Nebraska Football: Matt Rhule lays out his recruiting focus

Nebraska Cornhuskers head coach Matt Rhule arrives (Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports)
Nebraska Cornhuskers head coach Matt Rhule arrives (Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports) /

Matt Rhule has talked quite a bit since he took over the Nebraska football program about how he wants to recruit and develop players that he thinks will help turn the program around. On Thursday, he got a bit more specific on what his focus is going to be and what he prefers to do when building a program.

Everyone associated with the Nebraska football program understands that rebuilding is necessary at this point. Some of the reason that a rebuild is necessary is that former head coach Scott Frost approach the roster building in a way that was detrimental to the long term. Former interim head coach Mickey Joseph seemed to understand better the kind of talent it would take to get things turned out. Now Rhule has laid out his own approach and it appears to be a plan that will rebuild quickly, while also building for the long term.

Appearing on the Jim Rome Show on Thursday afternoon, Rhule gave a wide-ranging interview that included bits about his time in Carolina as well as just how much he loves coaching and why he couldn’t really stop working, even when he didn’t have a job. At one point the conversation ventured into the approach Rhule would like to take with recruiting. While the new Nebraska football coach understands the importance of using all the tools at his disposal, it appears he prefers to go the high school route and be on the ground floor of a player’s development.

"“I will always look at every means to bring players in. With that being said, my passion, my love is having guys for three, four, five years. Watching them go from high school to graduates and watching them get graduate degrees.”"

Rhule added that he thinks the schools that are having the most success are not the ones that are going heavy into the transfer portal but are developing their star players from the ground up.

"“I think when you see the best teams across college football right now in the next couple of years, you’re going to see a lot of teams that really still recruit high school kids in well and that supplement that with the transfer portal.”"

That’s not to say that Rhule will have the Nebraska football team coming close to staying out of the transfer portal derby this year. He did say that he understands the situation with the Cornhuskers right now calls for bringing in immediate help.

However, he added that he’ll be looking for guys who aren’t coming here for the wrong reasons. Rhule finished the segment by saying that anyone who comes to Lincoln under his watch is joining the Nebraska football program because they want to work. That last part will certainly be music to Nebraska football fans ears, even if it is just talk at this point.

Matt Rhule And The Nebraska Football Fit

Earlier in the program, Rome asked Rhule about why he himself was so eager to come to Nebraska and Rhule laid out why he felt Lincoln was such a fit for him. It was an interesting segment because Cornhusker fans aren’t used to having coaches who had no previous ties to the program or the state. Those types of coaches generally haven’t worked here, though their lack of ties weren’t really the reason why. Rhule continued to come off as someone who genuinely respected what the Nebraska football program has been and what he wants them to be.

Matt Rhule Taking No Days Off

Finally, there was some talk about the question that was on people’s minds when the former Carolina Panthers head coach rumors started up. Why would he take such a tough rebuild job when he could have just sat on his couch and raked in money.

More than a few reports out there even claimed that Rhule wasn’t all that interested in coaching in 2023. It turns out he went to work almost immediately after being fired from his NFL job.

It is of course, important to note that Matt Rhule is still very much in his honeymoon phase for Nebraska football. At this point, everything is just him talking a good game. But he’s certainly hitting all the high notes so far.

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