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Nebraska football's biggest misses of the 2022 recruiting class

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Husker football head coach Scott Frost speaks during a Signing Day press conference at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln on Wednesday, December 15, 2021.

You can’t get ’em all. And in the 2022 recruiting cycle, Nebraska didn’t get a lot of its top targets. Several, including in-state prospects, picked other schools as NU signed its smallest high school class in memory.

Who are the names Husker fans will regret not hearing for the next four or five years? Here's some of misses for the 2022 class:

Bellevue West tight end Kaden Helms (Oklahoma): This one can’t be sugarcoated. Helms had one of the best seasons for an in-state tight end, catching 51 passes for 944 yards and 11 touchdowns at the Class A level. Helms brings so much to the table — speed, versatility, smarts, a teammate-first personality — and Nebraska coaches recognized that. They just couldn’t keep him in the state. Helms told reporters repeatedly he wanted to see another school and with the Sooners, he will, even as the coach who recruited him, Lincoln Riley, headed to Southern California.

Burke outside linebacker Devon Jackson (Oregon): He had zero interest in playing at Nebraska, which is too bad, because the nickel spot in NU’s defense is a perfect fit for Jackson’s speed and power. Jackson didn’t give the Huskers a second thought despite former Burke star Nick Henrich having a huge season in Lincoln. At Oregon, Jackson will find a position in new coach Dan Lanning’s defense, too. Two other prospects — Bellevue West’s Micah Riley-Ducker and Omaha Central’s Deshawn Woods — picked Auburn and Missouri, respectively, but Helms and Jackson’s preferences to cross NU off the list hurt the most.

Maumelle (Ark.) defensive tackle Nico Davillier (Arkansas): A terror on the field — 74 tackles, 26 for loss, 15 quarterback hurries — Davillier took an official visit over the summer but stuck with the home-state Razorbacks, who are getting one of the best athletes in the region. Of all the guys NU hosted, this might be the visitor who ends up being the best defender.

Lawrenceburg (Ind.) offensive tackle Ashton Craig (Notre Dame): Another early June visitor, Craig was a Nebraska lean until Notre Dame came through with an offer. Had the Huskers been able to hire Notre Dame offensive line coach Jeff Quinn, it might have restarted a conversation with Craig. Neither happened.

Hays (Kan.) linebacker Jaren Kanak (Clemson): The speedster with the 10.37 in the 100 looked like a possibility before the Tigers — and former defensive coordinator Brent Venables, now the coach at Oklahoma — swooped in with a scholarship offer. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Kanak would have been one of the Big Ten’s fastest players.

Vero Beach (Fla.) cornerback James Monds III (Indiana): Even All-America uncle Wonder Monds’ time at Nebraska couldn’t convince James to pick the Huskers over the Hoosiers. Monds is an elite athlete — a soccer player, too — who would have competed for immediate playing at Nebraska. He may start at Indiana.

Dallas (Ga.) East Paulding running back Justin Williams: The Huskers thought they had him after his June 4 official visit. Alas, no. Williams decided to bide his time committing in hopes of better offers, and he got them — late — after rushing for 1,956 yards as a senior. Now a four-star prospect, he picked Tennessee on signing day.