On Monday, the Nebraska Cornhuskers received a major boost to their 2024 recruiting class when top-ranked quarterback Dylan Raiola announced his commitment to the team. And with this pledge comes many observations about the five-star prospect’s impact on the Big Red’s quarterback room and the program as a whole. Let’s break this down.
The Impact of Dylan Raiola’s Commitment To Nebraska
How Did We Get Here?
For 217 days, the top quarterback in the nation was committed to helping head coach Kirby Smart and the Georgia Bulldogs program get another national title. But then everything changed when Raiola took an official visit to Nebraska. Sure, he had family connections. His father was an All-American center for the program in the 2000s. Currently, his uncle Donovan Raiola is in his second season serving as NU’s offensive line coach. But that was furthest from his mind. In his interview with ESPN’s Pete Thamel, the opportunity to play right away and the “vision and culture that Matt Rhule has established” were some of the biggest selling points in his decision to commit. Now, the consensus five-star prospect has that chance that he desired. As an early enrollee in the program, he has plenty of talent. But he has two big challenges. One, he has to learn the Cornhuskers playbook. And he also has to get used to the college game.
Read more about the five-star prospect’s decision here: A Wild Week For The Nebraska Football Program
A Massive Improvement to The Offense
With Raiola’s impressive makeup, Marcus Satterfield’s offense at NU improves dramatically. Last season, the program’s quarterback woes were a constant liability for the program. During that time, Husker Extra says that the program’s offense only averaged 135.9 yards per game when they passed the ball. Because of this, this led Nebraska to score a measly 14 points per game. Now with Raiola firmly committed to Rhule’s rebuild, he looks to provide an instant remedy to the Husker offense. And there’s proof that he can. After all, at Buford High School in Georgia, Raiola threw for 2,819 yards and 34 touchdowns to go with only one interception. Now, he can follow these stats up to succeed for the Husker offense in the new Big Ten? It’s certainly possible. As with his commitment, NU’s offense is now able to market to the college football world that they are willing to take a big step forward.
Who Will Be The Starter?
With Raiola’s decision to enroll early at Nebraska, the five-star prospect is now in line to battle for the Cornhuskers starting job with three-star Bellevue West product Daniel Kaelin. And even more interesting is that the Huskers also have veterans in the discussion as well. This is shown in the experience that sophomore quarterbacks Chubba Purdy and Heinrich Haarberg both possess. Because of these dynamics, NU certainly has an interesting question to solve this offseason. Will the highly touted prospect win the job right away, or will the experience of Purdy and Haarberg be enough to make a final decision? Granted, we won’t know Rhule’s final say until the season kicks off against UTEP on August 31. Until then, we’re in for a long wait.
Some Late Signing Day Adds
With the early signing period steadily approaching, Raiola’s commitment has the Nebraska Cornhuskers 2024 recruiting class ranked at #19 in the country with 26 total pledges according to 247 Sports. But that isn’t all that the program could potentially add. In fact, defensive backs coach Evan Cooper still has several prospects in play. Gulliver Prep three-star cornerback Amare Sanders announces at noon tomorrow at Gibson Park in Miami. And the Huskers are still firmly in the driver’s seat to land former Maryland commit Larry Tarver Jr. However, it gets even murkier on the offensive side of the ball. Rhule and Satterfield already have most of their offensive pieces in place. Look no further than Bellevue West teammates Isaiah McMorris and Daevonn Hall. And tight ends coach Josh Martin already has All-American tight end Carter Nelson as well as Texas tight end Ian Flynt. But if the coaching staff wants to go that route, they have a few solid options. According to Greg Smith of Rivals, the Huskers have a small chance to flip Texas wide receiver commit Ryan Wingo as well as offensive tackle Brandon Baker. With Raiola in the class, it’s certainly possible. But can it become a reality?