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Nebraska signs 19 walk-ons in 2018 recruiting class
Much hype has been made of Scott Frost’s first recruiting class at Nebraska, and deservedly so. In roughly two months, he and his staff brought in 24 prospects. The class, overall, ranks 22nd in the country and fourth in the Big Ten. They deserve a ton of credit.
But Frost has also tasked himself to revitalize the proud walk-on tradition at Nebraska. And on Wednesday, the Huskers announced the signing of 19 walk-ons. If that seems like a high number, that’s because it is. And all but one comes from Nebraska.
|Jake Archer||LB||6-0||195||Omaha, Neb.||Skutt Catholic|
|Anthony Banderas||LB||6-0||200||Lincoln, Neb.||Southwest|
|Brody Belt||RB||5-9||170||Omaha, Neb.||Millard West|
|Moses Bryant||ATH||5-11||195||Elkhorn, Neb.||Elkhorns South|
|Chris Cassidy||LB||6-1||210||Lincoln, Neb.||Piux X|
|Colton Feist||DE||6-2||225||Yutan, Neb.||Yutan|
|AJ Forbes||OL||6-4||230||Bellevue, Neb.||Bellevue West|
|Corbin Frederick||DB||5-11||195||Mansfield, Texas||Mansfield|
|Justin Holm||WR||6-4||175||Lincoln, Neb.||Southwest|
|Joseph Johnson||LB||6-3||220||Gretna, Neb.||Gretna|
|Bryson Krull||TE||6-5||220||North Platte, Neb.||North Platte|
|Wyatt Liewer||WR||6-3||165||O’Neill, Neb.||O’Neill|
|Matt Masker||QB||6-1||205||Kearney, Neb.||Kearney Catholic|
|Cade Mueller||LS||6-3||220||Gretna, Neb.||Gretna|
|Simon Otte||ATH||6-2||180||York, Neb.||York|
|Cameron Pieper||LS||6-3||220||Lincoln, Neb.||Southwest|
|Ryan Schommer||OLB||6-5||215||Norfolk, Neb.||Norfolk|
|Collin Shefke||OL||6-5||275||Lincoln, Neb.||Southwest|
|Isaiah Stalbird||DB||6-1||200||Kearney, Neb.||Kearney|
That would be Corbin Frederick, a defensive back prospect from Mansfield, Texas. His high school teammate and good friend, 4-star safety Cam’ron Jones, is one of the 24 scholarship signees. Frederick held several Division I offers, but wanted the chance to play college football at the highest level, so he walked on. Nearly all of the other walk-ons in this class made their decisions for similar reasons, along with love for their home state and what Nebraska football means to them and their families.
“I want the day to come back where Nebraska kids who grew up here and came to this stadium to watch football games are dying to come here and play, and I want to give them the opportunity to play,” Frost said Wednesday. “I think there’s a lot of guys in this walk-on class that could have played at the Division II level or FCS level, but chose to be here. When you get those kinds of kids, I have no doubt that a number of those kids will be good enough to earn scholarships. And we’re going to honor them if they do. It will help us get more walk-ons in the future.”
Some of the biggest names in this walk-on class include quarterback Matt Masker, the former Kearney Catholic standout who broke Frost’s own records at quarterback throughout his prolific career. On Monday, Moses Bryant committed as a walk-on, a huge get for the Huskers. It will be interesting to see if the staff will use Bryant on offense or defense. Here are a couple more observations regarding the walk-ons:
- Note that there are two long snappers in this class, Cade Mueller and Cameron Pieper.
- Ryan Schommer has potential to be a threat off the edge on defense.
- Anthony Banderas is the younger brother of Josh Banderas, who played four seasons at Nebraska.
- AJ Forbes and Collin Shefke are solid additions to the offensive line
- Wyatt Liewer, Bryson Krull and Justin Holm have potential to be threats in the passing game because of their height.
All of these players will have the chance to earn scholarships during their time at Nebraska. But the reality is they and their families made financial sacrifices to be a part of the program.
Flipping the roster
The initial benefit of walk-ons around the program is practice competition, although some may grow into starters or even stars in their own right. By surrounding his new recruiting class around a crop of Nebraska natives, Frost will turn around the culture of the program. In a way, he’s hoping the walk-ons’ passion for Nebraska football will rub off on the rest of the team. Frost also said he was working with athletic director Bill Moos to expand the size of the roster (during periods when NCAA rules allow for that).
He offered a glimpse into that philosophy by reaching back to his playing days and taking a page out of his mentor Tom Osborne’s book.
“The best thing Coach Osborne did was have everybody practice,”Frost said. “It wasn’t 22 guys practicing and everyone else on their knee holding their helmet. It was 88 guys practicing at the same time and part of that is what led to the development of players and helped walk-ons and young players get better faster and get on the field and help the team. I think that’s an asset that Nebraska can have if we’re willing to expand the roster. That’s something I’m working on with Bill Moos. Ideally, I’d like to have 150 or a little bit more. Most teams don’t carry that many. I think last year Nebraska had 130. We’re going to see if we can get more on the team.”
Frost also offered an explanation for the high number of walk-ons in this class.
“I think we wanted to introduce more this year to get the ball rolling,” Frost said. “We want to make sure we have the right guys in the program, the right walk-ons in the program and guys that we feel like can eventually be on the field and help this football team. That’s what has happened at Nebraska in the past, and I want that to happen again.”
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