Nebraska on Friday landed a verbal commitment from three-star offensive lineman Valen Erickson. Here are three observations following the pledge.
1. Versatility is the name of the game for Nebraska on the offensive line this cycle.
The Huskers have a young roster overall and offensive line is no different.
NU’s likely starting pair at tackle this year: true freshman Turner Corcoran and redshirt freshman Bryce Benhart. If Brant Banks wins the right guard job, NU will start redshirt freshmen at both guard spots. Even Cam Jurgens, who will be going into his third year as a starter, is just a sophomore. The NCAA’s extra year of eligibility has affected everybody, but the Huskers were young to begin with and now remain so going forward.
After that group, Nouredin Nouili is a sophomore, Michael Lynn and Jimmy Fritzche are redshirt freshmen and Alex Conn is a freshman. Nebraska is high on midyear enrollees Teddy Prochazka and Henry Lutovsky, too.
In fact, nine of NU’s 13 scholarship offensive linemen have at least four years of eligibility remaining.
That’s a recipe for A) a small offensive line class in the 2022 recruiting cycle, and B) a focus on a player or players who can project at more than one position.
That’s Erickson. He could end up as a tackle at 6-foot-6 and 310 pounds, but he could also slide inside and play guard, too.
Will Nebraska take another offensive lineman? Assuming Jake Maikkula doesn’t pick the Huskers in the coming days, keep an eye on John Pastore, who earned an offer with a strong workout last month.
2. Nebraska now has two verbal commitments in the past two weeks, with Erickson joining defensive lineman Hayden Schwartz (Jacksonville, Florida).
That’s now seven of the 19 Class of 2022 players who were uncommitted at the time of their Nebraska official visit over the month of June that have pledged to the Huskers.
Columbus linebacker Ernest Hausmann, of course, had already decided on NU when he came to campus in the middle of the month. The Huskers also landed Ohio State transfer defensive back Tyreke Johnson after an official visit at the start of the month.
There still could be more to come from that group, too.
3. Nebraska had several other players back on campus for unofficial visits this week and this weekend in addition to Erickson.
There are also other players with Husker offers who are set to make their decisions soon. Keep an eye not only on Maikkula, but four-star athlete Jaden Mangham, who is announcing his verbal commitment on Sunday. He took an official visit to Nebraska on the final weekend of June. He has a final six of NU, West Virginia, Michigan, Michigan State, Georgia Tech and Illinois.
Others that have visited Nebraska officially but have not yet made decisions include defensive backs Nathan Vail (Kennesaw, Georgia), Markeith Williams (Orlando) and Avery Powell (Jersey City, New Jersey) and linebacker Tyler Martin (Acton, Massachusetts).
Official visits, of course, will ramp up again in Lincoln when the Huskers open their home slate Sept. 4 against Buffalo.
A look at the 2021 Nebraska football schedule
Week 11 /// Southeastern LouisianaUpdated
When: Nov. 13
Where: Memorial Stadium
Southeastern Louisiana in 2020: 2-2 (split-schedule concludes in April)
The last time the Huskers and Lions met: No previous matchups