Welcome to the sixth piece of our twelve-part series that hopefully makes the dead period go by a bit quicker. These articles aim to provide a detailed look at what each team has done thus far on the recruiting trail and what work still needs to be put in before NLI day in February. One team a day will be featured this year in alphabetical order. Today will look at Nevada.
Nevada entered the 2021 season with a lot of potential, and expectations were at an all-time high for the program. There was even some hope for a NY6 Bowl if things fell the right way. However, it didn’t entirely turn out that way. The Wolf Pack got off to a good start, beating Cal in their first test but lost to Kansas State two games later. A win against Boise State on the blue had them feeling great once again, but another hiccup against Fresno State derailed that. Still, Nevada was in the running for the division title before losing to San Diego State in a close game. Losing to Air Force the following week meant they ended up not even being one of the best teams in the conference record-wise, as they finished the year 8-4 going into the bowl game.
In a move that isn’t all that shocking, head coach Jay Norvell is selling high as the core of his team is moving on, and he ended up taking the gig at Colorado State. Not only did the move take most of their recruiting class, but it also plundered their roster, as many Wolf Pack players have transferred to CSU. Still, Nevada managed to sign four players. Read about them below.
The Road So Far:
Nevada was on pace for another good but not great recruiting class prior to the coaching change. Their offensive recruits appeared to be a great fit for their system, and the ones slated for the defensive side of the ball fit the athletic billing that the coaching staff valued.
However, all of that changed after Norvell left. He took the bulk of the class with him, and most of the ones that didn’t go to Colorado State also didn’t sign with Nevada. This is a standard move in coaching changes, as new coaches want time to evaluate the recruits and also be fair to the recruits by giving them a longer timeframe to build the relationship. Due to this, only four players signed with Nevada last week, one and three on each side of the ball, respectively.
The lone offensive player is Keenan Speer-Johnson. He is a wide receiver with length and height. He is high on potential and has a chance to be a building block for the program’s future.
With the defense, the three signees are Christopher Smalley, Stone Combs, and Charles McQueen. Smalley is the headliner so far and has the potential to play right away. His height and speed make him an intriguing player at linebacker. Joining him at linebacker is Combs, who projects more on the inside and is the steady and fundamental type of player who will be consistent. Rounding out the defensive trio is an athletic defensive back, McQueen. He is a bit on the shorter side but has talent and could find the feel sooner rather than later.
Number who signed in December: 4
Number who will enroll early: 0
247 Composite Rankings:
- Overall: 120th
- Recruiting: 112th
- Transfer: N/A
The Road Ahead:
Top Targets Remaining: QB, RB, WR, TE, OL DL, WR, DB, LB
Nevada signed barely anyone in this class so far, but it is nice they have a few players in the fold. For one, it’s four fewer players they need to sign in February. And secondly, those players can now help recruit future players for this class.
With that being said, basically, every position is needed for the Wolf Pack class of 2022.
A lot of attention needs to be placed on the offense. A class without a quarterback or running back is usually not a great recruiting class. Securing players at one or both positions is vital. Nevada will need to add talent at the skill positions while also focusing on adding players in the trenches to build a strong foundation. Really any position will be important to fortify when the class is so short on players.
It is likely the coaching staff at Nevada (once they are assembled) will focus on both under the radar high school talent as well as players from the transfer portal. Given how many players the Wolf Pack has lost due to transfers, it would be wise of them to replace them by taking their allotted seven transfer players in this recruiting class. Also, transfers will give the program a higher number of players who can contribute as early as next season as they seek to reboot the program.
While Nevada may have had the smallest amount of production during the early signing period, all is not lost for them. There are still many good players there for the taking, and it is up to the coaching staff to accomplish the task.
Coming next: New Mexico