The recruiting machine churns all week. Join us Sunday through Thursday nights when we recap Nebraska recruiting news, offering analysis and context.
Van De Riet to lead recruiting department
Dan Van De Riet, the longtime right-hand man of Nebraska coach Mike Riley, has been promoted to associate athletic director for football administration and will oversee the Huskers’ new recruiting department, the school announced Wednesday.
Van De Riet previously served as associate athletic director for football operations the last two seasons. He has been with Riley for 15 seasons, dating to Riley’s days at Oregon State.
The department entirely dedicated to recruiting hasn’t launched yet, but this is a significant move.
Van De Riet was a key component in the formation of the new department, Riley said previously at a news conference. Riley also had input from athletic director Shawn Eichorst, associate athletic director for performance & strategic research Steve Waterfield and executive director of player personnel Billy Devaney.
Riley also said the department’s main goal will be to focus on the acquisition of talent rather than just the evaluation of recruits.
“Those people that might be designated in that recruiting department as opposed to the personnel-evaluation department, that’s their thinking process 24/7,” Riley said. “That’s where their energy is. That’s what they’re thinking about all the time. The way to acquire. And I think it’s a great thought, and it’s really just common sense.”
Riley hasn’t said when the department officially will kick into gear, but the promotion of Van De Riet must mean things are picking up.
Another spring visitor
At least one other IMG Academy player besides 4-star cornerback Brendan Radley-Hiles is planning to be in Lincoln for the spring game.
Josh Walker, a 3-star defensive tackle and teammate of Radley-Hiles at the Bradenton, Fla., school, confirmed to Land of 10 on Wednesday he plans to attend the spring game on April 15.
Walker is the No. 51 tackle in the 2018 class. The 6-foot-2, 285-pound lineman holds 16 offers. Walker told Land of 10 four weeks ago when he was offered that Nebraska is at the top of his list.
Walker joins Radley-Hiles and a handful of other top targets who plan to be in Lincoln for the spring game, including in-state commits 4-star TE Cameron Jurgens and 3-star DT Masry Mapieu, as well as Texas 4-star WR Jaquayln Crawford.
We’ll have a full list of visitors closer to the spring game.
Avery Roberts impresses coaches
A Nebraska early enrollee received some rave reviews from his coach after practice on Tuesday. Avery Roberts, a 4-star linebacker from Delaware, has been “very impressive” so far during spring practice, linebackers coach Trent Bray said.
“His ability to learn, to pick up all the communications and where he needs to be has been impressive considering he should still be in high school,” Bray said. “And then just his physical ability gives him a chance to be something special if he keeps progressing.”
Roberts came to Nebraska in January weighing about 225 pounds, which was the weight Bray wanted him to be, he said. The weight helps, because some early enrollees aren’t physically ready to play college football. With Roberts, there’s less focus now on his body and more on his play.
“I’ve been very excited and impressed at where he’s at right now,” Bray said. “Now we have to keep growing because he still has to get rid of some of that high school stuff.”