Class of 2016

Tony Butler

HometownCleveland Heights, OH
High schoolSt. Edward
Offer dateJune 3, 2015
Official visitDec. 11, 2015
Commit dateJan. 20, 2016

Three-star defensive back Tony Butler committed to Nebraska on Jan. 20. He did so during a ceremony at his high school, Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward.

Butler told The World-Herald he'd been silently committed to the Huskers since December but held off on making it public.

Butler chose NU over West Virginia and Arizona State, among others. He said one of the reasons he picked the Huskers was the elite competition he'd face in Lincoln.

“It would be a culture shock for a lot of people,” the 6-foot-2, 195-pounder said in an interview before he officially committed to Nebraska Wednesday afternoon. “It won't be a culture shock for me. I'm used to going against great players every day.”

Defensive backs coach Brian Stewart was his lead recruiter. Butler said of his future position coach: “He's real chill and he'll tell you how it is. He's real honest with you, and he'll tell you how to get better.”

Butler originally committed to Pitt early in the process. He backed off that pledge, though, as he received more attention from colleges.

NU quickly jumped to the top of his list. He took his official visit to Lincoln the weekend of Dec. 11.

Butler eventually narrowed his focus to three finalists — NU, West Virginia and Arizona State. He intended to visit the Sun Devils the weekend before he announced his commitment, but that visit got canceled.

Butler was happy to make the Huskers his pick a few days later.

At Nebraska, Butler projects to safety or inside cornerback when Nebraska deploys five defensive backs in its scheme. His high school preferred tight, press coverage against receivers, so Butler was used to that. He said it'd be a slight adjustment back to safety – where he'd be off the ball – but he expects to make the transition OK.

Butler played cornerback in high school and tried to pattern his game around Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman. Although Butler was the most highly-rated player on St. Edward's team this season, the program has such depth that Butler only had to play defense. St. Edward won the Division I Ohio state title and finished in USA Today's national top ten for high school teams.

Butler is the No. 544 overall recruit in the 2016 class, according to the 247 composite, and the No. 51 cornerback.

He’ll be one of several promising youngsters suiting up for Nebraska’s secondary when preseason camp starts in August. It’d take a strong first impression for Butler to stand out. He’ll have to refine his tackling technique and maybe adjust to a new position — NU’s likely to first consider him at safety or nickel. But he has speed and athleticism. His instincts in coverage — playing the football at just the right time — make him a headache for receivers.

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