|Offer date||April 3, 2019|
|Commit date||June 6, 2020|
A pair of road trips last week confirmed a hunch Seth Malcom held quietly for a long time. He was going to be a Husker.
Many football recruits regularly update social media with graphics of their finalists. That’s not Malcom, a 2021 inside linebacker prospect from Fremont-Mills High School in Tabor, Iowa, who told only his family when he narrowed his list to Nebraska and Kansas State a month ago.
An official visit to each school would have been ideal, but the NCAA-mandated recruiting shutdown extended through at least July. So Malcom and his parents, Alex and Tracy, gassed up and drove to each town on their own. Eighty miles west to Lincoln last weekend. Then 170 southwest to Manhattan on Tuesday.
They walked around both stadiums and both campuses. They cruised along main streets to get a feel for the communities. Coaches — who, by rule, couldn’t meet with them — offered tips for places to eat and things to see.
“I kind of knew it was Nebraska all along,” Malcom told The World-Herald. “But it solidified my decision.”
The 6-foot-3, 210-pound defender revealed his decision to NU coach Scott Frost along with defensive coordinator Erik Chinander and inside linebackers coach Barrett Ruud on a Zoom call Friday. An announcement on social media followed Saturday evening. Malcom becomes the ninth known Huskers pledge in the 2021 cycle and second inside linebacker, joining Cordele (Georgia) Crisp County’s Christopher Paul.
An eight-man player at Fremont-Mills, Malcom was an all-around force as a junior while collecting 70.5 tackles (15 for loss) with three interceptions. He added 12.1 yards per carry and 29 touchdowns as a running back.
Nebraska’s recent history landing eight-man scholarship players is limited. Receiver Ty Hahn of Johnson-Brock joined the 2020 group as a walk-on, with coaches promising he would have a scholarship for his last three years of school. Safety Andrew Shanle of St. Edward was part of the 2002 class and grayshirted, meaning he waited a semester to go on scholarship. Fullback Steve Kriewald of North Loup Scotia signed in 2000.
“There’s not very many eight-man players that go to 11-man at a school like Nebraska,” Malcom said.
Indeed, Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck told Malcom that he was the first eight-man player he ever offered a scholarship. Iowa State also offered. Iowa, which awarded a scholarship in 2012 to Fremont-Mills alum Nate Meier, who became a multiyear starter at defensive end, gave Malcom a long look. The 247Sports composite lists him as the No. 1,128 overall prospect in 2021 and ranks him No. 78 overall at outside linebacker.
Malcom said he is set up academically so he could enroll at NU next January to get a head start navigating the learning curve from eight-man football and smaller fields to 11-on-11 Power Five competition. He will make that decision later.
But the final destination is set. As funny as it sounds, Malcom said, the pandemic-related recruiting shutdowns actually helped trim his options. Chinander or Ruud steadfastly remained in touch every other day.
“It really made it clear who kept interest and who didn’t,” Malcom said. “Who would call and text to see what’s going on. Some coaches drifted away, but others stayed in contact.”
Malcom said he had already visited Nebraska at least five times in the past year or so. While his immediate family never had any strong rooting interests growing up, his grandparents often drove him from Tabor — with a population just under 1,000 — to Husker games and are fans. His father, Alex, played at Peru State and works as a firefighter in Omaha while his mother is an educator and volleyball coach at F-M.
Nebraska coaches believe they are getting a rangy, physical defender with a knack for making plays, Malcom said. He’s getting a chance to make a difference close to home.
“It’s a huge moment in my life, choosing the school that’s the right fit for me,” Malcom said. “Going to all the colleges and seeing all the coaches and players, it was just very clear to me that Nebraska was the right choice.”
These are the players who built Nebraska football.
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