Matt Rhule has been a heck of a recruiter, but even he can win them all, as evidenced by Nebraska football losing out on the IOL.
Zafir Stewart isn’t going to be the last prospect that the Nebraska football team loses a head-to-head battle with another Big Ten team school. But considering the factors that come into play for this 3-star offensive lineman, this loss stings a bit.
The Pennsylvania native announced he picked the Illinois Fighting Illini over the nearly a dozen other schools offered late Monday night. Interestingly enough, as Nebraska football head coach Matt Rhule is want to do from time to time, he retweeted Stewart’s announcement that he was going to a rival school.
One of the things that truly sucks about this commitment is you never love to see the Huskers have the potential to take on a player they wanted on their own roster. The good news there is Nebraska and Illinois may not be playing each other all that much once the Big Ten divisions go away.
For instance, the two teams don’t meet in 2024. They will square off in 2025, though, which will be Stewart’s second season in college.
Nebraska football recruiting loses out
The other reason this particular recruiting loss is a bit of a bummer is that the new Illinois commit comes from an area of the country Rhule clearly wants to establish a pipeline. When he first arrived in Lincoln, he set about offering several scholarships to Pennsylvania area players.
Rhule has a deep background in the state, thanks to his coaching days at Temple. He knows where the talent comes from in that region. Stewart was one he set his eyes on early.
It is some solace that it doesn’t appear Rhule was able to make a ton of headway in convincing Zafir Stewart to come to Lincoln. Most recruiting services rated the Nebraska football team a severe longshot behind even Rutgers.
Still, losing a recruiting battle for a talented offensive lineman to anyone stings a bit. Let alone losing a recruiting battle to a mediocre conference rival.