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Recruits visiting Huskers for Colorado game

September 8, 2018

If Javin Wright grew up majoring in Nebraska football tradition, then his father was his professor.

Toby Wright starred at safety for the Huskers in the early 1990s before playing six years in the NFL. Javin has since learned the “day by day” pregame chant. He knows the Blackshirt philosophy well since the elder Wright — an assistant coach on his Hamilton High School (Ariz.) team — implemented it this season.

But this weekend won’t be about the past, Javin Wright said. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound defensive back has developed into a consensus three-star prospect, holding offers from Power Five teams all along the West Coast. So when he makes his first trip to Nebraska on Saturday morning for an official visit, his father will accompany him — but not as a recruiter.

“He takes a step back and wants me to choose my own destiny. He’ll support me whatever I choose,” Wright told The World-Herald. “I heard the Nebraska fans are crazy, man. I just want to get up there and see for myself what my dad’s been talking about all these years.”

Wright’s position remains one of the highest priorities for Nebraska, which will have 12 scholarship defensive backs on its roster after this season. A pair of true freshmen are listed on the two-deep at cornerback.

The Huskers have issued at least 65 scholarship offers to DBs in the Class of 2019 since Scott Frost took over in December. They would like to take roughly four more in this recruiting cycle and already have a verbal commitment from three-star safety Quinton Newsome out of North Gwinnett (Ga.).

“In a perfect world, I wish I could take as many as I can,” said NU assistant Travis Fisher, who coaches safeties and corners. “Obviously, there’s other needs on the team. I want to take as many as I can. We’ve got a lot of prospects.”

Jamel Starks — a consensus three-star athlete from Southwest DeKalb (Ga.) whom Nebraska sees as a defensive back — is another official visitor for this weekend’s game against the Buffaloes. Longtime target Tiawan Mullen, a four-star corner from Florida, toured campus last week, and three-star corner Tavian Mayo of Lee County (Ga.) is scheduled to officially visit for the Troy game.

Fisher said he recruits high schoolers willing to play anywhere in the secondary. The next step is building relationships and getting them to see Lincoln.

“If I was a kid, man, I would be slobbering,” Fisher said. “Come walk in a stadium that’s full of red and (fans) know them. Not just as a recruit, they know them. When they’re out on the town in a restaurant, they actually say ‘Hey,’ and they know them. That’s awesome.”

At least two other uncommitted official visitors will be on the sidelines Saturday in Omaha Burke tight end Chris Hickman and Trinity Catholic (Mo.) wide receiver Marcus Washington, according to recruiting reports and World-Herald confirmations.

Joining them will be at least nine Nebraska commits in linebackers Jackson Hannah and Nick Henrich, offensive lineman Michael Lynn, quarterback Luke McCaffrey, defensive tackle Tony Fair, running back Ronald Thompkins, wideout Jamie Nance and Newsome. Verbal pledges Garrett Nelson (outside linebacker) and Matthew Anderson (offensive line) will also be in attendance on unofficial visits.

Running backs coach Ryan Held said this week that home games will be key as the staff builds its first full recruiting class.

“Last week we had some official visitors in and they saw it all the way up to the kickoff,” Held said. “But they could see how awesome our fans are and how electric this place is. You can’t simulate it in January, right? You can’t simulate it in December.

“So when we can get a kid here and they can see what it’s all about and envision themselves — ‘Goodness grief, I get to play in front of this for all my home games?’ — that’s special. So any time we can get them here and they can see it, that’s a win for us.”

Here’s a closer look at each uncommitted official visitor coming in:

» Chris Hickman, TE, Omaha Burke: The state’s top uncommitted recruit unofficially visited Nebraska a month ago and is seen by some schools as a defensive end. He has no other known official visits scheduled, though he told The World-Herald last month that he was working to set up trips to LSU, Mississippi and Oregon. Iowa and Wisconsin are other contenders for his services. Hickman will attend Saturday’s game with Burke teammate and NU commit Henrich.

» Javin Wright, DB, Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton: Rated the No. 79 cornerback by both Rivals and 247Sports, Wright was moved to safety for his senior year because of his physicality stopping the run. He plans to wait until December to commit and has other official visits coming to UCLA and Washington. Wright owns 18 tackles and an interception through three games.

» Jamel Starks, ATH, Decatur (Ga.) Southwest DeKalb: The consensus three-star prospect has offers as a running back — a touchdown run in which he flipped over tacklers at the goal line gained national traction last week — but Nebraska sees him in the secondary. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Starks has family in Omaha. West Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina State are other Power Five schools that have offered him.

» Marcus Washington, WR, St. Louis Trinity Catholic: The playmaking pass catcher is a four-star talent according to every recruiting service and owns offers from most blue-blood programs. He officially visited Ohio State in the summer and has a trip scheduled to Texas next weekend. Missouri and Florida are other likely destinations, but the Huskers will get their shot to make an impression on the 6-2, 191-pound Washington.

Top 2020 lineman in town

A key 2020 target from within the 500-mile radius will also be on the Memorial Stadium sidelines Saturday.

Four-star talent Nash Hutmacher is set to spend the weekend in Lincoln, according to 247Sports. The standout from Chamberlain, South Dakota, can execute 45-inch box jumps and is a state champion wrestler who holds a No. 9 national ranking at his weight by InterMat.

While he has yet to choose a college sport, he also is mulling whether he prefers the offensive line or defensive line at the next level. Nebraska is recruiting the 6-foot-5, 285-pound Hutmacher as a nose tackle.

The Huskers were Hutmacher’s first offer and he has visited Lincoln numerous times already. Iowa State, Missouri, Oregon and Wisconsin have also offered him.

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