Matt Rhule quick hits from National Signing Day press conference
While much of Nebraska’s Class of 2023 was finalized during the first signing period in December, the Huskers put the finishing touches on it on Wednesday, the traditional national college football signing day.
Nebraska secured the signings of five high school rookies on Wednesday, including four-star receiver Demitrius Bell (Nashville, Tennessee), three-star tight end Ismael Smith Flores (Arlington, Texas), three-star defensive lineman Sua Lefotu (Bellflower, Calif.), three-star defensive back D’Andre Barnes (Aurora, Colo.) and two-star receiver Jeremiah Charles (Arlington, Texas).
The Huskers’ Class of 2023 is 28 strong and made up of 27 high school seniors and a junior college addition in outside linebacker Kai Wallin. The class currently sits 24th in the country.
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Head Coach Matt Rhule met the media on Wednesday to discuss his program. Here are the quick shots:
>> Rhule begins with an opening statement and wanted to make sure to honor National Girls and Women in Sports Day and Black History Month. He also wished good luck to the four former Huskers who will participate in the next Super Bowl.
>> Rhule said the focus will now be solely on the squad players. It’s a sprint, and as the 2023 class is finalized, it’s not going to slow down. He’s going to focus on what he currently has and get to work.
>> There is a competitiveness among the staff at Rhule. Rhule said his staff is built on two things — relationships and norms. And the norm is to work very hard. This contributed to the signing of D’Andre Barnes, Rhule said. Offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield reunited with Barnes on a trip to Denver.
>> Rhule said he’d like to have 16 linemen or scholarships, which the program doesn’t have right now. The coach also said he has seen non-Scholarship O-linemen moving around during practices and believes they move like scholarship O-linemen.
>> All of Nebraska’s 11 transfers are on campus and with the team.
>> Rhule said he wants to increase the speed of the team, but just because someone is fast doesn’t mean they will be a good football player. “These things (speed) guide you, they are a rock you can lean on.” But Rhule is aware there needs to be work elsewhere with the quick recruits the Huskers acquired in the 2023 class. Development will be crucial.
>> Corey Campbell and his strength staff have been an important part of the staff meeting and getting to know the coaching staff.
>> 14 former Rhule players are currently on his team in on and off-court roles.
>> Georgia transfer tight end Arik Gilbert has all the talent in the world, Rhule says. Rhule said he wants Gilbert to leave Lincoln a better man, when that’s the case.
>> Rhule said special teams coordinator Ed Foley going to eight high schools in one day is “the bare minimum” and something expected of his staff on the recruiting trail.
>> What does Rhule hope to see from his six stock quarterbacks right now? “Hey, just improve,” Rhule said of quarterbacks. It’s a day to day process with these guys
>> Rhule has confirmed quarterbacks Casey Thompson and Logan Smothers will miss spring training due to shoulder surgery.
>> Rhule said he loves receiver Zavier Betts and supports him. Betts sent Rhule a happy birthday message, and it meant something to the coach. Rhule is looking forward to seeing Betts on the court and seeing if he can put it all together, both on and off the court.
>> Rhule said he was excited about Virginia transfer receiver Billy Kemp as a returner. He also wants people to understand that Kemp, at 5-foot-9, can play both outside and inside.
>> Rhule’s birthday was Tuesday. His wife came from Charlotte and the couple went to the DISH restaurant. Rhule called DISH “elite”.