At his introductory press conference on Monday, Nebraska head coach Matt Rhule pledged to head back to his office, “rip off this suit” and start recruiting that very night.
He wasn't exaggerating. Rhule has already extended scholarship offers to several 2023 recruits who could join Nebraska’s class in the coming weeks. In fact, the first offers to go out under Rhule’s leadership came before his official introduction — 2023 defensive back Dante Lovett was first on Saturday, followed by an offer to Omaha Westside two-sport (track) star Jaylen Lloyd on Sunday.
Evidenced by Lloyd and a few other offers, there’s one key trait Rhule is targeting so far — speed.
“We have a certain profile that we like to recruit to: big, fast guys even if they’re a little bit developmental," Rhule said on Monday. “We want to get as much speed as we can get any time we can get it, so we’ve gotten started with that.”
»Grand Prairie (Texas) running back AJ Newberry - currently committed to Colorado, conducting its own coaching search - rushed for 1,094 yards and 15 touchdowns in seven games. The 6-foot, 200-pound three-star prospect is scheduled to visit Indiana Dec. 9.
»Charlotte (N.C.) Christian running back Kyron Jones, a three-star back who is currently committed to North Carolina State. Jones (6-0, 200) rushed for 1,346 yards and 16 touchdowns on just 127 carries, drawing in-season offers from the likes of Notre Dame, Miami and Michigan State.
»Manor (Texas) edge rusher Princewill Umanmielen, who has a long list of offers that includes Arkansas, Florida, Minnesota, Mississippi, TCU and Washington, among others. The 6-4, 225-pound four-star prospect had 129 tackles and 21 sacks over the last two seasons.
»Philadelphia Imhotep Institute safety Rahmir Stewart, a 5-11, 190-pounder whohas offers from just about every college football powerhouse — Alabama, Georgia, Texas, USC, Notre Dame, Penn State and now, Nebraska. He’s also a key target for Texas A&M.
»Palmyra (N.J.) athlete Kwinten Ives picked up an offer from Nebraska on Tuesday night. A hybrid running back/wide receiver, the 6-foot-3, 180-pounder is unranked by recruiting services, and previously had offers from Stony Brook, Temple and UConn. Given that Rhule hired Nebraska running backs coach E.J. Barthel away from UConn, it’s clear that Barthel still values Ives, who rushed for 1,617 yards and had 250 receiving yards for Palmyra.
»While Avon (Conn.) Farms athlete Christian Alliegro plays very different positions than Ives, he got a Husker offer Wednesday. The 6-3, 220pound linebacker/tight end - who played at the same prep school as former Husker Casey Rogers - also has interest from Minnesota, Virginia and Wake Forest.
One more player that Rhule and his staff reached out to is former Nebraska edge rusher commit Cameron Lenhardt. A four-star talent out of IMG Academy in Florida, Lenhardt committed to Nebraska in August despite interest from Penn State and Michigan State. However, he decommitted less than a month later after Nebraska fired one of his primary recruiters, former defensive coordinator Erik Chinander.
But, given that Lenhardt still hasn’t landed at a college yet, Rhule and his staff may be hoping that the same positive aspects of the Nebraska program will resonate with Lenhardt again. The prospect tweeted that he had been “re-offered” by Nebraska on Tuesday.
This early recruiting activity follows a blueprint that Rhule laid out on Monday.
“I think our ties recruiting in Texas are something we’re going to lean on,” Rhule said. “You look at the history of Nebraska and its ties to New Jersey, those are places that we’re pretty well-known and Florida. Those are the distinct areas.”
Photos: Nebraska introduces Matt Rhule as new football coach