Nebraska recruiting in Georgia
One of the biggest surprises on National Signing Day this year was when 4-star outside linebacker Caleb Tannor chose Nebraska over a bevy of SEC offers. Many expected the Lithonia, Ga., native to play his college ball in the conference, as he was a one-time Georgia commit.
It was the first of what Nebraska hopes to be many steals from Georgia, which often serves as the most fertile recruiting ground in the country. In the 2019 class, the Huskers already have offered 33 prospects in the state. Only recruits in Texas, Florida and California have received more offers by state from Nebraska.
Tight ends coach Sean Beckton leads Nebraska’s recruiting efforts in the state. The Huskers have made the area a priority, and they’ve shown no signs of shying away from the competition on the recruiting trail in Georgia.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the top Nebraska targets in the state and their ratings per 247Sports composite.
Hometown/school: Loganville (Grayson)
Position: Outside linebacker
Rating: 5 stars, No. 1 OLB, No. 7 overall prospect
Nebraska made Owen Pappoe’s top-3 list in the fall when Mike Riley was the coach. Former linebackers coach Trent Bray led his recruitment then, and it’s been handed over to Beckton and inside linebackers coach Barrett Ruud. Pappoe originally planned to schedule an official visit with Nebraska during the fall, likely for the Michigan State game. However, he announced in March his intentions to commit on May 5. A potential official visit during the fall would come under the shroud of a commitment, if it even happened at all. Pappoe’s spring visit schedule is mostly unknown, but it’s unlikely he will be in Lincoln for junior day this weekend or the spring game. The decision to commit earlier is not just a sign Nebraska will face an uphill battle here; rather, it signals there may not be a battle with the Huskers involved at all. Pappoe has an official visit to Texas planned for the weekend of April 27. Auburn and Georgia remain the top contenders for him.
Hometown/school: Loganville (Grayson)
Rating: 3 stars, No. 91 OLB, No. 1,153 overall
Like his teammate Pappoe, Allen Smith has expressed interest in visiting Nebraska. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound prospect could certainly be an effective edge rusher. He may not be as highly touted as his Grayson teammates, but he holds 13 offers nonetheless, with Minnesota, Maryland, North Carolina and Louisville all extending offers. The Huskers offered him in late February, so things seem to be moving fairly quickly with Smith.
Hometown/school: Suwanee (North Gwinnett)
Position: Running back
Rating: 3 stars, No. 44 RB, No. 577 overall
Another one of Nebraska’s favorite programs in Georgia is North Gwinnett. Tyler Goodson has 22 reported offers, picking up one from Nebraska last month. The Huskers will be looking for at least two playmaking running backs in the 2019 class. Will position coach Ryan Held find one in the 5-foot-10, 185-pound Goodson?
Hometown/school: Hogansville (Callaway)
Rating: 4 stars, No. 7 G, No. 134 overall
Nearly all of Keiondre Jones’ 28 offers come from Power 5 programs. He will have plenty of good options in front of him when it comes time to make a decision. The Huskers need help on the line in the 2019 class, and offensive line coach Greg Austin won’t be afraid to leave the Midwest for one. Once again, Auburn and Clemson pose issues for the Huskers. According to Jones’ 247Sports Crystal Ball, Clemson holds 56 percent of the predictions, while Georgia has 22 percent.
Hometown/school: Lawrenceville (Archer)
Rating: 4 stars, No. 29 safety, No. 352 overall
Jalyn Phillips is the owner of a whopping 53 offers already. The number of offers is validated by his potential. As a 6-foot-1 defensive back who runs a 4.5 40-yard dash, he would be an electric piece to any secondary in the country. Phillips recently named the Huskers to his top-10 list, so it’s definitely something to keep an eye on.
Hometown/school: Vidalia (Garden City Community College)
Position: Inside linebacker
Rating (JUCO rankings): 4 stars, No. 1 ILB, No. 2 overall
One of the most impressive prospects currently in the junior college ranks, Lakia Henry could not make grades out of high school and wound up at Garden City to straighten them out. Now that he’s on track to do so, Henry will have his picks of some of the top programs in the country. Alabama already is heavily involved. Iowa State, Ole Miss, Texas and Tennessee also have expressed interest. Henry has said he hopes to visit Nebraska this summer. After signing Will Honas from Garden City in 2018, perhaps the Huskers can sign the top JUCO inside linebacker in the class once again.
Hometown/school: Stone Mountain (Stephenson)
Rating: 3 stars, No. 83 athlete, No. 847 overall
Tra Wilkins is ranked as an athlete, but Nebraska intends on recruiting him at inside linebacker. Beckton visited his school and offered him right after he finished watching Wilkins working out. He has started taking visits, and Wilkins told Land of 10 he hopes to visit Nebraska soon, either for a spring practice or the spring game.