Elite college football programs win recruiting battles close to home. If they don’t, it’s awfully hard to sustain being elite. And that’s precisely why the pledge of four-star Bellevue (Neb.) West High School wide receiver Zavier Betts to Nebraska is so important.
Betts is the top overall prospect in the state of Nebraska and one of the 20 best receivers in the class, per 247Sports. In addition to Nebraska, he was recruited by Iowa, Iowa State and Minnesota, and its likely others may follow during his final high school campaign, too.
Maybe they won’t now, with Betts making clear that his decision to stay close to home is a firm one.
“I’ve been thinking about it for awhile and I was down at practice with my uncle and his family today and we were just watching what was actually going on behind the scenes,” Betts told 247Sports. “It reminded me a lot of what we do at Bellevue West and I just didn’t want to pass up the chance to be a part of something like that.
“My relationship with Nebraska is strong. We talked a lot today about what I have to do to get up there and really be a part of the program. It’s a great relationship that I have with those coaches and all the others on the staff.”
Make no mistake: Betts is a talented prospect, even if he isn’t projected to be a jaw-dropping, five-star program changer. Given his success at the high school level, it’s entirely likely he will be that anyway; Betts caught 48 passes for 856 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior despite facing frequent double teams, and his stats from his sophomore season were even better.
The only knock on Betts is that the competition he faces isn’t at the level of some of the receivers ranked ahead of him playing in Texas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and other traditional football cradles. That may not be fair to him, or to his future prospects.
If any coach is likely to make the most of that talent, it’s Scott Frost. An underrated Nebraska kid turned national champion turned Nebraska coach getting the most out of another local Cornhusker talent? Start printing the movie posters.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story referred to Nebraska coach Scott Frost as a Heisman Trophy winner rather than a national champion. It has been corrected, and we regret the error.