat a little bit.)
Cornerback (2): 4-star Taiyon Palmer, 3-star Elijah Jones
This position group has been the victim of the most de-commitments in the 2018 class, a direct result of the coaching change. The Huskers had secured a pair of cornerback commits in 4-star prospects Brendan Radley-Hiles and Chase Williams. Both de-committed during the season. Athlete Mario Goodrich, another 4-star player, was expected to play cornerback for the Huskers before he de-committed the day Nebraska hired Scott Frost.
So what once looked like a big haul for the unit likely will be smaller. There’s a real chance the staff targets more cornerback prospects once recruiting picks up again in January. But right now, the only visit the new staff has scheduled for a cornerback prospect is Jeremy Webb, a 3-star JUCO product. Even that visit is up in the air right now, as Tennessee has entered the picture and Webb may decide to head there this weekend.
For now, the safe bet seems to be that the Huskers will eventually offer Elijah Jones. He committed to this staff at UCF and has since de-committed. He’s played two seasons of junior college ball at Iowa Western, so the Florida native is familiar with the Midwest. Jones is the No. 7 cornerback in this class, per the 247Sports composite.
Taiyon Palmer picked up a on offer from the Huskers on Wednesday. He is the No. 28 cornerback in the class and had been committed to Duke until Nov. 30. With his recruitment open, expect Nebraska to heavily recruit the highly touted Lawrenceville, Ga., product.
Safety (2): 4-star C.J. Smith, 4-star Cam’Ron Jones
C.J. Smith was the first commit for Scott Frost and his staff at Nebraska. But Nebraska appears intent on adding at least one more safety. While John Huggins and Dallas Craddieth are also top targets, competition elsewhere may prove to be too much to overcome, although both are names to keep an eye on.
Cam’Ron Jones hosted a trio of Nebraska coaches earlier this week and he will take his official visit to Lincoln this weekend. A flurry of 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions have come in for Nebraska since the staff went down to see the Mansfield, Texas, native, who is the No. 25 safety in the country, according to the 247Sports composite.
Edge rushers/Linebackers (3): 3-star Will Honas, 3-star Tate Wildeman, 3-star David Alston
Tate Wildeman and David Alston are already committed to the Huskers and are relatively solid. Alston has always been quiet regarding his recruitment. Wildeman has seen his recruitment pick up recently from the likes of Washington State, Colorado State and Notre Dame. He will take his official visit to Nebraska this weekend.
Will Honas is a junior college prospect who holds offers from Kansas State, Ole Miss and Iowa. Frost recently held an in-home visit with him and they set up an official visit for this weekend. The No. 1 inside linebacker from the JUCO ranks, per the 247Sports composite, Honas can provide a stabilizing force in the middle of the defense in short order.
Defensive line (4): 3-star Bryson Williams, 3-star Masry Mapieu, 3-star Jordan Allen, 3-star Daniel Carson
Masry Mapieu has been committed to the Huskers for more than a year and will command an interior line position. However, he is currently the only defensive line prospect in the class.
Jordan Allen is one of the most heavily recruited JUCO prospects in this cycle. He will be on an official visit to Nebraska this weekend. Allen can either contribute as a down lineman or as an edge rusher in a 3-4 defense. Regardless, he can be an explosive addition almost immediately.
Talks between Daniel Carson and the Huskers have started up again. He was a target of the former coaching staff, and now this one as well. After an in-home visit earlier this week, Carson said he will be taking one of his three remaining official visits to Nebraska at some point in January before making his decision.
This probably is my boldest prediction, but I do believe Bryson Williams will be a member of this class. Wisconsin offered a defensive tackle target earlier this week, perhaps anticipating that the Badgers commit will eventually flip his pledge to the Huskers, who are putting on a full-court press to keep the Lincoln Southeast standout from leaving the state.
Special teams (1): Barret Pickering
OK, this is where I’m cheating. But we can’t forget about the kicker! Barret Pickering has been committed to Nebraska since May 2 and has remained solid throughout the coaching change.
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