Newest Husker commit Hannah visited Lincoln for ‘giggles,’ left sold on Ruud, Frost
Jackson Hannah has seen more than his fair share of college campuses.
He never experienced anything like what happened last weekend in Lincoln.
“I decided to take an unofficial visit up there just for giggles,” the Nashville, Tennessee, native told the Journal Star. “Me and my dad went up there and just ended up falling in love on the spot. I’ve been to about 100 campuses and have never walked away feeling like I did at Nebraska.”
Hannah didn’t wait long, verbally committing to the Huskers on Wednesday. The pledge gives NU a touted inside linebacker prospect for its 2019 class and extends a recruiting run that’s included a verbal commitment each of the past three days.
Hannah is 6-foot-3, 235 pounds and is rated a three-star prospect by the 247Sports composite ranking system. Rivals considers the Montgomery Bell Academy standout a four-star prospect, the No. 236 player overall in the country and the No. 9 inside linebacker in the country for 2019.
“He’s very quick off the ball, he’s got great hands and great athletic ability,” MBA head coach Marty Euverard told the Journal Star. “He’s strong and he really bends well. He’s got a great pass-rush off the edge.
“He’s just a big kid and you don’t see many of those that can move like he does. ... He’s a big kid. A big, country, raw-boned kinda kid, but he can move and he can bend.”
After much consideration and countless prayers, I am incredibly happy to announce my commitment to the University of Nebraska #gbrpic.twitter.com/JJjFwHIdZR — jackson hannah (@jacksonhannah5) June 6, 2018
Hannah will play inside linebacker for the Huskers and said he will sign his National Letter of Intent in December.
As a football fan in Tennessee, he was well aware of NU inside linebackers coach Barrett Ruud before he made the trip to Lincoln because Ruud played the 2011 season for the Tennessee Titans.
“I respect him tremendously,” Hannah said. “I knew his name fairly well and he made a good impression on my high school coaches. ... I got to know him a lot better this past visit. He’s a great man, he wants to win and he wanted me there real bad.”
Hannah played mostly outside linebacker and rushed the passer for Montgomery Bell Academy, compiling 52 tackles (nine for loss) and three sacks in 11 games as a junior as his team finished as state runner-up in Division II-AAA.
Hannah chose Nebraska over offers from several Southeastern Conference schools such as Alabama, LSU, Tennessee, Florida and Arkansas, and others, including California.
When he walked down the tunnel at Memorial Stadium, though, he knew NU was the choice.
“As soon as I hit the field, it was weird, it was like God was trying to speak to me,” Hannah said. “I had this pretty crazy moment. It was like the Holy Ghost hitting me and I just envisioned myself running out on that field. ... I brought my dad aside and I told him, ‘I think I want to play here.’”
A meeting with head coach Scott Frost sealed the deal in Hannah’s mind and, after talking it over with his family back in Tennessee, he called the staff to make it official.
The Huskers’ depth chart at inside linebacker has changed significantly in recent weeks with the departures of redshirt freshmen Andrew Ward and Willie Hampton. Those moves leave one senior (Dedrick Young), two juniors (Mohamed Barry and Will Honas) and a sophomore (Avery Roberts) as the only four scholarship players in Ruud’s group.
That makes the position a critical target on the recruiting trail for NU in 2019 and makes Jackson an important pickup. Also on the Huskers’ wish list, of course, is Omaha Burke four-star Nick Henrich, perhaps the top overall target remaining for Nebraska.
“They see me as a true inside,” Hannah said. “We run a very similar defensive scheme and play-calling, so I knew a lot of what (Ruud) was talking about. I’m playing inside linebacker this year too, so I should do well. Coach Ruud just really believes that I can make an impact on this defense at inside linebacker.”
NU now has five verbal commitments since Friday, two late additions to the 2018 class and three for 2019.
They are: 2018 transfer defensive back Will Jackson III (Mesa C.C.) and two-year graduate transfer defensive lineman Vaha Vainuku (Utah), and 2019 verbal commitments in juco offensive lineman Desmond Bland (Arizona Western), quarterback Luke McCaffrey (Littleton, Colorado) and Hannah.
Nebraska’s eight-man 2019 class is now ranked No. 26 (seventh in the Big Ten) in the nation by Rivals and No. 29 (ninth) by 247Sports.