Stay updated with Nebraska Cornhuskers football recruiting in the latest edition of The Harvest, which posts at 7:30 p.m. ET Sunday through Thursday. Don’t miss out on Nebraska recruiting news, and check out previous editions of The Harvest here.
Isaiah Williams picks Illini, and the trouble it poses for Nebraska
Isaiah Williams, a 5-star athlete and Nebraska target, gave his commitment Friday.
The bad news for Nebraska fans? The St. Louis native pledged to Big Ten West foe Illinois. Williams is the third-ranked athlete and No. 28 overall in the 2019 class, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.
A variety of reasons swayed Williams to the Illini.
“First things first is the people,” Williams told 247Sports’ Jeremy Werner. “I really like the coaches.”
That makes sense, with Cory Patterson joining Lovie Smith’s staff last month. Patterson was Williams’ high school coach at Trinity Catholic in St. Louis until that point. The connection played a key role. The arrival of new offensive coordinator Rod Smith also influenced Williams, who said he wants to play in that offense.
This is the second high-profile commitment for Illinois in the last two weeks. Marquez Beason, a 4-star defensive back and a onetime Nebraska commit, committed to Lovie Smith and his staff two weekends ago.
Nebraska was recruiting Williams as a quarterback and would have been a nice fit in Scott Frost’s offense.
But the larger point here is that it’s another sign that recruiting St. Louis will be a challenge this cycle. The area has a plethora of talent in the 2019 class, but the coaching staff’s arrival coupled with the Illini’s revitalized status on the recruiting circuit is a pain in the Huskers’ side.
Nebraska did not sign one prospect from Missouri, an important recruiting ground for the program, in 2018.
Defensive backs coach Travis Fisher is in charge of recruiting St. Louis. He played with the Rams in the city during his NFL career. But in 2019, St. Louis will be on the Huskers’ radar enough that the majority of the coaching staff will pass through at some point.
Jeffery Carter names Huskers to top 10
Nebraska received positive recruiting news Friday, with 4-star cornerback Jeffery Carter including the Huskers in his top 10.
Nebraska will have plenty of competition for the Aledo, Texas, native. The Huskers offered him as a wide receiver, but Carter is ranked as a corner. He is the 16th-ranked corner and No. 138 overall prospect in the class.
Sorry for the wait..⏰ pic.twitter.com/dVOipBOEDw
— scooby🐶 (@jcarter2133) March 22, 2018
Nebraska recruiting Brandon Smith, top linebacker in 2019 class
The top inside linebacker in the country now holds a Nebraska offer.
Brandon Smith, a 5-star prospect from Mineral, Va., picked up his Huskers offer late Thursday. He is 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds.
According to 247Sports, “Smith is a long, rangy linebacker with good overall athleticism. He shows good vision and is very instinctive. Smith also changes directions fluidly and can play sideline to sideline. He takes good pursuit angles and closes quickly on the football. Smith needs to continue to add weight and get stronger, but he has big upside and a bright future.”
Penn State is the early favorite for Smith, but Florida State has also received a vote on his 247Sports Crystal Ball. He’s unofficially visited in-state programs Virginia and Virginia Tech already, with plenty of more upcoming trips planned. Among those include unofficial stops to Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Penn State, with an official visit to Texas A&M.
Nebraska offers pair of linemen
Nebraska’s effort to rebuild the trenches continued with two more offers over the weekend. Both went to prospects not yet rated in the 247Sports composite from the Southeast. Therefore, the recruits are somewhat under-the-radar choices, but the Huskers evidently see value.
Hunter Rayburn is a 6-4, 310-pound guard from Pensacola, Fla. He holds 12 offers, with Florida, Louisville, Ole Miss, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt all involved. The Gators offer came on the heels of an unofficial visit.
Jayme Simmons is a 6-5, 255-pound tackle. The Alabaster, Ala., native has 11 offers, but the Nebraska one is special because it’s his first from a Power 5 program. There’s a need for Simmons to gain weight to play tackle, but his frame should allow for that.
Recruiting on the lines will be pivotal for Nebraska in the 2019 class. This won’t be the last time the Huskers offer prospects not yet on everyone’s board. There are advantages to getting involved in a recruitment on the ground floor, and that’s what Nebraska has done with Simmons and Rayburn.
Missing out on Nebraska recruiting? Check out previous editions of The Harvest here.