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Maurice Washington

Running back Maurice Washington of Cedar Hill, Texas, makes a catch during the Under Armour All-America game. The four-star prospect signed Wednesday with the University of Nebraska. 

If you like drama, there may be no better team to follow on National Signing Day than Nebraska.

The Huskers have climbed from momentarily having the 89th-ranked class in the nation according to 247Sports’ rankings in early December all the way to No. 24 as the late signing period arrives.

They hope they’re not nearly done adding pieces to the puzzle.

Head coach Scott Frost and his coaching staff signed 13 players in the early period and got eight enrolled early, and now they’ll try to add several more.

The intrigue will begin early and continue throughout the morning as 11 known prospects with NU among their finalists are set to announce their decisions Wednesday, making it one of the most active signing days in recent program history.

So, let’s run through what is sure to be a wild day with some twists, turns, wins and losses.

In the boat and set to sign

  • Safety Cam’Ron Jones (Mansfield, Texas).
  • Wide receiver receiver Dominick Watt (Hollywood, Florida).
  • All-purpose back Miles Jones (Plantation, Florida).
  • Safety C.J. Smith (West Palm Beach, Florida).
  • Cornerback Braxton Clark (Orlando, Florida).
  • Defensive end Casey Rogers (Avon, Connecticut).

Wednesday decisionsTop priorities

The Huskers almost assuredly would find room to get any of these three players into the class.

  • Running back Maurice Washington (Cedar Hill, Texas)

Rivals: Three stars.

247Sports: Four stars.

Also considering: Arizona State.

Washington is a dynamic athlete who was enrolled at three different high schools in his career. He fell a bit off the radar and had some academic concerns, but the NU coaches believe all is well. The Huskers are the favorite here, and Washington is seen as potentially having instant impact.

  • Outside linebacker Caleb Tannor (Lithonia, Georiga)

Rivals: Four stars.

247Sports: Four stars.

Also considering: Florida, Auburn.

Tannor was committed to Georgia until November and visited Lincoln on Jan. 12. NU has done a good job of staying involved here,

  • Outside linebacker Javontae Jean-Baptiste (Oradell, New Jersey)

Rivals: Four stars.

27Sports: Four stars.

Also considering: Ohio State, Virginia Tech, Texas A&M.

Jean-Baptiste has a lot of upside — he’s a long, fluid athlete at 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds — and that has resulted in a heated recruiting battle.

Offensive line pecking order

NU is looking for at least one more offensive lineman, particularly a tackle. These are the three main possibilities.

  • Offensive lineman Willie Canty III (Belle Glade, Florida)

Rivals: Three stars.

247Sports: Three stars.

Also considering: Louisville.

One of the many prospects Frost and company were familiar with dating back to their UCF tenure, Canty visited last weekend. The Huskers have prioritized getting at least one offensive lineman, and Canty is the best bet. NU is the favorite here.

  • Offensive lineman Jarrett Bell (Norco, California)

Rivals: Four stars.

247Sports: Three stars.

Also considering: Arizona State.

Bell at one time seemed a sure bet for the Huskers, but has gone quiet recently as NU has recruited other offensive linemen.

  • Offensive lineman Jalan Robinson (Lawrence, Kansas)

Rivals: N/A.

247Sports: Three stars.

Also considering: Mississippi State.

Robinson is an under-the-radar prospect who picked up late Power Five interest from NU and Mississippi State. He may be a contingency plan depending on what happens with Canty and Bell.

One more receiver for the road

Receiver has been identified as a critical roster need and NU already has four — more if you include Jones, the all-purpose back, or tight end/receiver signee Katerian Legrone — in the class. Can they find room for one more?

  • Wide receiver Andre Hunt (Lancaster, California)

Rivals: Three stars.

247Sports: Three stars.

Also considering: Oregon State, San Diego State.

Offensive coordinator Troy Walters has recruited Hunt hard in recent weeks and the 6-foot receiver visited last weekend. Given his offer list and the sense that his visit went well, NU appears to be in good position.

Secondary reinforcements incoming?

The defensive back end is similarly short-handed and NU appears set to take at least one more. The school already has already added Smith, Jones, Clark, Deontai Williams and Breon Dixon to the fold.

  • Cornerback/athlete Cam Taylor (Montgomery, Alabama)

Rivals: Three stars.

247Sports: Three stars.

Also considering: Missouri.

The Huskers have made getting at least one more defensive back a priority, and Taylor looks like the best bet.

  • Cornerback Ken Montgomery Jr. (Tampa, Florida)

Rivals: Three stars.

247Sports: Four stars.

Also considering: Maryland, Louisville.

Montgomery was a late offer by the Huskers, but they’re right in the mix following his Feb. 2 visit to Lincoln.

  • Cornerback Taiyon Palmer (Lawrenceville, Georgia)

Rivals: Three stars.

247Sports: Four stars.

Also considering: North Carolina State, Tennessee.

NU impressed Palmer when he visited Lincoln on Jan. 12. He was committed to Duke until late in the fall, but is still seen as a prospect who could wind up sticking close to home. He’s got good size and his recruitment took off late, but he might be a tough pull for the Huskers.

The wild card

  • Defensive tackle Otito Ogbonnia (Katy, Texas)

Rivals: Three stars.

247Sports: Three stars.

Also considering: Tennessee, Ole Miss, Texas Tech, UCLA.

Another late offer from NU, Obgonnia also happens to be a collegiate-level shot put and discus thrower. He could potentially do both, and saw the Husker track facilities during his official visit on Friday.

Frost told the Journal Star he expects the class to finish around 25 to 27. If we include Ole Miss transfer Breon Dixon, four additions Wednesday would make 24. The rest could come later. NU should have plenty of flexibility to explore the transfer market in the event it has significant attrition through spring ball and into the summer, but at the moment the numbers are pretty tight.

Prediction time

This is a fool’s errand given the number of players and the unknown surrounding how many NU will take, but hey, let’s go for it.

The guess here is the Huskers finish with a bang, getting signatures from Washington, Tannor, Canty, Hunt and Taylor.


Sports Editor

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