LINCOLN – Taking in the afternoon session of Day 1 of the Nebraska individual camp at the Bob Devaney Sports Center today, a couple things occurred to me. First is that the Devaney Center, once a facility that wasn’t good…
LINCOLN – Taking in the afternoon session of Day 1 of the Nebraska individual camp at the Bob Devaney Sports Center today, a couple things occurred to me.
First is that the Devaney Center, once a facility that wasn’t good enough to draw in the kind of recruits the basketball team needed to be competitive is now the biggest and most lethal recruiting weapon in the college volleyball world. Kids sit on the court and look around at all those empty seats that they know are filled to capacity on game days. They see all the history of the Nebraska program in the form of banners and records on the walls.
If you’re the kind of athlete that goes around the Midwest – or even the nation – participating in camps at major programs trying to get noticed, you know immediately upon entering the facility that Devaney Center is unlike anything you’ve played in before.
There was a time when the Devaney Center had magic running through its walls during the late 1980s and early 1990s. It’s not the magic that ever went away from the old place because it is still there. A parent of an athlete from Minnesota chatted me up for a while as we watched John Cook and the Husker coaches run campers through drills. HIs daughter had just come from the University of Minnesota camp and was headed to the University of Wisconsin camp after this one ends.
He said to me, “I’ve never seen anything like this for volleyball. You see it on TV and think its impressive and then you get here and it’s even more incredible.”
Yep, you’ve got to think that once Cook and company get recruits into Devaney and experience it’s like walking from the used car lot to the shinny new cars and the salesman putting you in a Ferrari and asking you, “wouldn’t you rather have this?” Yes, sir, I would.
The second thing is that Cook isn’t recruiting volleyball players, he’s recruiting freaking linebackers. The size and the athleticism of some of the athletes was just astounding. Riley Zuhn, a 6’5 2019 recruit from Fort Collins, Colorado, was there and is every bit of that 6’5. Seeing her next to 6’3 Superior Husker commit Kalynn Meyer was a little shocking. She actually made Meyer look, well, human when we all know that she isn’t.
It was impressive watching Meyer as you can tell she takes coaching and applies it almost immediately. She also pounded what I think was the hardest hit of the session coming around on a slide. Her quickness to the pins was impressive as well as coaches worked to tweak some of her footwork.
Other in-state commits Lindsay Krause and Emma Gabel were there. Fallon Stutheit and Rylee Gray were not. Gray mentioned she wasn’t going to be there because she will be with her Elkhorn South teammates at the Creighton team camp beginning tomorrow.
2021 libero recruit Alexis Rodriguez was there and I’m telling you right now, she is going to be an absolute fan favorite. That girl digs everything and is an absolute bulldog. Kennedi Orr, the 2021 setter recruit, was not there. Speaking of Orr, I’ve heard some whispers that some people in Lincoln think she’s good enough right now to step in and play this fall, if it weren’t for that fact that she’s still just going to be a sophomore in high school.
With highly-touted Nicklin Hames being a freshman for the Huskers this fall and Orr coming in three years from now, it would seem Nebraska has its starting setter lined up for the next seven years. The interesting thing will be to see what other setters are willing to come to Nebraska knowing that there realistically won’t be a starting spot open until 2025.
In my opinion, the player that really stole the show is 2022 middle Rebekah Allick of Lincoln North Star. At times she was running drills and playing on the same court as Husker recruits such as Krause, Madi Kubik, Meyer and Zuhn and not only held her own but had quite a bit of success. There have been whispers that USC coach Brent Couch, who ran clinics in Omaha and Lincoln earlier this summer, has made Allick a top priority in his 2022 recruiting class. She might be the best incoming freshman in the state, and it’s a talented 2022 class.
Brilee Wieseler of Skutt Catholic was there and played really well against some top competition. I really hate to compare players to other players, but watching Wieseler today and could help but think she reminds me of Husker walk-on Hayley Densberger from Malcolm. Very similar type of players.