Stay updated with Nebraska Cornhuskers football recruiting in the latest edition of The Harvest, which posts at 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Be sure to check out all previous editions of The Harvest here.
Talanoa Hufanga makes official visit for Ohio State game
While Nebraska faces a tough test on the field when it welcomes Ohio State to Memorial Stadium on Saturday, the Huskers will have to ace a different exam off the field to score a top recruit. Talanoa Hufanga, a 4-star athlete from Corvallis, Ore. and one of the team’s most coveted targets as the recruiting cycle for the 2018 class winds down, will be on campus this weekend for his official visit.
Hufanga is the No. 58 overall prospect and the top-ranked player in Oregon, according to 247Sports composite rankings. He’s received touches on the offensive side of the ball this season for his Crescent Valley High School team, but is being recruited to play defense. On Friday, he received his U.S. Army All-American Bowl Game jersey and spoke to reporters about receiving the honor and how his recruitment is shaping up.
“Obviously, you have that little sense of nerve in you, you’re a little nervous coming into it,” Hufanga told Scout’s Kevin Wade about the event. “You see the whole school come into this building, and you’re like, this is really happening. I was really ecstatic for this opportunity that not a lot of kids get.”
Nebraska hosted Hufanga for an unofficial visit on April 15 for the annual spring game. Here’s what he told Andrew Nemec of OregonLive back in April about that experience:
“It was unbelievable,” he said. “It’s really hard to think of another word to describe it. It takes your breath away. When you are there for a spring game and you see 78,000 fans, that’s unheard of. Yes, other schools are like that, but it’s something I’m not used to seeing here in Oregon. To see that many people in the stands is crazy. The fans are nothing but great people.”
That, combined with the staff’s continued efforts has kept Nebraska in the running. He’s excited to be coming back for an official visit, this time bringing his parents and his brother, T.J., who coach Mike Riley recruited when he was in charge at Oregon State.
“I know what most of it is like. I just want to make sure I see everything [again],” Hufanga said. “The more eyes the better because I’m a 17-year-old. My brain hasn’t fully developed yet. Bring my mom, dad, they get to see everything, put things into perspective of their opinions. Then we’ll come home and discuss it, and make my decision based off of that.”
Where's My Nebraska Fans At?? #GBR
— Talanoa Hufanga (@HufangaTalanoa) October 12, 2017
It will be Hufanga’s third official visit overall. UCLA and Utah have already hosted him. He also has two more official visits on the schedule, to Michigan and USC. The Michigan date is tentatively set for Nov. 25, when it hosts Ohio State at the Big House. However, that is subject to change due to a potential conflict with the state championship game if Hufanga’s team advances that far. On Dec. 15, he will take an official visit to USC.
The lone team of the six in the running for Hufanga that he will not officially visit is Oregon. He’s already been on three unofficial visits there, and plans to head there once more before his commitment. On that note, Hufanga said he expects a decision in late December, meaning he will not sign a letter of intent during the early signing period.
Check out his mid-season highlight reel.
Through five games, Hufanga has 14 total touchdowns (7 rushing, 7 receiving). Between rushing and receiving, he has 796 total yards this season, according to Maxpreps. He also has recorded 29 tackles (5 for a loss) and 1 blocked field goal.
Hufanga, 6-foot, 183-pounds, possesses elite speed. As for where he would fit in this recruiting class, the Huskers already have two defensive backs (Bookie Radley-Hiles and Chase Williams) and two wide receiver commits (Joshua Moore and Cameron Brown), to go along with one athlete (Mario Goodrich). His versatility is a coaching staff’s dream.
Huskers trying to flip Oregon State quarterback commits
Hufanga won’t be the only Oregon native visiting this weekend.
Until recently, it looked like Nebraska wouldn’t land a quarterback in this class. However, Gary Andersen’s abrupt resignation at Oregon State has opened the door for other programs to pilfer the Beavers’ commits. The Huskers are ready to pounce on both of the team’s 2018 quarterback commits, Spencer Petras and Jake Dukart, according to Nemec. Both are pro-style quarterbacks and could fit into a Riley’s system.
(In a twist of irony and fate, it was Nebraska’s hiring of Riley that opened the door for Andersen to resign from Wisconsin and take over at Oregon State.)
Dukart is coming to Nebraska on an official visit this weekend, Nemec reported on Friday. The 6-2 signal caller from Lake Oswego, Ore. has been committed to Oregon State since June 8 and officially visited on Sept. 30. The Beavers were his only Power 5 offer. But if the Huskers feel like they can add him, expect them to at least extend an offer and work from there. Dukart is a 3-star prospect and the No.32-ranked pro-style quarterback in this year’s class, according to 247Sports.
Here’s where it gets interesting with Dukart. At one point, he was set on playing baseball in college and had committed to Arizona State to do so, but then decided to play football. His father, Derek, played baseball at Nebraska and was roommates with current Huskers baseball coach and former MLB player Darin Erstad, who also won a national title with the Cornhuskers as a punter in 1994. A healthy combination of chance, circumstance and familiarity could lead Dukart to follow in his dad’s footsteps, except on the gridiron instead of the diamond.
Petras, 6-5, has a good touch on his throws downfield. Earlier this week, he told Nemec he’s still committed to Oregon State.
“A couple of schools that have been keeping up with me for a long time that offered me back in spring have reached out, but I tell them the same thing that I always have,” Petras said. “I’m committed to Oregon State.”
For at least one of these quarterbacks, the Nebraska staff will look to change his commitment status. The process of doing so begins this weekend.
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