Nebraska on Sunday afternoon landed a verbal commitment from three-star prospect Brodie Tagaloa, a tight end and defensive end from San Francisco. Here are three observations following the news.
1. The situation developed quickly, but Husker defensive line coach Tony Tuioti has known about Tagaloa for a long time.
In fact, Tagaloa first reported a scholarship offer from Nebraska all the way back in May 2020.
Over the summer, NU had a few other defensive linemen come to campus on official visits including Chris McClellan — now a Florida commit — Nico Davillier and Jalen Marshall, and also had a pledge and subsequent de-commitment from Hayden Schwartz. But Tuioti clearly kept tabs on Tagaloa as well, even when California didn’t play high school football in 2020 and De La Salle had only a six-game season in the spring.
Tagaloa also didn't play football his freshman year of high school before starting as a sophomore in 2019. Then the pandemic hit. MaxPreps only has stats for Tagaloa in one game this fall for De La Salle, so he is potentially a bit of a raw ball of clay.
“Brodie, especially as a kid who took some years off and came back to us (in 2020) and came straight to varsity, he’s very physical, very strong kid and a very high ceiling as far as what he can be," De La Salle assistant coach Nathan Kenion said in a video made earlier this year. “He’s athletic and that shows on the field on offense and defense.”
2. Tuioti said he was waiting for the right fit to join his room.
As the season neared its conclusion, the Husker defensive line coach said he wasn’t going to take just anybody during this offseason.
“Fortunate for us, we’ve got a lot of young guys that have a lot of reps for us that are going to be coming back, so we don’t lose a lot,” Tuioti said in late October. “I’m being real selective in the guy that we need to add to our room so that guy can build and add value to our room and the culture that we’ve got right now. The worst thing you can do is bring a guy in that just doesn’t fit the culture. We’ve worked really, really hard to build the culture the right way and we’ve got some great young guys that are going to be leaders for us in Ty (Robinson) and Casey (Rogers), those type of guys.”
Indeed, NU does have some talented young players returning, but it is also losing more than perhaps Tuioti expected then. Both Ben Stille and Damion Daniels are off to the NFL and junior Deontre Thomas has signaled on social media that his Nebraska career may be finished after five seasons, too.
That’s part of the reason Nebraska offered a pair of junior college DLs from Snow College in Utah on Saturday. That pair, Cortez Hogans and Seleti Fevaleaki, are set to visit NU officially this coming weekend.
3. The path to more or less finishing out the high school portion of the 2022 class looks relatively clear for Nebraska.
NU will continue to look for offensive players in the transfer portal and it’s not impossible that it will try to take another high school prospect on that side of the ball, too — especially if new receivers coach Mickey Joseph or another one of NU’s incoming offensive assistants has a line on somebody — but the emphasis to close out a small 2022 group continues to be on defense.
Namely, the Huskers will look to add a high school defensive back or two in the coming days.
Nebraska had Malcolm Hartzog (Prentiss, Mississippi) and Jaeden Gould (Oradell, New Jersey) on official visits this weekend along with verbal commit Gage Stenger (Millard South) and Abilene Christian transfer Ryan Stapp. All four play in the secondary.
The Huskers also made a new junior college defensive back offer on Sunday to DeShon Singleton out of Hutchinson (Kansas) Community College.
Singleton, listed at 6-3 and 200 pounds, is an Amite, Louisiana, native who was lightly recruited out of high school last year but played one year at Hutch and, according to his social media, is a full academic qualifier.
In nine games, he was credited with a pair of interceptions, a pair of break-ups and 2½ tackles for loss.
In recent weeks, he's also picked up offers from Kansas, Hawaii and several other Group of Five schools.