Frost gets first two commitments
LINCOLN -- Nebraska just got faster.
Jaron Woodyard would have that impact on a lot of teams, and he’ll have it on the Huskers after he verbally committed to the program Sunday night.
The Arizona Western Community College receiver announced his pledge via Twitter as he was arriving back back in Arizona after officially visiting NU this weekend.
He’s the second verbal commit of the day and the second of Frost’s tenure here, joining four-star safety C.J. Smith, from Oxbridge Academy in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Woodyard played in 10 games for the Matadors in 2017 and hauled in 36 catches for 522 yards (14.5 per reception) and six touchdowns.
He is considered to be among the fastest players on Nebraska’s recruiting radar and could push toward being the fastest player on the roster right away. When he was in high school, according to Athletic.net, he ran personal-bests of 10.68 seconds in the 100 meters and 21.59 in the 200 meters.
He is listed at 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds and was also considering Maryland and Syracuse. He visited the Orange in late November and was originally slated to visit the Terrapins next weekend.
Woodyard is expected to be a winter graduate, meaning he can enroll at NU for spring semester and participate in spring practice, maximizing his time to learn the offense and push for playing time.
Based on 247Sports’ composite rankings, Woodyard is the fourth-rated junior college receiver in the country and the No. 47 juco prospect overall.
Woodyard is the first junior college prospect to commit to Nebraska since defensive lineman Joe Keels in 2014. The Huskers evaluated a few junior-college prospects in three years under former head coach Mike Riley, but never had one join the program.
Woodyard’s teammate, Greg Bell, also was in Lincoln for an official visit this weekend, and two other teammates, tackle Jahmir Johnson and tight end Dominick Wood-Anderson, also have offers from the Huskers.
Smith also announced his commitment on Twitter earlier in the day on Sunday.
“It’s been a great honor to go through this amazing recruiting process,” he wrote. “I’d like to thank all coaches that recruited me through my long journey. I ’d also like to thank my parents on helping me become the man that I am today.”
Even by the short timeline in front of Frost and his assistant coaches, Smith was an early target. He received a scholarship offer on Sunday, one day after Frost was officially hired and the same day he was introduced as the head coach here.
That day, Husker outside linebackers coach Jovan Dewitt visited Smith at his home, and the staff made sure to get him on an official visit as soon as it could. It paid off.
It’s no surprise that Smith was high on the Huskers’ list. His older brother, Tre’Quan, is Central Florida’s best wide receiver. As a junior, Tre’Quan has 54 catches for 1,082 yards and 13 touchdowns through 12 games so far this season.
Now, his little brother will be playing for the same coaching staff, just 1,400 miles north and west. In addition to the family connection, the younger Smith visited UCF unofficially in November.
He is listed at 6-foot-2 and 193 pounds and played primarily safety safety at Oxbridge.
His other official visits included Oklahoma, Ole Miss, South Carolina and Louisville. Smith at one time was verbally pledged to Florida, but opened his recruitment back up months before the season started.
Smith is rated a four-star prospect by Rivals and the No. 27 safety in the country. 247Sports/Scout lists him as a three-star, but the service’s industry composite ranking is a four-star.
According to MaxPreps, Smith had 16 tackles in seven games for the ThunderWolves, who advanced all the way to the to the Class 3A state championship game in Orlando on Saturday before losing.
Smith only appeared in seven games and did not play in the state title game — he was in Lincoln on his official visit — due to a broken hand, according to an Orlando Sun Sentinel report.
As a junior, Smith was named to Palm Beach Post’s All-Area team as a second-team wide receiver.
That paper in August ranked him the No. 2 senior in the area on its Class of 2018 “big board,” behind only Miami commit and fellow defensive back Gurvan Hall.
Nebraska’s 2018 class currently stands at nine players.