The Advocate

National Signing Day: Links choose their caps

Student-Athletes from Lincoln High School sign to play football at the next level on February 7, 2018. Left to Right: Mason Sullivan, Ed Crouse, Zion Perry, Dontavious Lawrence, and Trevor Toof. The coaches behind the players include Coach Jared Shaw, Coach Chad Case, Coach Mark Macke, Coach Dan Beckmann, Coach John Goodwin, Coach James Watson and Coach Stewart Venable. Photo by Hannah Burianek.

Student-Athletes from Lincoln High School sign to play football at the next level on February 7, 2018. Left to Right: Mason Sullivan, Ed Crouse, Zion Perry, Dontavious Lawrence, and Trevor Toof. The coaches behind the players include Coach Jared Shaw, Coach Chad Case, Coach Mark Macke, Coach Dan Beckmann, Coach John Goodwin, Coach James Watson and Coach Stewart Venable. Photo by Hannah Burianek.

Student-Athletes from Lincoln High School sign to play football at the next level on February 7, 2018. Left to Right: Mason Sullivan, Ed Crouse, Zion Perry, Dontavious Lawrence, and Trevor Toof. The coaches behind the players include Coach Jared Shaw, Coach Chad Case, Coach Mark Macke, Coach Dan Beckmann, Coach John Goodwin, Coach James Watson and Coach Stewart Venable. Photo by Hannah Burianek.

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Jacob Vanderford |SPORTS|

February 7th is National Signing Day for high school football recruits all across America. It’s a day full of stress and excitement for recruits and fans all across the country in hopes of finding out who will be on their team next and who can help make their football team better. As high school football players begin their process, they plan out official visits, unofficial visits, and commitment dates for the schools of their choice.

Today is the last day to choose their school and sign their National Letter of Intent, and there in front of them lay hats on the table. It’s a Signing Day tradition dating back several years ago, and only one cap can be worn on that recruit’s head.

In the Advocate’s guide to National Signing Day, we will take a look at our very own Lincoln High football players and where they will be signing, as well as our local college, the University of Nebraska, and who they have committed and signed. We will also take a look at where Nebraska stacks up against the other power houses of the college football world, as well as where they stand in the Big Ten recruiting rankings.

Lincoln High School:

Several Lincoln High student-athletes signed with the schools of their choosing today including wide receiver Zion Perry, offensive linemen Mason Sullivan, defensive linemen Trevor Toof, linebacker Ed Crouse, and defensive back Dauntavius Lawrence.

According to coach Mark Macke, and every fan who stepped foot into the Beechner Athletic Conference this year, Zion Perry was one of the most explosive players in the state. According to MaxPreps, through three years of playing on the Varsity team, Perry accumulated 1,824 yards receiving, 16.3 yards per reception, 67.6 yards per game, 112 total receptions and 22 total receiving touchdowns. If you asked me, Central Missouri is getting one heck of a player, a very versatile player in Perry. He played wide receiver and defensive back throughout his career for the Links.

Wide Receiver Zion Perry signs his National Letter of Intent to Central Missouri on February 7, 2018. Photo Courtesy of Hannah Burianek.

Offensive Linemen Mason Sullivan was one of the steadiest players in the state on the line of scrimmage for his team. At 5’10”, 250 pounds, Sullivan isn’t the biggest offensive linemen, but he makes up for it with his explosion off the ball and his punishing, attacking style on the man on the other side of the field. Sullivan decided to sign with Northwest Missouri State, and should be able to compete for a starting role in the 2018 season.

Offensive Lineman Mason Sullivan signs his pledge to Northwest Missouri State on February 7, 2018. Photo Courtesy of Hannah Burianek.

Ask anyone on the offensive side of the ball and you’d know how quick and how hard Trevor Toof can hit from his middle linebacker spot. According to MaxPreps, Toof had 12 solo tackles, 19 total tackles, and a sack, and though the numbers may not be too eye popping, Toof was a crucial weapon on the defensive side to help the Links make a run at the playoffs. Toof signed with the Benedictine football program this morning.

Linebacker Trevor Toof signs with Benedictine College on February 7, 2018. Photo Courtesy of Hannah Burianek.

Dauntavius Lawrence is one of the most hard hitting defenders in the back of the Lincoln High secondary. Lawrence is seen as a defensive hybrid, who could play corner, safety or nickel with development. Lawrence is signing with Midland College, an in-state school.

Dauntavius Lawrence signs with Midland College, a university in Fremont, Nebraska on February 7, 2018. Photo Courtesy of Hannah Burianek.

Finally, linebacker and co-captain Ed Crouse was one of the captains of the defense along with Jack Buchanan and is now headed on to his next step of college football. He is headed across the border to Buena Vista University in Storm Lake Iowa, looking to stake out a place of his own with a starting role.

Linebacker Ed Crouse signs with Buena Vista University on February 7, 2018. Photo Courtesy of Hannah Burianek.

Nebraska Recruiting Class:

This Husker recruiting class was off to a terrific start in 2018, signing multiple four star talents from all across the country including Joshua Moore from Yoakum High School in Texas, Brendan Radley-Hiles from IMG Academy in Florida, Mario Goodrich from Lee’s Summit West in the Kansas City area, and Chase Williams from Eleanor Roosevelt High School in southern California. All of which, in fact signed with several blue-blood schools in Texas, Oklahoma, Clemson, and USC respectively. Scott Frost and his staff had to come in and take over a 4-8 team’s recruiting class, and he did so, incredibly. When you take a team from 0-12 to 13-0 in 2 seasons, you’re bound to have some excitement surrounding you. However, no one could’ve predicted how big of an impact he’d make on the recruiting trail for a team that lost close to all of its original highest rated recruits. Here, we take a look at some of the top players Frost and his staff recruited and bought in to be “All N”:


Adrian Martinez, QB, Fresno, California

Adrian Martinez is seen by many as the gem of this class for the Huskers. Coach Frost said when he first took the job that he needed a tough, competitive quarterback that fit his system, and he got that in Martinez. Martinez is a 4 star dual threat quarterback from Fresno West High School in California, and when Frost was evaluating quarterbacks he thought that he was the best quarterback he saw and gave him the first offer as Nebraska Head Coach. As a senior, Martinez injured his shoulder, preventing him from playing the entire season. But in his Junior year prior he accumulated over 2500 yards through the air, 25 TD compared to 4 interceptions and added 1500 yards on the ground with 14 TD. Martinez is that dynamic dual threat this offense needs, and look for him to make a huge impact very soon in Scott Frost’s first years as coach.


Cameron Jurgens, TE, Beatrice, Nebraska

Cameron Jurgens is the 6th ranked tight end in the country, however if he doesn’t round out at tight end he could play on the defensive side of the ball. Jurgens actually committed to the Huskers when he was a sophomore, buying into the Mike Riley regime. There were some twists and turns along the way, but ultimately he elected to stay with the team that he dreamed of playing for growing up. Down in Beatrice, Jurgens played everywhere for the Orangemen, as the coaches moved him around wherever they could in order to win. Jurgens is a dynamic receiver at 6’3” 240 pounds, but as he develops will add more bulk. In his 4 years playing for Beatrice High School, he accumulated 1118 yards receiving, 14.3 yards per catch, and 22 total touchdowns. He could be a fixture in the Big Red scheme for years to come.


Maurice Washington, RB, Trinity Christian School, Cedar Hill, Texas

Maurice Washington was a big time get for the Huskers and will be a game-changer out of the backfield for years to come. Nebraska first got in the mix for Washington just before the Under Armour All-American game at the beginning of January. Little did they know Washington would be named MVP of that game and score 3 touchdowns. Washington blew up from there, receiving offers from across the country and being elevated from a 3 star to a 4 star and the 10th ranked running back in the class. Things got a little dicey for the Huskers as Arizona State and Ohio State began to get in the mix. Many believed Washington was leaning towards Ohio State before his recruiter Kerry Coombs left to be on the Tennessee Titans staff in the NFL. From then on, it was a race between the Huskers and the Sun Devils. Washington officially visited Arizona State first on the weekend of January 19th, but his visit to Nebraska just before signing day sealed the deal. Washington is a game breaker out of the back field and as a receiver, rushing for 1253 yards and 15 touchdowns along with 582 yards and 9 touchdowns in the receiving category. Washington should be a factor immediately for the Huskers and a wild card for teams to plan for.


Cam’ron Jones, S, Mansfield High School, Mansfield, Texas

Nebraska added the commitment of safety CJ Smith before Cam’ron Jones committed in late January. Now the Huskers have two ball hawks in the backend of their secondary, with great size as both are 6’2”. However, Cam’ron Jones speed and hard-hitting ability to not only stop his opponent but push him back stands out the most. Jones was picked right from the start of Scott Frost’s tenure as a must-get and the Husker coaching staff was relentless in his recruitment. Coach Travis Fisher was his primary recruiter and got him out for an official visit early on the weekend of January 12th. Cam’ron Jones impression of Nebraska changed dramatically, as most recruits think of it as in the middle of a cornfield with cold weather. What he found was not what he had expected. Nebraska immediately climbed to the top of Jones’s board and even went on another unofficial visit with walk-on and friend Corbin Frederick. Jones became a Nebraska lean and from there the rest is history. Jones should be a big-time safety in the Big Ten for years to come.


Tate Wildeman, WDE, Legend High School, Parker, Colorado

Tate Wildeman will be an absolute monster coming off the edge for the Huskers. Wildeman has always been loyal to the team he’s been committed to ever since Mike Riley was head coach. When Riley was fired, Wildeman made it clear that if Scott Frost was hired as the head coach he would be overly excited and would certainly not back off his pledge. Well, that’s just what happened. Mike Riley’s staff sniffed out Wildeman when he was an overlooked 3 star and after a monsterous senior season, his stock rose through the roof. He was now evaluated as a 4 star and one of the highest ranked defensive ends in the class. Wildeman took a visit to Washington State when Riley was fired, but ultimately decided to stay and signed his National Letter of Intent on Early Signing Day on December 20th. Wildeman, standing at 6’6”, 250 pounds has a terrific frame to grow into and in his senior season he had 40 solo tackles, 61 total tackles, 7.6 tackles per game and 6 sacks, all way above average for defensive ends in America. Nebraska could be getting the edge rusher it needs.


Caleb Tannor, WDE/OLB, Miller Grove High School, Lithonia, Georgia

4 star defensive end/outside linebacker Caleb Tannor is a huge get for the Huskers out of SEC country, and somewhat of a surprise. Tannor was unsure of where he wanted to go until a couple days ago when he set his sights on Nebraska. Nebraska was always in the mix for the natural born pass-rusher, but it was always thought that he would go to an SEC school. He was originally committed to national championship runner-up Georgia before decommitting in November. Auburn and Florida became front-runners before Tannor visited the Huskers. He was very impressed, and had a lot to think about after his visit. Fortunately, he liked what he saw and eventually signed with the Huskers, who are desperately in need for a pass rusher with his type of game-changing ability. The other outside linebacker that Nebraska was in on was Javontae Jean-Baptiste out of Bergen Catholic in New Jersey. Urban Meyer got his foot in the door and Jean-Baptiste, who was once set to come to Nebraska, eventually signed with Ohio State. Can you imagine these two edge rushers on the same defense?


The Husker class includes 24 total signees, with these names rounding out the class:

  • Greg Bell, RB, Arizona Western College, Yuma, Arizona
  • Will Honas, ILB, Butler C.C., El Dorado, Kansas
  • Deontai Williams, Jones County J.C., Ellisville, Mississippi
  • Will Farniok, OC, Washington High School, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  • Justin McGriff, WR, Jefferson High School, Tampa, Florida
  • Mike Williams, WR, East Mississippi C.C., Scooba, Mississippi
  • Barret Pickering, K, Hoover High School, Hoover, Alabama
  • CJ Smith, S, Oxbridge Academy, West Palm Beach, Florida
  • Dominick Watt, WR, Miramar High School, Hollywood, Florida
  • Jaron Woodyard, WR, Arizona Western College, Yuma, Arizona
  • Andre Hunt, WR, Paraclete High School, Lancaster, California
  • Miles Jones, ATH, American Heritage High School, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • David Alston, WDE, Woodbury Senior High School, Saint Paul, Minnesota
  • Cam Taylor, ATH, Park Crossing High School, Montgomery, Alabama
  • Casey Rogers, SDE, Old Farms High School, Avon, Connecticut
  • Katerian Legrone, TE, Best Academy, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Braxton Clark, CB, Dr. Phillips High School, Orlando, Florida
  • Willie Canty, OT, Glades Central High School, Belle Glade, Florida

News and Notes:

-Nebraska’s recruiting class finished 22nd nationally according to 247 Sports, 21st nationally according to ESPN, and 21st nationally according to Rivals

-The Huskers finished out the class ranking 4th in the Big Ten, only behind Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State. They rank 1st in the Big Ten West.

-Many people believed that Nebraska wouldn’t bring in that many Florida kids. Well, they certainly got that wrong, Florida kids noticed what Scott Frost did in a big way and they wanted to follow him to Nebraska. 6 players from the Sunshine State made the trek to their second home in the Cornhusker State.

-Scott Frost made a point that he wanted to get recruits that are competitors and of good characters. He knows that it is imperative to get kids on campus because their impression is, “Nebraska is a place surrounded with corn fields and the weather is cold.” He wants to get kids from all across the country to contribute to bring back the Nebraska football he used to know.

-Frost also wants to strengthen the walk-on program. 18 players accepted the preferred walk-on spots, and although Frost admits it may not be this large every time, he wanted to get the ball rolling with a strong class.

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