MIKE SCHAEFER

Mike Schaefer is a recruiting analyst for Huskers Illustrated.


BEST OVERALL PROSPECT

Defensive back Lamar Jackson. Probably will be the stock answer, but this is the kind of player Nebraska needs if it really wants to make waves and return to prominence. Jackson is a tremendous athlete, has NFL-caliber size and could be a huge weapon as the Huskers look to overhaul their pass defense.

BEST OFFENSIVE PROSPECT

Quarterback Patrick O'Brien. Getting the right quarterback was an important thing for the Huskers in this class. O'Brien is a strong fit for the style of offense Nebraska wants to run, and he's also athletic enough that the Huskers can still sneak in a zone-read keeper every so often to keep defenses honest. There's going to be a ton of hype, but it's merited.

BEST DEFENSIVE PROSPECT

Defensive back Marquel Dismuke. It'll be interesting to see if he starts off at safety or if the Huskers try to see if he can handle college cornerback. Regardless, Dismuke is a very athletic, incredibly instinctive player who isn't afraid to get his hands dirty in coverage or in run support.

STRONGEST POSITION GROUP

Quarterback. If you include Tanner Lee as part of the 2016 class, then Nebraska has overhauled the most important position in football. Now the Huskers have two future options in O'Brien and Lee who can help transition the offense into more of what Mike Riley hopes to run at Nebraska.

HIDDEN GEM, OFFENSE

Athlete JD Spielman. This was more of a "hidden gem" in August when it didn't quite make sense why the Huskers were seemingly much higher on Spielman than his homestate Golden Gophers, but after winning Gatorade Player of the Year and scoring touchdowns in five different ways, the athlete is now a wellregarded threat.

HIDDEN GEM, DEFENSE

Safety JoJo Domann. One of my personal favorites in the class, Domann will get overlooked by bigger names in the secondary, but his versatility is what excites the Huskers. If Domann hits a growth spurt, he could move down to linebacker, where he'd be able to help in coverage and still has the ability to fill out the box against the run.

BIG TEN RECRUITING WIN

Offensive tackle Matt Farniok. This is probably one of Nebraska's biggest wins of the class, keeping a talented offensive lineman away from Iowa.

BIG TEN RECRUITING LOSS

Defensive tackle Garrett Rand. This was a guy who had several connections to the state of Nebraska, camped in Lincoln for his freshman year and was already well versed with the program. He ended up at Wisconsin.

NEEDS NOT FULLY ADDRESSED

The Huskers added Collin Miller late to join Ben Stille as the defensive ends in the class. Both could be good projects down the line, but neither player projects to help the team's initial pass rush needs.

KEY NEEDS FORNEXT YEAR

Nebraska needs to find a tight end with a skill set similar to Cethan Carter's, as he'll be a big loss after 2016. The Huskers also have needs at defensive end, defensive tackle, wide receiver and offensive tackle.

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