Matt Rhule and the Huskers sign a top-30 recruiting class with eight in-state players

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Published: Dec. 21, 2022 at 8:43 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Matt Rhule has put together a very nice class in a short amount time, only 24 days. Sure a good part of the class committed to the previous staff, Rhule visited all those players and they clearly believe in this new staff without seeing anything on the field. It’s a credit to the new coaches and how they communicate in a genuine way, this class is working off gut, they believe good days are ahead. By the way, Rhule is not done putting the staff together.

The class features eight in-state players and the top rated recruit is Malachi Coleman from Lincoln East. He committed to Nebraska this fall, then decommitted and recommitted here on signing day. He’s one of three, four-star recruits according to 247 Sports. The others are Princewill Umanmielen and Riley Van Poppel. Both are from Texas, Umanmielen is an edge rusher and Van Poppel is a defensive lineman.

“I think one of the key things for us is to really show off Lincoln. Getting them out into the community is open. There were a lot of details that had to be worked out that our people worked really hard at. I think the biggest thing is relationships. They don’t really know us, so how can you get to know someone over 24 days enough that they are willing to spend the next four years of their life here with you. That was really probably the biggest challenge. We were really honest and direct with people. Some kids it was right for and some it wasn’t. In the end, I think we got enough guys that really believe in what we believe in,” said Rhule.

Outside of Coleman, the other in-state players are Sam Sledge (Creighton Prep), Maverick Noon (Elkhorn South), Brock Knutson (Scottsbluff), Gunnar Gottula (Lincon Southeast), Jaylen Lloyd (Westside), Tristan Alvano (Westside) and Mason Goldman (Gretna).

The head coach also explained why Donovan Raiola was retained to coach the offensive line.

“When you get into offensive line play, there is like three base philosophies, and they are very different. It is like the difference between driving on the right side and the left side of the road. They are all great. I don’t want an offensive line coach that is over here. I deeply care about what the offensive line looks like. We interviewed several candidates, and we talked to several guys. To Donovan’s credit, I told him I would let him know, and he showed up every day to work. He worked. He kept being there. Half of life is just showing up. I kind of liked his vibe and his energy, but most importantly to me, he had been trained in the same system that I am trained in. And I want us to play that way. It was just a natural fit,” said Rhule.