On National Signing Day, head coach Matt Rhule and the Nebraska Cornhuskers added ex-Washington signee Keona Wilhite as well as walk-on safety Kahmir Prescott to the 2024 recruiting class. Let’s take a look at how these late pledges fit inside Tony White’s scheme.
Can Wilhite Be Another Defensive Star?
As a defensive lineman for Salpointe Catholic in Arizona, Wilhite dominated the line of scrimmage when he ended up totaling 60 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss, and eight sacks in his senior campaign. Sound familiar? That’s because it is. As a senior for Manor High in Texas, current Husker sophomore Princewill Umanmielien had similar production. He doubled his tackles with 65, and had the same amount of sacks. Wilhite has an edge in taking the ball away and one forced fumble. This comparison would sound good for Husker fans, especially since he earned All-American honors as a freshman under White. And there’s nothing that would stop him from following in his footsteps. He already weighs in at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, which lends itself to him rushing the passer. But does he have what it takes to be thrust into a starting role early in his career? All signs point to no, but it has been done before in the Blackshirts’ defense. Just look at how much production sophomore James Williams and Nash Hutmacher were able to generate inside the scheme along with Ty Robinson.
Read more about Princewill Umanmielien’s signing with the Huskers in Nebraska’s 2023 Signing Day Class In Review
Beating A Big Ten Rival
Evan Cooper’s defensive backfield just got a whole lot bigger. On National Signing Day, the Nebraska Cornhuskers beat out the Wisconsin Badgers for three-star safety Kahmir Prescott on Wednesday. He will join the program as a walk-on, but there are plenty of chances for the Philadelphia native to earn a scholarship. As a senior for Neumann Gorretti last fall, he had 15 tackles, one interception, and a forced fumble. These are decent statistics, but the 6-foot-1 prospect stands out for another reason. He attacks the football with his physicality. The coaching staff loves this about him, which means that attitude will also serve him well when it comes to competing closer to the line of scrimmage. Most likely, he’ll end up under White learning the details of the rover linebacker spot. Because of this, he should have a perfect mentor to learn from in sixth-year senior Luke Gifford. With that kind of help, the Blackshirts could have another star in the making. If not, Cooper could have him fulfill a similar role in the secondary. Most likely, he would back up a player with returning production. In this case, it would be cornerback Tommi Hill. He was excellent for the program with four interceptions and nine pass deflections. Or could he back up even a smaller player in Malcolm Hartzog? All told the Mississippi native was able to set career highs in tackles, pass breakups, and tackles for loss in 2023. Either way, he would have to compete alongside veterans to earn the starting job. Because of this, will the staff redshirt the prospect once he gets to Lincoln?
What Does These Additions Mean For 2025?
On the defensive side of the football, the Cornhuskers signed a solid group of prospects for the 2024 cycle. It started with Roger Gradney in February and grew to add room for defensive talents like Willis McGahee IV, Vincent Shavers, and former Maryland commit Larry Tarver. But what about the prospects that Nebraska is pursuing on that side of the ball in the 2025 class? Granted there’s not much movement in that department, but four-star Omaha (Westside) linebacker Christian Jones should be at the top of the list for linebackers coach Rob Dvoracek. The number one player in the state put together a strong junior season with 62 total tackles and 12 tackles for loss. And with it came plenty of attention from out-of-state schools. Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, and Washington are some. of the schools that he is hearing from. And he should get even more attention in his next season with the Warriors. Who knows? With another strong outing, the 220-pounder could demonstrate enough promise to nab an Alabama or Texas offer in the coming months.