To all his buddies who kept asking where he’d play college football, Omaha Burke linebacker Nick Henrich offered his answer Saturday night.
The Huskers landed the state’s highest-ranked recruit when the 6-foot-4, 210-pound Henrich — an All-Nebraska pick who had 119 tackles and 11 sacks last season — announced on Twitter he was picking NU over a host of offers, including Wisconsin and Iowa, which were his other finalists.
He took visits to all three — and more schools. At Wisconsin, it was an official visit. The Badgers had just landed one Nebraska prospect in the 2018 class (Bryson Williams) and wanted to get another. At Iowa, there’s a long history of Nebraska-born players — including current Hawkeye tight end Noah Fant. But Nebraska won the battle.
“They have the best coaching staff in the nation and the best strength and conditioning staff in the nation,” Henrich said Saturday before announcing his decision. “I really just think it’s the perfect fit for me.”
So, too, is inside linebackers coach Barrett Ruud, who’s taken over in-state recruiting in Nebraska and played a key role in landing Henrich. Ruud has already walked Henrich’s path. He starred at Lincoln Southeast. He played all four years at NU. He left as the school record holder in tackles. His lanky body style and nose for the ball is similar to that of Henrich.
“I have a great relationship with the entire coaching staff, in particular coach Ruud,” Henrich said. “He is great and really relatable. He played the position at the highest level and that is someone I want to learn from.”
Ruud will have highly-touted clay to mold. The No. 219 player in the nation according to 247Sports Composite service, Henrich is a consensus four-star prospect and top 100 player — No. 87 — according to 247’s own service.
He also, by the briefest assessment of his highlight film, packs a bigger wallop than most defensive players.
“He’s just unmatched,” Burke coach Paul Limongi said earlier this summer. “He plays the linebacker position unlike anybody I’ve seen ever play it in high school. Fast. Aggressive. He has a great nose for the ball. Very savvy — makes others better. And he hits like a truck. First time he had pads on as a freshman — first play, he made the play.”
Henrich becomes the 13th commit in the 2019 Nebraska class, the second inside linebacker and the fourth native Nebraskan, joining outside linebacker Garrett Nelson, athlete Garrett Snodgrass and defensive tackle Ethan Piper. Along with Henrich, they’re four of the five in-state prospects Nebraska wanted most.
The fifth? Henrich’s teammate at Burke. Tight end Chris Hickman. His turn now. He averaged 25 yards per catch last season. Hickman plans to take at least some official visits in the fall.
Henrich is done. He wanted to pick a school before his senior year, and it’s the home-state squard.
“I’m shutting it down and 100 percent committed to Nebraska,” he said.
These are the players who built Nebraska football.
©2018 BH Media Group