Huskers Reel in Recruits as Signing Day Beckons
By Mike Malloy
6-2, 190, receiver
North Caddo High
Ratings: 247 Composite: 0.9373 (4 stars)
As of early August, Miller is the Huskers’ highest-rated recruit at No. 100 nationally, according to 247Sports. Miller, who passed up Arkansas, LSU, West Virginia and Miami, was named the Shreveport Times 2022 Male Athlete of the Year after catching 76 passes for 1,502 yards and 20 touchdowns his junior season at North Caddo High School. Miller excels elsewhere, averaging 26 points a game in basketball and sports a 3.2 grade-point average, according to the Shreveport Times.
“O is special due to the obstacles he’s overcome, while remaining focused on his goals and staying completely out of trouble,” North Caddo High coach John Kavanaugh said. “He has grown into a leader as he matured.”
Riley Van Poppel
6-4, 270, linebacker
Ratings: 247 Composite: 0.8994 (4 stars)
Van Poppel had 23 scholarship offers but chose Nebraska over suitors like Arkansas, Colorado, Florida State, Kansas State, Michigan and Purdue. The son of retired Major League Baseball pitcher Todd Van Poppel, Riley had 14 tackles for loss, including seven sacks, for 11-2 Argyle High School in 2021, according to the Dallas Morning-News. 247Sports rates Van Poppel 286 overall and 14th best at his position nationally.
He told Huskers 247 that he didn’t think much of Nebraska before visiting campus, but afterward he was “blown away.”
“Lincoln wasn’t what I expected,” he said. “It was bigger; there was more to it than I thought it would be.”
6-6, 285, offensive tackle
Lincoln Southeast High
Ratings: 247 Composite: 0.8767 (3 stars)
The third-best prospect in the state, according to 247Sports, is staying home. Gottula, who plays for his father, Ryan Gottula, at Lincoln Southeast, committed to the Huskers last summer after attending a Friday Night Lights camp at Memorial Stadium.
“(Offensive line coach Greg) Austin had me talk to him after camp and he asked me, ‘Would you like to be a Husker?’ After I answered, he offered me. That was pretty cool,” Gottula told the Lincoln Journal Star. “It’s pretty exciting because I always went to their games as a kid, so it was cool to get an offer and have the opportunity to play there.”
6-0, 195, receiver
Ratings: 247 Composite: 0.8794 (3 stars)
Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Illinois, Colorado and Iowa State all came calling for Doss, but he’s coming to Lincoln. One of four receivers Nebraska picked up this summer, Doss had 28 catches for 442 yards and five touchdowns at Raymore-Peculiar High School. The small town with the odd name is just southwest of Kansas City, an area special teams coordinator Bill Busch has worked extensively this offseason.
“I’m not sure how much Nebraska had been in Kansas City over the last few years. I know they’ve recruited it, but boy, it seems like coach Busch is doing it even more,” Raymore-Peculiar coach Richard Elkins told the Lincoln Journal Star in March.
Dwight Bootle II
5-10, 165, cornerback
Ratings: 247 Composite: 0.8630 (3 stars)
Name sound familiar? The younger brother of recent Husker Dicaprio Bootle is following the path blazed from South Beach to the plains, passing up opportunities with Northwestern, Michigan, Indiana, Kansas and Boston College. The younger Bootle received a scholarship offer from Nebraska on Jan. 30 and committed Jan. 31.
“I just felt like it was a great place for me to continue my legacy and piggyback off of my brother. It was just the move. I’ve been there already, I’m familiar with it and I know the coaching staff will push me to the max,” he told the Lincoln Journal Star.
Bootle had 22 pass deflections for Killian High School, which posted four shutouts in a 12-2 season last year.
6-4, 225, defensive end
Elkhorn South High
Ratings: 247 Composite: 0.8759 (3 stars)
Noonan and Gottula can argue about who’s got the better game and who’s got the better name. Noonan, a senior at Elkhorn South High School, was rated as the fourth-best prospect in Nebraska, one behind Gottula, by 247Sports.com. Noonan is the son of former Dallas Cowboy and Husker All-American Danny Noonan, who was the Big Eight Player of the Year in 1986.
“I know every dad thinks their kid is the greatest,” Danny Noonan told the Omaha World-Herald. “But Maverick is a thoroughbred. He was born to rush the passer. His skills now at 17 years old are as good as some of the pros. If you watch his film and break it down, his hand skills are unbelievable. I’d like to say I taught him that – I didn’t.”
The younger Noonan turned down Michigan State, Minnesota, Stanford, Iowa State and Iowa to follow his father’s path to Lincoln.
6-5, 185, receiver
Ratings: 247 Composite: 0.8736 (3 stars)
Another in-state recruit and another coach’s son. Ben Brahmer, who plays at Pierce High School for his father, Mark Brahmer, could be a receiver or a tight end when he gets to Lincoln. Height runs in the family; his older sisters Maggie and Jaci Brahmer both play volleyball at Wayne State.
Brahmer, who turned down Iowa State, told Rivals.com that his father taught him to be a more vocal leader on the field and “to treat everyone kindly and not be cocky … I’ve been playing football since I could stand so I’ve been able to catch it well because of him.”
William Watson III
6-0, 175, quarterback
Springfield Central High
Ratings: 247 Composite: 0.8769 (3 stars)
Most coaches wouldn’t consider Massachusetts a recruiting hot bed, but new offensive coordinator Mark Whipple found a gem there in Watson. Known as “Pop” Watson on Twitter, the high school senior has known Whipple since middle school, according to MassLive.com, giving the Huskers the inside track. Watson led Springfield Central to a state championship in 2021, throwing for 2,026 yards, 22 touchdowns and three interceptions. He passed on Oregon, Michigan, Tennessee and Kentucky to head to join Big Red.
“Whipple was the No. 1 reason,” Watson told Rivals.com about why he chose Nebraska. “He knows I’m going to make the correct read every time.”
Watson is the only quarterback in the Huskers’ 2023 class.
He also had offers from Iowa, Iowa State and Kansas State.
6-3, 232, linebacker
Cypress Woods High
Ratings: 247 Composite: 0.8693 (3 stars)
Colorado, Kansas, Kansas State and Houston came calling for Rogers but he only said yes to Nebraska with a tweet, “Husker Nation I’m home!!” on July 6. He piled up 58 tackles and four interceptions in seven games last season at Cypress Woods High School and played both inside and outside linebacker.
“I’m a family guy, and Nebraska made me feel like part of their family,” Rogers told Inside Nebraska.
5-11, 175, receiver
Cedar Grove High
Ratings: 247 Composite: 0.8572 (3 stars)
One of four receivers in Nebraska’s class, Jackson made 28 catches for 510 yards and seven touchdowns for Cedar Grove High School last season. He passed on Mississippi State, Pittsburgh, Kansas, Duke and Vanderbilt to come to Lincoln.
“The players and coaching staff made me feel like I was home,” Jackson said when he announced his college decision on TV station 11 Live in Atlanta.
6-4, 270, offensive line/defensive line
Ratings: 247 Composite: 0.8631 (3 stars)
Sledge started his high school career as a tight end but after one game moved to tackle.
“I had to learn the plays in one week,” Sledge told HuskerOnline.
He proved so good there that he eventually became a starter on both sides of the ball. Sledge, whose father, Bob Sledge, was an All-Big Eight lineman at Nebraska in the 1980s, had offers from Kansas and Miami (Ohio).
6-7, 270, offensive tackle
Ratings: 247 Composite: 0.8672 (3 stars)
Knutson transferred from Mitchell High School – a Class C-1 program – to Class B Scottsbluff last year to possibly graduate early and head to Lincoln a semester sooner. He told HuskerOnline that he was a “fat tub of lard” when he started high school but credited his strength coach for helping him add 70 pounds of muscle the past three years.
Playing at a bigger high school also gave Knutson more publicity, which attracted offers from Iowa State, Arizona State, Kansas and Kansas State.
“Exposure was hard for me at Mitchell. I had to do a lot work on Twitter,” Knutson said. “I wrote up a little resume and sent it to everybody.”
6-3, 210, linebacker
Regis Jesuit High
Ratings: 247 Composite: 0.8533 (3 stars)
Moore turned down offers from Iowa State, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Texas Tech and UCLA. He had 111 tackles, including 11 for a loss, in 12 games at Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora. He also was 5-0 as a pitcher on the school’s baseball team.