Recruiting Ticker, Jan. 17: Husker coaches (attempt to) hit the road in snowy weather

Recruiting Ticker, Jan. 17: Husker coaches (attempt to) hit the road in snowy weather

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Friday Night Lights, 6/22

Nebraska head coach Scott Frost (right) watches the work on the field with Huskers defensive coordinator Erik Chinander on during the Friday Night Lights event at Memorial Stadium in 2018.

Check out Husker Extra's Recruiting Ticker feature throughout the current contact period to keep up with Nebraska's whereabouts on the recruiting trail as the second National Signing Day approaches in early February.

It is a snowy Friday morning in Lincoln, but the Nebraska football coaching staff is out on the road in force recruiting as a two-week contact period opens.

To open, let's reset where the Huskers stand at this point in the 2020 cycle. They signed 23 players in December — a class that ranks No. 18 nationally according to Rivals and No. 20 according to 247Sports — and enters the January contact period with just two spots remaining in the class.

Those spots can either be taken by recruits or players in the transfer portal between now and the 2020 season, but the number doesn't go up if players leave NU, so the Huskers will be judicious in how they go about filling them.

One official visitor is wide receiver Kris Abrams-Draine of Spanish Fort, Alabama, who was slated to make it to Lincoln on Friday — weather allowing, of course — and it's not a stretch to think defensive line coach Tony Tuioti will be in to see Rigby, Idaho, defensive lineman Tanoa Togiai before long, too.

Outside of those two, it will be interesting to see how far Nebraska's interest in remaining 2020 players advances.

That means, by and large, much of NU's travels over the next couple of weeks will be to check on existing signees and to get into the schools of many 2021 prospects around the country.

Some updates to get started: 

One note off the top is that some of Nebraska's coaches did not make it out on the road recruiting Friday due to inclement weather and school closures. Travel conditions obviously aren't ideal, and any recruiting regarding 2021 prospects at this point is limited to getting to players' schools, which is rendered impossible if school is closed. 

So, with that caveat in mind, here's what the Journal Star's learned about where coaches were at least slated to begin the weekend. 

* NU head coach Scott Frost and defensive coordinator Erik Chinander were expected to make the rounds in Iowa on Friday, which isn't a surprise given the Huskers already have one verbal pledge for 2021 out of the state in offensive lineman Henry Lutovsky and are recruiting several others. That list includes, but isn't limited to, four-star outside linebacker T.J. Bollers (Tiffin), three-star defensive lineman Jeffrey Bowie (West Branch) and four-star tight end Thomas Fidone (Council Bluffs), three players high on Nebraska's list.

* Ryan Held is expected to be in Dallas early in the contact period to see signed junior college wide receiver Omar Manning (Kilgore College). Held will undoubtedly get in a lot of miles over the next two weeks, but he'll also stop in to see some of the guys who are signed but have not yet arrived on campus.

* Mario Verduzco on Friday swung through Kearney Catholic High, the school of 2021 quarterback Heinrich Haarberg. 

Haarberg is a big, intriguing athlete at 6-foot-5. He doesn't have an offer from Nebraska at this point, but he's obviously continuing to garner interest from Verduzco and company. 

* Inside linebackers coach Barrett Ruud was supposed to kick things off in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where Nebraska recently picked up a verbal pledge from 2021 four-star linebacker Randolph Kpai of Washington High. The Sioux Falls school district canceled school on Friday, however. 

* One interesting development: Bellevue West coach Michael Huffman told the Journal Star on Thursday that he was expecting Husker offensive quality control coach Steve Cooper to visit on Friday. The Thunderbirds have both NU 2020 wide receiver signee Zavier Betts and offered 2021 athlete Keagan Johnson.

* Three-star 2021 pass-rusher Derek Wilkins (Rancho Santa Margarita, California) tweeted on Friday morning that he had made it to Lincoln for his unofficial visit. Wilkins is listed at 6-4, 230 pounds and has several Pac-12 offers. This is his first known visit to NU and he'll be around Saturday for the Huskers' junior day, too. 

2021 Husker football recruits

2021 Husker football recruits

Name Position Hometown (School) Stars
Henry Lutovsky OL Mt. Pleasant, Iowa ***
Randolph Kpai LB Sioux Falls, South Dakota (Washington) ****
Christopher Paul Jr. LB Cordele, Georgia (Crisp County) ***
Teddy Prochazka OT Elkhorn (South) ****

Contact the writer at pgabriel@journalstar.com or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraPG.

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