Fact or fiction: Dawson Merritt is the top target for Nebraska


Rivals national recruiting analyst Greg Smith is accompanied by a national recruiting analyst Marshall's Tim Verghese and Ryan O'Bleness They must look at three topics and determine whether they believe each statement is fact or fiction.

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1. Tavien St. Clair is the candidate you're most looking forward to seeing at the Rivals Camp Series in Indianapolis.

Tavien St Clair
Tavien St. Clair (Birm/Dotting the 'Eyes)

Levenson: FACT. Since the rankings were last updated, there have been numerous opportunities to rank the best signal callers across the country. As a result, there will be some rotation between ranks from top to bottom at the position. Looking at Tavien St. Clair in this situation, a prospect who offers great potential, allows us to get a thorough and accurate picture of his position.

Whenever you get an in-depth evaluation of a 6-foot-2, 220-pound prospect at the quarterback position, it's the most anticipated performance of the day. If he actually does what I think he is very capable of, he could very well move into five-star territory in the 2025 class.

Smith: Fiction. This answer comes with a strong caveat. I recently saw St. Clair at Elite 11 in Ohio. He excelled at the event and secured his ticket to the Elite11 finals. While I'm excited to get another review point for him, I'm going to mix things up.

However, I'm going with a different quarterback. Ohio native and Georgia native Ryan Montgomery is a candidate I haven't seen in live action yet. He clearly has the physical tools and I love his intangibles. It will be a lot of fun to see him up close in the same camp with St. Clair and several other good quarterbacks. We'll learn something about how these two quarterbacks compare after this weekend.



2. Dawson Merritt is currently the most important addition to the Nebraska board.

Dawson Merritt
Dawson Merritt (Parker Thune)

Verghese: FACT. Linebacker is a key position that Nebraska needs to address in the 2025 cycle, and Dawson Merritt is the type of candidate who would not only help fill that need, but also raise the defense's ceiling.

One could argue that Omaha (Neb.) Westside four-star linebacker Christian Jones is Nebraska's top target of the cycle, but given the schedule, Merritt is currently the top recruit on Nebraska's board heading into the summer. The Huskers have invested a lot of time and energy in their pursuit, with coaches, off-field staff and even players working to land the four-star linebacker. His combination of athleticism, instinct and violence in a slim 6'3″ frame is hard to find. He would immediately make a difference in Nebraska's defense.

Additionally, his talents would require the Huskers to win a head-to-head race against Alabama, which would represent an impressive recruiting victory for the defensive coordinator Tony White and linebackers coach Rob Dvoracekand landing Merritt is the most important task for Nebraska in the coming weeks.

He officially visited Nebraska for the spring game in late April and has an official visit scheduled for June 7 at Alabama. A decision is expected shortly after this final official visit.

Blacksmith. FICTION. Merritt is a very important recruit because of his positional value and positioning. Nebraska desperately needs to acquire talent from Kansas City. However, he is not the linebacker I will select.

Omaha (Neb.) Westside four-star linebacker Christian Jones is my pick. Jones is ultra-athletic and has not yet reached his limits as a player. The idea of ​​defensive coordinator Tony White using Jones as a pawn in his 3-3-5 attack sounds pretty funny.

Not only is Jones a great candidate, he's also a homegrown prospect. Jones has seen all the ups and downs of the program. If he chooses Nebraska, it would be a huge sign of recognition for the direction this coach is heading Matt Rhule takes the program. It would show other stakeholders in the state and region that the future is bright in Lincoln.



3. Michigan State is poised to make a jump up the recruiting rankings this summer.

Emmett Bork
Emmett Bork

O'Bleness: FACT. Understandably, some Michigan State fans became increasingly concerned that the Spartans didn't have a single commitment in the 2025 class in late April. However, keep in mind that the coaching staff is brand new and has worked very consciously over the last few months to establish a foothold in the state of Michigan and the Midwest, while still relying on connections on the West Coast and elsewhere in the country before starting to set the class together.

Now you're starting to see that the hard work in high school recruiting (not to mention the transfer portal) is paying off, as Michigan State picked up five commitments from April 22 through mid-May. With MSU's official visiting season about to begin, expect the Spartans' hot streak to continue.

Michigan State's staff under head coach Jonathan Smith While there aren't many four- and five-star recruits, there are known talent identifiers and, more importantly, talent developers. MSU will get many of its Plan A targets and great fits, even if some of these players don't look like high-level prospects on paper.

While a slow start to the cycle could hurt Michigan State's chances of finishing in the top eight or so in the now 18-team Big Ten, I think Michigan State will quickly catapult itself out of the basement of the conference and into the middle at least pack it up.

Smith: FACT. The Spartans had a bit of a slow start to the 2025 recruiting class as coach Jonathan Smith and his staff settled in. But now the team has real momentum on the recruiting trail.

Three straight days of commitment have Spartans fans raving about the work the staff could do if official visits really pick up. The team is currently red hot on the trail after receiving commitments from linebacker DiMari Malone on May 12th, tight end Emmett Bork on May 13th and running back Jace Clarizio on May 14th.

The Spartans host a couple of big official visit weekends in June. That includes the June 14 weekend, led by Bobby Kanka, a four-star defensive lineman from Michigan. There are plenty of prospects coming to town that can help MSU climb the Big Ten's recruiting rankings.