• Video Below: Bo Pelini, Rex Burkhead and practice highlights
• Photo Showcase: NU football practice (Aug. 8)
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LINCOLN — Not long after Nebraska's 2012 recruiting class was complete, the coaching staff prioritized landing Kansas City (Mo.) Rockhurst offensive lineman Zach Hannon for 2013.
That pursuit paid off. After several unofficial visits to NU — including a June trip with extended family for Big Red Weekend — the 6-foot-5, 300-pounder committed to the Huskers on Wednesday over Arkansas and home-state Missouri. He's the 13th verbal pledge for Nebraska's 2013 class.
“It was the all-in-one package,” Hannon said of the program. “Academics. Tradition. History. I see Nebraska as on the uprise.”
A consensus three-star prospect, Hannon announced his pick on Twitter at 4 p.m. Fifteen minutes earlier, he told a celebratory, screaming bunch of Nebraska coaches — led by assistant John Garrison — over the phone.
Garrison, a former Husker center who played high school football in Blue Springs, Mo., spearheaded the recruiting efforts for Hannon, who's projected as a pulling guard in Nebraska's spread option offense.
“We all hit it off from the first time we met,” Hannon said of NU's coaching staff. “They pursued me. Yeah, they went after me pretty hard.”
The Huskers had to fend off the Razorbacks, who hosted Hannon in July, and the Tigers, who enter their first year in the SEC with 14 commits for 2013. Hannon said he weighed the advantages of all three schools before deciding “a couple of days ago.” The three schools were so close, Hannon said, that he couldn't identify a No. 2.
Garrison and Co. should give an assist to Hannon's former Rockhurst teammate, Michael Rose, who plays linebacker for NU. Rose consistently recruited Hannon, accompanying him on a visit to spring practice and giving status reports during summer conditioning.
“Mike's a good friend, so I know he wouldn't tell me stuff that isn't true,” said Hannon, who added that 2013 quarterback commit Johnny Stanton stumped for the Huskers, too.
Four major recruiting services — 247Sports, ESPN, Rivals and Scout — all rate Hannon as a three-star prospect. Rivals rated him highest at his position (No. 18) while Scout rated him lowest (No. 49). Nebraska already has one 2013 offensive line commit in Dan Samuelson, who could play a variety of positions. Hannon will play tackle his senior year for Rockhurst.
He intends to play lacrosse, as well.
“It keeps up my conditioning and footwork,” Hannon said. “It keeps me loose.”
Contact the writer:
402-202-9766, firstname.lastname@example.org; twitter.com/swmckewonOWH
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• Video: Bo Pelini after practice:
• Video: Rex Burkhead after practice:
• Video: Husker football practice highlights (Aug. 8):
• Video: The Big Red Today Show (Aug. 7):