Published Monday, November 19, 2012 AT 10:28 AM / Updated at 10:28 AM
Recruiting: Huskers a hit with JUCO DTs
Sam McKewon Omaha World-Herald

You may not have known it, but Nebraska conducted one of its most crucial visit weekends in some time during its 38-14 win over Minnesota. That’s because three junior-college defensive tackles made the trip to Lincoln for the game, and immediate help on the defensive line is NU’s No. 1, unquestioned need for a potential national title run in 2013.

The highest-rated of the visiting tackles — Toby Johnson — probably can’t offer the Huskers quick help because he tore up his knee a few weeks ago. But he has the kind of SEC frame that makes him a must-recruit anyway. And Johnson appeared to love his visit.

“I just liked the whole game atmosphere,” he told Husker Online. “It felt real to me. I mean, it’s just like Nebraska, they love their players. I just liked watching the game and I liked everything.”

Johnson — a 6-foot-4, 310-pounder from Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College — has some decisions to make in terms of visits. It’s not entirely clear which way he’ll go on it. NU’s recruited him the best for the last ten months, called him after the injury, and probably provides the quickest road to the field. But Johnson, originally from Atlanta, will consider Georgia and other SEC schools, too.

Johnson’s teammate — 6-foot-2, 315-pound Ben Bradley — made the trip, too. A four-star decommit from Tennessee, Bradley told Husker Online he was impressed with The Tunnel Walk.

“I liked it,” Bradley said. “I really liked it. They played good today and I liked everything that I saw The highlight for me was coming out of the tunnel onto the field. I thought that was really nice.”

Both players were on unofficial visits, and could make an official visits later. Bradley is a traditional nose tackle, while Johnson could play in a variety of spots, including a 3-4 end, if necessary.

The third tackle to visit was Cerritos (Calif.) College prospect Kyle Peko. A squat, physical earth-mover, the 6-foot-2, 290-pound Peko perhaps best fits Nebraska’s philosophy with interior tackles. He had Michigan State — where his brother played — as his top school. But  a meeting with coach Bo Pelini now have the Huskers tied with the Spartans.

“He was a straightforward guy,” Peko told Huskers Illustrated. “He told me the business and what it would be like if I committed. He let me know where they see me fitting in, how they see me fitting in and what they could do for me. That’s good if I do commit here.”

A former Nebraska commit — wide receiver/defensive back Trevell Dixon — made the trip, as well. A consensus three-star prospect from Baldwin, La.,  Dixon committed to former NU defensive backs coach Corey Raymond in late January, then decommitted in July. He was hosted by another Louisiana athlete, Alonzo Moore.

“He’s a pretty cool dude,” Dixon told HI. “Alonzo seems like he enjoys Nebraska so I mean, I know we’re pretty similar, so I know I’d like Nebraska too. It makes feel pretty good.”

Moore will start out at wide receiver for Nebraska. Dixon may be the same story.

Meanwhile, Adam Taylor’s over-the-weekend commit gave the Huskers a good boost in recruiting team rankings:

  • 247: 26
  • 247C: 22
  • Rivals: 29
  • Scout: 22

Taylor is an intriguing add to Nebraska’s recruiting class. He’s a straight-line, one-cut-and-go runner with good top speed. Top-end potential: DeMarco Murray. He reminds me of former Colorado running back Bobby Purify (or even Marcus Houston), as well. He’s not precisely a classic spread back, but he does give Nebraska the opportunity to go downhill in a one-back set. NU hasn’t had a lot of runners like this guy.

About Sam McKewon

Sam McKewon covers Nebraska football for The World-Herald. Got a tip, question or rant? Good. Email him at sam.mckewon@owh.com. And follow him on Twitter at @swmckewonOWH. And call him at 402.219.3790.