On Saturday morning, three-star athlete CJ Simon committed to the Nebraska Cornhuskers over Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and Kansas State offers. As a result, there are plenty of questions as to how Huskers wide receiver coach Garrett McGuire plans to use him in NU’s offense.
Why He Committed
When it comes to the college football landscape, the Huskers have been a blue-blood program for quite some time. But if we look at recent times, the Kansas Jayhawks and Oklahoma State Cowboys are programs that have trended upward during the season. So why would he choose Nebraska after another subpar season? According to the Omaha-World Herald’s Sam McKewon, this was because “he likes the family environment and how the coaches are relatable.” Specifically, McGuire’s age stood out in his recruiting process. According to him, this was impressive “because he understands what young athletes are experiencing.” But there is also another draw for Simon to choose the Cornhuskers. Starting next year, the Big Ten Conference adds Oregon, Washington, USC, and UCLA to the mix. Because of this, he thinks that NU benefits the most from this change. The only concern? After another tough season, these opponents are the last thing the program needs to get better.
Where Will Simon Line Up?
As a junior, Simon excelled as a wide receiver when he caught 54 passes for 784 yards and 10 touchdowns. As a running back, he amassed 262 yards and three touchdowns on just 35 carries. Even though those are good numbers for those two positions, NU likes his chances to succeed as a slot receiver. This is because he’ll line up across from freshman Jalen Lloyd. With six catches for 237 yards and three touchdowns, he joins Ohio State wideout Marvin Harrison Jr as the second receiver with multiple 50-yard catches this season. That’s a high bar to set in his freshman season, but Simon has a chance to replicate the same numbers in his first year under McGuire. It’s certainly possible if Lloyd reveals the tricks of his trade.
Read more about Jaylen Lloyd’s impact in Nebraska’s wide receiver room here: The Top Storylines From Nebraska vs Iowa
Areas of Improvement
As the first wide receiver commit of the Cornhuskers 2025 class, the out-of-state prospect offers plenty of upside to the Huskers wide receiving core. After all, his statistics in his three seasons of high school football demonstrate this. But he isn’t a finished product. The Oklahoma City native is working on perfecting his craft before he gets to Lincoln. According to Husker 247, he was able to improve in how he uses his footwork in “getting off of linebackers.” Because of this change, he was able to stop double teams from bothering him. However, there are some concerns. This is high school, and he is going to face stiffer competition in this new Big Ten era. Unless he shows an immediate improvement, McGuire and the rest of the coaching staff should probably use a redshirt on him as a freshman. That way, he can learn the college game along with fellow enrollees Daevonn Hall and Isaiah McMorris.
Who’s Up Next?
As the fourth commit of the Huskers 2025 recruiting class alongside in-state prospects Conor Booth, Caden VerMass, and Tyson Terry, Simon is among the first wide receiver prospects to join the Big Red. But the Huskers aren’t finished yet. In fact, there might be more to come with former Texas A&M wide receiver Demond Demas. As a freshman at the school, he recorded 15 catches for 235 yards and one touchdown. At his next stop at Garden City Community College was productive as well. While there, he recorded 23 catches for 269 yards and one touchdown. The only thing stopping him? He has had multiple off-the-field issues at all of his spots. But if he commits to Rhule’s team, can he clean up his issues?