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FOOTBALL

Nebraska football set for big visitor weekend of portal, prep prospects

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A blend of prospects from high school, junior college and the transfer portal are Nebraska official visitors this weekend.

The Huskers, with 11 known commitments in their 2022 class, have one more weekend to add to the fold ahead of Wednesday’s early signing period, though portal newcomers could join for the spring semester as late as mid-January.

Nebraska is bringing in eight prospects, including four transfers and three prep players. Here’s a look at each:

Offensive lineman Hunter Anthony (Oklahoma State). Anthony entered the portal this week after playing in nine games as a reserve this season. The Tuttle, Oklahoma, native was OSU’s starting right tackle to begin 2020 but was injured most of that year after seeing time at right tackle and guard as a redshirt freshman. Nebraska is looking for interior O-line help, and Anthony, with two years of eligibility left, has experience and time on his side. He has told The World-Herald he plans to stay with the Cowboys through the Fiesta Bowl.

Receiver Isaiah Garcia-Castaneda (New Mexico State). A 6-foot target with two years left to play, the wideout made 37 catches for 578 yards and four touchdowns this fall after NMSU played just two games during the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign. As a freshman he led the team in receptions (56), receiving yards (953) and touchdowns (13). His portal offers also include Arizona, Minnesota, Utah and Iowa State.

Defensive back Tommi Hill (Arizona State). Nebraska was a finalist for the former four-star prospect out of Orlando in the 2021 cycle but ultimately chose ASU, where he mostly filled a role as a backup cornerback and made nine tackles in 11 games. NU defensive backs coach Travis Fisher was a big part of his recruitment before, and his primary recruiter with the Sun Devils has been on administrative leave all year. The 6-foot Hill would fill a clear Big Red need for secondary depth.

Kicker Timmy Bleekrode (Furman). The Atlanta native has made 21 of 25 career field goals at the FCS-level school, including 15 of 18 this season with a long of 51 yards. He’s also connected on 30 of 32 extra-point tries this season. Nebraska is his only reported offer and he has three seasons of eligibility left. The kicker punted last year, as well, averaging 42.15 yards per try. The Huskers, looking to shake up the position, this week added Bleekrode’s former Furman teammate, Spencer Pankratz, as a preferred walk-on as well as Kansas prep kicker Charlie Weinrich.

Defensive lineman Seleti Fevaleaki (Snow College). NU’s lone juco visitor enjoyed a dominant season on the nation’s best run-stopping defense at that level with 20 tackles and a forced fumble in eight games. Originally a 2017 prep grad, the 6-foot-3, 266-pounder went on a two-year mission in St. Louis, spent two years at BYU and left for what his Snow coach called “a very quick reset” of his priorities at the smaller school in Utah. He has three years of eligibility left.

Running back Emmett Johnson (Academy of Holy Angels, Minneapolis). Nebraska has been in touch with the two-way standout in recent weeks and may extend an offer this weekend. The three-star prospect could play offense for NU after running this season for 2,513 yards and 42 touchdowns. He also flashed as a safety with 85 tackles (13 for loss). His top suitors mostly include Group-of-Five programs and FCS schools.

Defensive lineman Ben Roberts (Salt Lake City East). It’s a relatively surprising visit from the Utah native who has been committed to Oregon since September after backing off a Washington pledge before that. The 6-foot-4, 290-pound defender — given four stars by 247Sports — would be a major late addition coming off a senior year in which he logged 107 total tackles, including 15.5 sacks.

Offensive lineman Justin Evans-Jenkins (Irvington, New Jersey). Nebraska, with a newly added offensive line coach, still doesn’t have an O-line commit in the class. Evans-Jenkins could change that as a three-star prospect with more than a dozen offers from well-known programs. From the same high school as NU linebacker Mikai Gbayor, the 6-foot-2, 270-pound Evans-Jenkins projects as an interior blocker at the next level.


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