|1. Josh Banderas, LB, 6-2, 220,|
Lincoln Southwest.Rivals: 4 Star—5.8; ESPN: 81—4 Star. Goodies: Athleticism & high football IQ. Offers: Nebraska (committed), Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas State, Oregon, Tulsa, Vanderbilt.
|The Nebraska 4-star recruit will not wow you with his physical size or any single athletic measure—but he will make you wide-eyed when you watch him play. Banderas plays with a high intensity motor and reckless abandon fueled by an extremely high football IQ. All of which allow him to be at the right place at the wrong time for an opponent. The native Lincoln, Nebraska prospect seems to possess all of the skill sets and intangible assets necessary to develop into a very fine college LB. And he gets to do it in his own backyard.|
|2. Christian Lacouture, 6-5, 270|
Lincoln Southwest. Rivals: 3 Star—5.7; ESPN: 78—3 Star. Goodies: Great frame, good athleticism. Offers: Nebraska (Committed), Alabama, Auburn, Baylor, LSU, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma St., Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Utah.
|This Nebraska Cornhusker recruit is a recent arrival from College Station, Texas’ A&M Consolidated High School where he played until moving to Nebraska after his junior season. Lacouture is solid all the way around, possessing good quickness and power. His large frame should allow him to easily add mass and to comfortably play around the 300 lbs. range at Nebraska. That will be some good Big Ten beef along the trenches for the Huskers, where Lacouture will most likely be plugged in at DT.|
|3. Nathan Bazata, OG/DL, 6-3, 245,|
Howells. Rivals: 3 Star—5.5; ESPN: 72—3 Star. Goodies: Pad level & quickness. Offers: Iowa (committed), South Dakota State.
|Bazata has a quick two steps off the ball, great pad level and leverage that allow him to play sideline-to-sideline or make plays deep into opposing backfields. He also uses his hands well to blow by defenders or to control them for a shed and tackle. It’s no wonder this Class D prospect received an early offer from Iowa!|
|4. Casey Sayles, TE, 6-4, 260,|
Omaha North. Rivals: 2 Star—5.4; ESPN: NA. Goodies: Big frame w/speed. Offers: Bowling Green, Ohio, South Dakota.
|A very solid blocker with a long wide frame and good hands. He also flashes the ability to quickly accelerate after making the catch (listed 4.7 speed) which allows him to pick up huge chunks of YAC. The TE prospect can also play some DE.|
|5. Nick Deluca, LB, 6-2, 220,|
Millard North. Rivals: 2 Star—5.4; ESPN: 68—2 Star. Goodies: Athleticism & size. Offers: Ohio, North Dakota, South Dakota, South Dakota State.
|He shows the ability to develop into an effective college inside backer. Takes good angles to the ball and has the power and athletic ability to take on blockers and hold his ground and/or to just get small, slide by and fill the gap—sheds and tackles well.|
|6. Tyler Wrice, ATH, 5-9, 175,|
Papillion-La Vista. Rivals: NA; ESPN: NA. Goodies: Quickness & versatility. Offers: North Dakota State, Northern Iowa, Illinois State.
|For a two-way skill position prospect, Wrice possesses perhaps the top overall talent in the class for an athlete that can play effectively on offense or defense at the next level. However, most of his suitors are looking for the cat-quick Papio Monarch to play CB. But in case they have a need—he could also add some flavor to an offense.|
|7. Jake Schlager, DB, 6-1, 190,|
McCook. Rivals: NA; ESPN: NA. Goodies: 4.46 speed & size. Offers: South Dakota State, South Dakota.
|A projected SF at the next level, Schlager shows impressive athleticism, tremendous quickness, and the speed (4.46) necessary to successfully execute a blitz or to make his way to the ball whether it’s a runner carrying it or it’s coming via the pass. Also illustrates toughness and a strong football IQ—a surprisingly gifted athlete that I suspect is high up on the list of safety prospects at several D-1A programs. A strong senior season could make at least one of those schools pull the trigger on him. I like this kid!|
|8. Devin Washington, RB, 5-9, 170,|
Lincoln Southeast. Rivals: NA; ESPN: NA. Goodies: Vision & elusiveness. Offers: NA.
|The best pure RB in the class, Washington has the quickness and elusiveness to create a hole and the speed (4.42) to blow by defenders and take it the distance—tremendous vision and the ability to make the difficult catch out of the backfield. A durable back who rushed for over 1,900 yards in 2011. It’s a wonder to me that he has no offers listed. |
|9. Colin Mertlik, ATH, 6-2, 200,|
Blair. Rivals: NA; ESPN: NA. Goodies: Athleticism and Strong football IQ. Offers: South Dakota.
|Mertlik is a football player who carries the whole package: size, speed toughness and athleticism galore. This kid can definitely play on either side of the ball at the next level. On offense he shows outstanding vision and good burst and elusiveness from whatever position he decides to line up at in the backfield. Also, he is a very good receiver as well. On defense he is just as impressive as a LB. Look for him to grab more attention from college coaches.|
|10. Luke McNitt, QB, 6-2, 218 Kearney. Rivals: NA; Goodies: Athleticism, power, throws nice ball. Offers: NA.||One to watch! McNitt has followed a solid 2011 junior season by blowing up in impressive fashion during the first few games of his senior year. Make no mistake about it—McNitt is a legitimate D-1A dual-threat QB prospect: He throws a good ball with a nice touch, and the athletically gifted prospect has the foot quickness and moves to elude would-be-tacklers and/or the power to flat out run them over if need be. The latter (power and explosiveness) was also illustrated last spring when he paced 3rd in the Class A shot put at the state meet.|
|11. Michael Minter Jr., DB/RB, 6-1, 180, Lincoln North Star. Rivals: 3 Star—5.6; ESPN: 79—3 Star. Goodies: 4.46 Speed. Offers: Purdue, South Carolina.||Minter has the potential to become the most successful college prospect in this class. Projected to play CB at the next level, he is blessed with the kind of physical height college defensive coordinators are seeking nowadays. In pass coverage, he demonstrates the flexible hips and quickness that can allow him to recover quickly from a sudden juke and make a play on the ball. He’s also a solid tackler. A strong senior campaign could see him snatch a boat load of offers.|
|12. Isaac Aakre, QB/ATH, 6-0, 180,|
|When it’s all said and done Isaac Aakre may tally more career yards from the line of scrimmage than anyone in Class A history. A high quality athlete that should find a home somewhere at a division I program.|
|13. Bryce Sheard, WR, 6-3, 185,|
|A big and athletic possession-type receiver that has a knack for picking up YAC. In 2011, Sheard averaged over 18 yards per catch and he is off to another strong start this year.|
|14. Luke Worden, DB/RB, 5-9, 180, Scottsbluff. Rivals: NA; ESPN: NA. Goodies: Speed & power. Offers: South Dakota.||He may be the fastest athlete in the class (4.40 40 yard) and he also boast some of the top strength and agility measures for a skills position prospect, which include a 360 lb bench and 4.13 short shuttle time. A projected CB at the next level Worden demonstrates the toughness and skill sets to make an impact in college.|
|15. Vinny Ross, OL, 6-5, 265,|
Perkins County. Rivals: NA; ESPN: NA. Goodies: Quick hands and feet. Offers North Dakota.
|Projected to play OG in college, Ross shows good quick hands and feet while maintaining nice pad level for his size. A dominate lineman who can drive defenders off the line and into the dirt.|
|16. Dillon Gartner, OL, 6-4, 290,|
|As dominate as he looks on film plus his size—somebody is bound to pick this big stud up.|
|17. Freeman Coleman, DL, 6-3, 260,|
|He is too good to not list near the top of some college boards. So if Coleman shines on the field this year he will get some nods.|
|18. Zach Martin, QB, 6-3, 180,|
|Extremely impressive at times last season, this Viking gunslinger will have to convince college coaches he can play with consistency. So far he is doing just that in 2012.|
|19. Bryce Sosnowski, DE, 6-2, 215,|
|Quick and athletic Sosnowski is adept at finding his way to the ball and making his opponents pay. |
|20. Tradeon Hollins, DB, 6-2, 175,|
|A lot of athleticism here. The second team all-state basketball player also played a key role on offense and defense for and Eagle’s football team that went deep into the playoffs last season. |
|21. Na-jee Jackson, QB/ATH 6-1, 160,|
|He engineered his team to a 2011 Class A state championship. Along the way the athletic Jackson showcased flashes of a very live arm—one of the better ones in this class. He can also play some DB.|
|22. Stacy Keely, WR, 6-8, 195,|
|A big and athletic target, the 2012 Nebraska state meet high jump champion has started the season off with a bang.|
|23. Jackie Davis, RB, 5-8, 175,|
|A fearless, quick and explosive back with good vision. He rushed for nearly 1,500 yards last season.|
|24. Jackson Gannon, DL, 6-2, 245,|
|Gannon is one to watch. He’s a quick DT that plays with intensity; A little undersized—now—he is a project waiting to happen!|
|25. Spencer Lewis, WR, 6-2, 175|
|A quality dual-sport star athlete (football and basketball) who has emerged this year to become one of the top receivers in the state.|
|Ones to Watch: Connor Phillips, WR, 6-0, 160 Omaha North; Noah Housh, WR, 6-4, 210, Lincoln North Star; Mike MilenKovich, DL, 6-4, 265, Creighton Prep; Lee Carhart, OL, 6-5, 260, Creighton Prep; Zack Cook, QB, 6-2, 198, Omaha Burke; Bennie Olson, ATH 5-9, 180, Millard South; Preston Luedtke, DB, 5-11, 175; Lakeview; Alex Lowe. LB, 6-0, 200, Kearney Catholic; Jordan Bellar, QB 6-0, 160, Norfolk Catholic; Lucas Grossman, OL, 6-4, 295, Lincoln Southwest;; Craig Timmons, TE, 6-6, 210 Omaha Westside; Jake Jordan, RB, 5-11, 205, Lincoln Southwest; Desmond Robinson, ATH, 5-9, 155, Lincoln Southeast; Nick Marchese, DE, 6-3, 240, Millard North; Colton Steer, LB, 6-1, 215, Crete; Matt Chitwood, DB/WR, 6-2, 180, McCook; Erik Evans, TE, 6-3, 220, Waverly; Quentin Williams, RB, 5-6, 160, Millard South; Zachary Oslica, OL, 6-2, 245, Bellevue West; Connor Ketter, TE, 6-5, 220, Norfolk Catholic; Landon Kubicek, OL, 6-4, 290, Lincoln Southeast; Fernando Hildreth, DB, 5-9, 150, Boys Town; Zach Reeves, OL, 6-4, 270, Central City; Sam Stoltenberg, FB, 6-1, 235, Creighton Prep; Blake Johnson, DE, 6-4, 200, Elkhorn South.|