Roster management and portal season looms for Nebraska

What are the next steps for Nebraska with spring football now behind us? We hit on that and more in today’s 3-2-1 column.

1 – We are about to enter the spring portal season for Nebraska

Everyone wants to know these things about Nebraska. What players are going and which ones are coming.

This is a very hard thing to answer today, but attrition is inevitable. A lot of that will begin to take place once head coach Scott Frost and his staff conduct post-spring meetings with the players. None of that happened this week.

The other big question is how will the spring portal season play out? In a lot of ways, you have to think Nebraska may have an idea already of some potential players who plan to enter the transfer portal after spring practice ends.

When you look at scholarship numbers right now, it’s pretty much a situation where the Huskers can’t add any more players unless they lose a current one.

My read today is you will see the Huskers probably add anywhere from three to five players at key positions of need. A lot of that will depend on what players become available.

2 – Husker coaches will spring recruit for the first time since 2019 this week

Think about this: Friday will be the first time in 1,050 days FBS college football coaches will be allowed on the road for a spring recruiting evaluation period.

Both the 2020 and 2021 spring evaluation periods were shut down for COVID. May 31, 2019, was the last allowed spring recruiting day by the NCAA.

It’s almost eerie to think about when you look at it like that. I think people really underestimate how valuable these days are on the road, even though coaches are not allowed to conduct in-home visits or technically “talk” to prospects. The NCAA only allows what’s called a “bump,” where a coach can casually say “hello” to a prospect in passing.

Over the spring, schools are allowed to make two visits to see a prospect. One visit can be an athletic evaluation, which can be anything from a weight lifting session, P.E. Class or track meet. The other encounter has to be an “academic visit” where you spend time talking to counselors and other key people in the school about the prospective student-athlete’s school work.

In some ways, the NCAA probably just needs to blow the lid off the spring evaluation period, and allow in-home visits and other elements of recruiting to take place. In all reality, most offered Power Five recruits will have their decisions made before the start of their senior year, and in-home visits can’t even take place until the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

The NCAA needs to figure out a way to make the in-home visits more of a factor in recruiting because right now they don’t carry near the value they did before the start of the early signing day in 2018.

3 – The Huskers made their sixth in-state offer for 2023 this past week

Nebraska made their sixth in-state offer for the class of 2023 to Scottsbluff offensive lineman Brock Knutson this past Saturday. On the surface, that seems like a lot of in-state offers by the Huskers, but it’s actually fewer than each of the last two years.

In both 2022 and 2021, the Big Red made seven in-state offers. The record number of in-state offers for the Rivals database that goes back to 2002 was 11 in 2002. The Huskers also made nine in-state offers in the star-studded class of 2009. They went 10-of-11 in 2002 on in-state commits and 5-of-9 in 2009.

NU has already locked up three of the six in-state players they have offered for the class of 2023. They appear to be in good shape with Knutson, and you still have to like their chances with Elkhorn South edge rusher Maverick Noonan. The wildcard remains Lincoln East athlete Malachi Coleman, who continues to see his stock rise by the day.

1 – Do you feel good about Nebraska’s chances with Ochaun Mathis?

Nebraska has done all it can at this point to land TCU edge rusher Ochaun Mathis. They brought him in for the best possible weekend for a spring official visit. He was accompanied on the trip by his mother, brother and multiple other key figures in his life.

On Monday, Mathis announced on Twitter he will have a decision made by the end of April. The question is, what does that mean for Nebraska? I think it’s good news in the sense it doesn’t appear as if he’s going to take a lot more visits. This is a two-horse race in my eyes between Texas and Nebraska.

The x-factor remains location and also his connection with former TCU head coach Gary Patterson, who now serves on the coaching staff at UT as a special assistant to Steve Sarkisian. What will that relationship mean in the end?

2 – What does the post-spring schedule look like?

Now that spring football is done, what’s next for Nebraska? Here are some key dates to know moving forward.

April 15: Spring evaluation period begins

May 2: Dead week

May 9: Finals week

May 14: UNL spring graduation:

May 31: Spring evaluation periods ends

June 2: Newcomers begin to report to Lincoln

June 3: Friday Night Lights Camp No. 1

June 6: UNL five-week summer school session begins

June 17: Friday Night Lights Camp No. 2

July 26-27: Big Ten Media Days – Indianapolis

July 29: Expected start date of Fall Camp

Aug. 22: Huskers expected depart date for Ireland

Over this off-season, junior Garrett Nelson has added 10 pounds to his frame and increased his muscle mass by 4 percent. He has made massive gains.

Nelson is going to be used more as an edge rusher this year in passing situations. I predict, with the gains he’s made, Nelson is set to have a big season in 2022 with at least eight quarterback sacks.

Sean Callahan can be reached at [email protected] and he can be heard each day at 6:45 am and 5:05 pm on Big Red Radio 1110 KFAB in Omaha during the football season. He can also be seen on KETV Channel 7 in Omaha during the fall and each week he appears on NET’s Big Red Wrap-Tuesday’s at 7 pm.