The recruiting machine churns all week. Join us Sunday through Thursday nights when we recap Nebraska recruiting news, offering analysis and context.
Nebraska’s five early enrollees from the 2017 recruiting class suited up for the first time at spring practice on Saturday. Considering they represent a good portion of the highest-rated recruits in the class, we watched them pretty closely. Here’s what we saw:
Keyshawn Johnson Jr.
Some pretty troubling news from coach Mike Riley on Saturday. Johnson hasn’t been able to do much since Christmas due to an “illness.” Riley didn’t want to go too far into it, but said that Johnson had his appendix removed before he got to Lincoln in January. Riley has a way of making bad things sound not so bad by saying he’s “hopeful” that things will get better soon, but he also used the phrase “things haven’t improved” since the surgery.
Johnson was on the stationary bike most of practice and was throwing some passes to receivers for some drills. He seemed to be in good spirits. Still, it sounds like we won’t see him running routes anytime soon.
Gebbia throws a good ball with some heat on it. While warming up with redshirt freshman Patrick O’Brien, Gebbia was really letting it fly. And though he’s for sure the skinniest player on the team, he throws harder than O’Brien or Lee. Or at least he did on Saturday.
Gebbia is a freshman so there’s no knocking him for his size, and there’s also no knocking him for some small mistakes he made at practice. Just simple reads that offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf likes. The two spoke a lot at practice. He’s a good young prospect with a very high ceiling.
McQuitty looks like he’s been in college for a year. He doesn’t look like Gebbia, or even Johnson. He’s in shape, is tall enough to tower over some wide receivers and looked comfortable with the rest of the receivers. He made a few good snags during practice, but sat out a lot because of his shoulder. He had surgery on it in December.
Still, of all the recruits, he looked like he is the most physically ready to play college football, so props to his workout regiment at Battle High School in Columbia, Mo.
Like McQuitty, Roberts looks the part. He’s a bit smaller next to linebackers like Marcus Newby or Dedrick Young, who have bulked up from winter workouts. But he moves well and looked engaged in drills. He moves his feet incredibly well, and it looked liked linebackers coach Trent Bray and defensive coordinator Bob Diaco were pleased with his performance.
Bando was sort of lost in the mix of the big bodies of Nebraska’s offensive line. He was hard to track, just because of how many linemen there are and how quickly the drills shift from group to group. However, what we did see was a freshman learning how to be coached by Mike Cavanaugh. Coach Cav demands perfection the first time and lights into players who don’t give full effort. Bando wasn’t necessarily chewed out when we were watching, but you could tell he was being introduced to the program and the system. He looked like he could move pretty well.
Nebraska hosted a few players on Saturday for Junior Day. Most notably was Moses Bryant, a 2018 running back from Omaha.
— Ⓜ️oses_Bryant (@mosesbbryant) March 5, 2017
The Elkhorn South High School running back does not have any offers. The 5-foot-11, 195-pound back is holding out for an offer from Nebraska, similar to what Omaha native Jaylin Bradley did in the 2017 class.
Bryant ran for 1,688 yards in 13 games last season, and scored 37 touchdowns.