‘We want this to be a family’: Rhule secures 31 new Huskers on signing day

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Matt Rhule hopes to spark excitement in the state with his first signing day as Nebraska’s head coach.

Rhule opened up a Wednesday press conference by thanking coaches, their wives, Nebraska staff and Athletic Director Trev Alberts for their help during the recruiting process.

“We want this to be a family, not just a football team,” he said.

Rhule detailed the process of recruits’ official visits and said the community “bent over backwards” to help the coaching staff impress players.

“I think one of the key things for us is to really show off Lincoln, and I think, you know, getting them out into the community is important,” he said.

Nebraska had 31 players – 20 high school recruits, seven transfers and four walk-ons – sign letters of intent.

Rhule said the the coaches were “honest and direct” with those players, especially considering the staff had only 24 days to recruit before signing day.

“In the end, I think we got enough guys that really believe in what we believe in,” he said.

Nebraska got recruits from across the country, including several from Texas and Florida.

But the coaching staff’s game plan seemingly was to acquire as many in-state players as possible.

In total, Rhule and company were able to convince eight Nebraska players to come play for the Huskers.

“I wanted the local kids to stay here and play here in Nebraska,” Rhule said. “So we got a lot of them, a couple we didn’t get, but the ones that we got, they came for the right reasons.”

The Huskers did miss out on Lincoln High’s Beni Ngoyi, a three-star wide receiver who signed to play at Iowa State.

But Nebraska was able to secure Lincoln East’s Malachi Coleman, a four-star athlete and the top-ranked recruit out of Nebraska, according to ESPN.

Rhule said it was important to get those in-state recruits so that “every fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh grader” in Nebraska could look up to those athletes.

“They have to see other kids just like them do that,” he said.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where the players come from.

Rhule wants the players to come to Nebraska for the right reasons and not for name, image and likeness deals.

“I want kids to come here to get an education, win at football and get a chance to play in the National Football League,” he said.

Rhule emphasized several times during the press conference that Wednesday’s signees came to play for the right reasons.

And during the recruiting process, Rhule said he was “blown away” by the recruits’ maturity – including those who were committed to the previous staff.

“I want to help guys get better, and so to do that, you have to have players who want that, who want to wake up every day and just work and grind,” he said.

And now, with the pieces of the puzzle coming together, it’s time for the Huskers – who haven’t had a winning season since 2016 – to grind.

SEE ALSO: Nebraska football signing day roundup

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