The final days of the 2018 recruiting cycle have arrived. Scott Frost and his staff have been at Nebraska for more than two months now and are hoping to close out the class in a big way. Several top targets will be announcing their decisions soon.
Here’s a primer of who those prospects are, a synopsis of their recruitment and a prediction of where the target will wind up.
4-star RB Maurice Washington (Cedar Hill, Texas) — Arizona State, Nebraska
Maurice Washington reemerged as a national prospect after his breakout performance at the Under Armour All-America Game on Jan. 4. There were concerns over his ability to qualify academically, which spooked several schools and opened the door for Nebraska to take a front seat in his recruiting. The coaching staff is confident he will qualify, hence the continued interest. Washington took his first official visit to Arizona State in mid-January, and the Sun Devils captured much of the momentum in his recruitment. There is also the fact Washington may want to play cornerback instead of running back. However, a string of visits from the Nebraska staff and an official visit to Lincoln this past weekend puts Nebraska back in the lead.
3-star OL Jarrett Bell (Norco, Calif.) — Arizona State, Nebraska
Nebraska was the favorite for Jarrett Bell for most of January, especially leading into and out of his official visit the weekend of Jan. 12. The next week, he took an official to Arizona State. Nebraska made an effort to close out his recruitment, since he occupied the top spot on Nebraska’s board among offensive linemen. But as time went on, the Huskers’ grasp on Bell slipped away.
Prediction: Arizona State
4-star OLB Javontae Jean-Baptiste (Oradell, N.J) — Ohio State, Nebraska, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech
One recruitment Nebraska has held onto despite the prospect taking more official visits is that of Javontae Jean-Baptiste. Following his official visit to Nebraska, he saw Ohio State the next weekend and Texas A&M this past weekend. Virginia Tech led for Jean-Baptiste leading into the early signing period, but he did not sign in December. Frost recruited him to UCF, and Jean-Baptiste values relationships with his potential future coaches. The Huskers have a need for pass rusher and have pursued him hard. It would be a pretty big blow for Nebraska if Jean-Baptiste went elsewhere on Signing Day.
4-star OLB Caleb Tannor (Lithonia, Ga.) — Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Nebraska
Nebraska really surprised Caleb Tannor with a strong official visit the weekend of Jan. 12. It was his first official visit, though, and the former Georgia commit went on to see Auburn and Florida. The Huskers made a strong play here, but with a lean from a pass rusher (Jean-Baptiste) already in this class, that may encourage Tannor to head elsewhere. Plus, Tannor has always seemed inclined to play his college ball in the South. Nebraska offered the one-time Georgia commit right after Christmas, when he was reconsidering all of his options. That helped, but it probably won’t be enough.
4-star CB Taiyon Palmer (Lawrenceville, Ga.) — N.C. State, Nebraska, Tennessee
Taiyon Palmer is another prospect whose regional ties may be too much for Nebraska to overcome, despite making a strong push and impressing him during his official visit and in-school visits. It looks like the former Duke commit is headed to N.C. State, but it was a close race. Once again, Nebraska’s effort in recruiting Palmer was commendable, especially since he likely occupied the top spot on the Huskers cornerback board.
Prediction: N.C. State
4-star CB Ken Montgomery (Tampa, Fla.) — Louisville, Maryland, Tennessee
Ken Montgomery’s connection to Nebraska had not been widely known until the last week or so, when he decided to use his final official visit with the Huskers and narrow his top 3 to include Nebraska, Louisville and Maryland. The Terrapins are the strong favorite among recruiting analysts, but word also includes that his recruitment is wide open. The question is whether Nebraska has enough room to bring in another defensive back prospect with a couple of other needs remaining. For now, we’ll stick with what we know regarding Montgomery, a former UCLA commit.
3-star ATH Cam Taylor (Montgomery, Ala.) — Missouri, Nebraska
Fans should not expect too many surprises for Cam Taylor’s Signing Day announcement. Taylor, who is expected to play cornerback, said he would be between Missouri and Nebraska following his official visit with the Huskers, but ultimately did not take the visit to Missouri. That puts the Huskers in the driver’s seat. Auburn wound up not offering him, which was the only possibility that could have thrown a wrench in Taylor’s status with Nebraska.
3-star OL Willie Canty (Belle Glade, Fla.) — Louisville, Nebraska
Willie Canty did not take an official visit throughout the recruiting cycle until the final two weekends, when Louisville and Nebraska, respectively, hosted him. Canty has a solid relationship with offensive line coach Greg Austin. Nebraska’s interest in him had been since the early signing period, but things didn’t really heat up until the last couple of weeks. He will announce his decision on Signing Day.
3-star WR Andre Hunt (Lancaster, Calif.) — Oregon State, Nebraska, San Diego State
Offensive coordinator Troy Walters has recruited Andre Hunt hard following the early signing period. Hunt de-committed from USC after he did not feel like a priority for the Trojans anymore, but Walters and Frost have been in consistent contact with Hunt for the last month or so. His official visit this past weekend ultimately determined how he feels about Nebraska; he’ll announce his decision on Signing Day.
3-star DL Otito Ogbonnia (Katy, Texas) — Nebraska, Tennessee, Texas Tech, UCLA
Otito Ogbonnia’s recruitment took off after a strong senior season, with several top-tier schools vying for the defensive lineman with nose tackle potential. Nebraska has a clear need for him in this class. Will the allure of playing time be enough to sway him? Ogbonnia also may be interested in pursuing track and field, so whichever school can provide a clear plan for him to achieve his goals in both likely has the upper hand. His official visit to Nebraska was this past weekend, and the momentum built during it can possibly last until he makes his decision.
3-star OL Jalan Robinson (Lawrence, Kan.) — Mississippi State, Nebraska
An assist to Jalan Robinson’s recruitment can be his inner circle of family and coaches who are Nebraska fans. After receiving a late offer from Nebraska (just last week), he was on campus for a brief unofficial visit before an official visit to Mississippi State over the weekend. Nebraska should be in good enough position and have the numbers work where it can take Robinson. However, should one of the prospects on this list be encouraged to not commit to Nebraska, it would be Robinson. In that event, Mississippi State is the likely destination.