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There will be no Nebraska football this fall. But every Husker commit plays for prep teams with plenty of room on the bandwagon.

Here’s a look at where NU’s pledges for the 2021 class are playing this year and how they can help fill some of the Big Red void for Nebraska fans.

Koby Bretz, defensive back

School: Omaha Westside

Classification: A (largest in state)

Reason to root: Bretz committed to Nebraska in late August and adds to the compelling story of Westside trying for its first state title since 1982. The roster is dotted with multiple FBS recruits, but Bretz has a reputation as perhaps the most athletically gifted of the bunch. Seeing what the defender might do week in and week out for the Class A favorite makes Westside a must-watch team.


Marques Buford, defensive back

School: St. Thomas More (Montville, Connecticut)

Classification: New England Preparatory School Athletic Council

Reason to root: Nebraska has a good relationship with coaches at this postgraduate school that also produced current Husker receiver Alante Brown. Buford thrived at Cedar Hill Trinity Christian in Texas for two years as a two-way player mentored by two former NFL defensive backs-turned-coaches in Deion Sanders and Kevin Mathis. St. Thomas More is coming off an 8-1 record, its best since 2005.


Gabe Ervin, running back

Malik Williams, defensive back

School: Buford (Georgia)

Classification: 6A (second largest in state)

Reason to root: The team already has two future Huskers on the roster, and it could have more. NU has offers out to multiple 2022 prospects in defensive backs Ryland Gandy, Malik Spencer, Isaiah Bond and Jake Pope as well as inside linebacker Aubrey Smith. The Wolves won the 5A state title last year and now move up to 6A. Ervin and Williams will play key parts in their respective backfields and face future Division I talent on a weekly basis.


Thomas Fidone, tight end

School: Council Bluffs (Iowa) Lewis Central

Classification: 3A (second largest in state)

Reason to root: Most teenagers aren’t physically built like Fidone, who is Nebraska’s future at tight end. The muscular 6-foot-6, 225-pounder will be in action east of the Missouri River all fall, and the Titans have unfinished business after reaching the state semifinals each of the last two seasons. As much of a threat as Fidone is as a receiver, he’ll be on display as a blocker and perhaps the state’s largest outside linebacker too.


Mikai Gbayor, outside linebacker

School: Irvington (New Jersey)

Classification: Group 4 North (second largest in state)

Reason to root: New Jersey has long been an underrated recruiting locale that has produced notable talent for the Huskers over the years. Gbayor could be the latest in that line but first has one more campaign with his prep squad that went 7-4 a year ago. The defender produces, coming off a 92-tackle, 16-sack junior season.


Kamonte Grimes, receiver

School: Naples (Florida) Palmetto Ridge

Classification: 6A (third largest in state)

Reason to root: Grimes will head to college as a receiver — he already has 68 career grabs for 1,152 yards and eight touchdowns — but is the epitome of position flexibility. Last year he took a few snaps at quarterback in addition to lining up in the slot and out wide. His defensive assignments included safety, cornerback and some outside linebacker depending on matchups. How far can Grimes help push his squad?


Heinrich Haarberg, quarterback

School: Kearney Catholic

Classification: C-1 (third largest in state)

Reason to root: It’s been 20 years since Nebraska signed an in-state quarterback to a scholarship, and Haarberg will have all fall to show Husker fans why Scott Frost wanted him. With a big arm and good speed, the QB is fun to watch run an offense. Kearney Catholic, which went 7-3 and made the postseason last year, could be the No. 1 high school team Big Red faithful live vicariously through in 2020.


Shawn Hardy, receiver

School: Camden County (Kingsland, Georgia)

Classification: 7A (largest in state)

Reason to root: Enjoy a playmaker making plays. Camden County runs a pass-first offense and Hardy has thrived in it, averaging 19.7 yards per catch over 80 grabs his past two years. Hardy should also be a regular in the return game. Meanwhile, Nebraska has offered a pair of Camden County’s 2022 players in four-star running back Jamie Felix and offensive lineman Noah DeMeritt. Camden County finished 8-3 last year.


Randolph Kpai, outside linebacker

School: Sioux Falls (South Dakota) Washington

Classification: 11AAA (largest in state)

Reason to root: Cheering for the Warriors tends to work out as they have reached at least the state semifinals nine times in the last decade and won three straight state titles from 2015-17. The program also produced recent Huskers like safety Nate Gerry and offensive linemen Matt and Will Farniok.


Henry Lutovsky, offensive lineman

School: Mount Pleasant (Iowa)

Classification: 3A (second largest in state)

Reason to root: A big senior year for Lutovsky — a 6-foot-6, 320-pound guard — could only mean good things for Nebraska as it continues its recruiting push into eastern Iowa under NU defensive coordinator Erik Chinander, a former Hawkeye. The Panthers again boast one of the best O-lines in the state, using the advantage in the trenches to score 30-plus points seven times in their 6-3 season in 2019.


Seth Malcom, inside linebacker

School: Fremont-Mills (Tabor, Iowa)

Classification: Eight-Man (smallest in state)

Reason to root: Division I recruits from eight-man programs don’t exactly grow on trees. Malcom excelled on the 80-yard field last year, collecting 70.5 tackles (15 for loss) with three interceptions while mixing in 12.1 yards per carry and 29 touchdowns as a running back. Fremont-Mills has been a power in its class the last decade and has gone 59-11 over the last six seasons. NU’s first eight-man player to commit as a scholarship player in 20 years will be on the field a lot.


Latrell Neville, receiver

School: Fort Bend Hightower (Missouri City, Texas)

Classification: 5A (second largest in state)

Reason to root: Everyone loves a breakout story. Neville has long had the measurables — speed, hands, a 6-foot-3 frame — and attracted more than 40 FBS scholarship offers because of them. But he’s yet to post big numbers in high school and is coming off a 30-catch season for 276 yards. With health and a supportive offense around him, the Nebraska commit could eventually look like even more of a steal.


Patrick Payton, outside linebacker

School: Miami (Florida) Northwestern

Classification: 5A (fourth largest in state)

Reason to root: All that talent and all that winning. Northwestern is aiming for its fourth straight state title this season and often appears in various national team rankings. It has a five-star outside linebacker — Terrence Lewis, whom Nebraska recruited before he committed to Tennessee — and seven Power Five commits overall. If Payton can shine on this team, it bodes well for his transition to Lincoln next year.


Teddy Prochazka, offensive lineman

School: Elkhorn South

Classification: A (largest in state)

Reason to root: One of Nebraska’s top-rated players in its 2021 recruiting class will be in action locally on a weekly basis, getting after quarterbacks on defense when he’s not playing his future college position at offensive tackle. Elkhorn South was 7-4 last season and reached the state quarterfinals.


AJ Rollins, tight end

School: Omaha Creighton Prep

Classification: A (largest in state)

Reason to root: At 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds, Rollins can make plays on both sides of the ball and will do so for a team that went 6-4 and made the playoffs last year. He’s the first Junior Jay to get a Nebraska offer since Zach Potter and Titus Adams in the early 2000s. The more talent a traditional power like Prep has, the better for the Huskers.


Lardarius Webb Jr., defensive back

School: Jackson (Mississippi) Academy

Classification: 6A (largest in state)

Reason to root: Webb Jr. moved to Jackson Academy from Opelika, Alabama, this summer to live with his father — former NFL defensive back Lardarius Webb — and better prepare for college football. JA went 7-5 a year ago and adds a defender who logged 51 tackles and three interceptions in 2019 while also appearing as a receiver and kick returner. Webb Jr. gives his new team an immediate boost and gets to see how his talents translate in a different state.


Branson Yager, offensive lineman

School: Grantsville (Utah)

Classification: 3A (fourth largest in state)

Reason to root: A Pipeline preview. Yager, at 6-foot-8 and 328 pounds in the spring, plays both ways for a team that went 10-3 last year. Grantsville will lean heavily on his big frame as it replaces almost its entire offense, and he’ll again be part of a veteran defense that barely allowed 14 points per game last year. The lineman aspires to one day be a team leader at Nebraska and will get a chance to develop those skills this fall.


Nebraska football's 2021 recruiting class