Husker assistants Evan Cooper and E.J. Barthel talk Rhule, recruits

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Nebraska secondary coach Evan Cooper and running backs coach E.J. Barthel spoke for the first time as Huskers on Thursday.

The two coaches, who have both spent time on Rhule’s past staffs, spoke highly of Nebraska’s new head coach.

“You may not even be able to feel it, like, from the outside, but he’s probably one of the most thoughtful, caring people,” Cooper said.

Six weeks ago, Cooper had told Rhule to call him whenever he was ready for him, and he would “hop on a jet.”

Rhule then asked, “How about tomorrow?”

“He’s also one of the brightest minds that I’ve ever been around, maybe, probably the smartest person I’ve ever met,” Cooper said. “Hopefully I don’t offend any teachers, my ex-teachers or anything.”

Barthel said he wanted to be a part of whatever Rhule has “got going on.”

“I’m a believer in coach Rhule, in what he stands for,” he said. “In fact, I’m in alignment with the standards of what he represents as far as development and process.”

And part of Rhule’s process includes recruiting players here in Nebraska.

On National Signing Day alone, Nebraska signed 12 in-state players, including Malachi Coleman, Gunnar Gottula and Maverick Noonan.

Cooper stressed the importance of recruiting players at home.

“The worst thing is when you see all these All-Americans and all-conference guys and NFL guys from your own backyard and you miss them,” he said.

Barthel, who has strong ties to the Northeast, said Nebraska benefits from being in the middle of the country.

“It gives us opportunities to really be elite in the recruiting world,” he said. “We can put our hands on pretty much every part of the country.”

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