Nebraska is hoping to reel in not one but two tight ends from Bellevue West High in the 2022 recruiting class.
The Cornhuskers on Wednesday offered a scholarship to Kaden Helms, who joins teammate and fellow tight end Micah Riley with offers from NU.
Helms on Saturday checked in at the Warren Academy's Top Prospects Showcase at 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds. He turned in a 4.96 40-yard dash time to go along with a 33-inch vertical jump. Helms, like Riley, has half of his high school career remaining but already is attracting significant recruiting attention.
The offer is Helms' second known from a Power Five school as the Huskers join Iowa State, which offered back in December.
Helms was expecting to make the camp circuit this spring and summer but it was largely scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"I was supposed to go to Penn State for a camp, Notre Dame, Iowa State, Iowa, Nebraska," Helms said. "Pretty much all of the central states. I was supposed to go to Las Vegas for a camp.
"(Coronavirus) kind of sucks, obviously, but I'm just trying to make the most out of what I can."
Helms said he's been hearing from Nebraska regularly during the shutdown, even before they offered him on Wednesday.
"Me and (inside linebackers coach Barrett) Ruud talk, usually about once a week," said Helms of the Huskers' in-state recruiting coordinator. "That's good. We're just building a bond and building a relationship. Nebraska is the main school calling right now."
Helms said he's also getting interest from Penn State — the Nittany Lions have already offered Riley — Notre Dame, UNLV and Stanford.
Helms and Riley are similarly sized but have very different skill sets, according to Bellevue West head coach Michael Huffman.
"They're completely different players," he said. "Micah is that in-line tight end, he can play with his hand in the ground. … He excels in blocking, short things over the middle, out routes, under routes. That's where Micah excels. Kaden is a guy who might come in and be an H-back. Might come in and play on the backside of a 3x1. Could come down and put his hand in the ground.
"When he played football last fall, he weighed 183 pounds. Right now he's 213."
Where as Riley picked up several Power Five offers over the winter and spring, Helms is just starting to take off.
"Every school I talked to, I said, 'Take a look at (Helms) because you're going to be calling me back in three months to offer him," Huffman said.
Helms didn't stop at one offer on Wednesday, either. About an hour after announcing his NU offer, he tweeted that he also received one from Purdue.
He is the fourth in-state player to earn an offer from the Huskers for the 2022 class so far, joining Riley, Omaha Central offensive lineman Deshawn Woods and Omaha Burke outside linebacker Devon Jackson.
As a sophomore, Helms caught 16 passes for 232 yards and a pair of touchdowns as part of a loaded Bellevue West offense that featured a pair of Power Five receivers in Zavier Betts (2020 Nebraska signee) and Keagan Johnson (2021 Iowa verbal pledge) and talented running back Jay Ducker (2020 Northern Illinois signee).
The Thunderbirds will be loaded again this fall though with the pair of 6-5 weapons in Helms and Riley plus talented incoming freshman receiver Daevonn Hall.
"I still want two more rings," Helms said. "I obviously want to win the state championship, just have a good, productive year, be confident, help my teammates out, improve my blocking and just have a good season."
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BALL IN BIG TEN COURT
Ready or not, Saturday is Aug. 1. For college football followers, the flip of the calendar brings a heightened sense of urgency to reach some sort of conclusion on the season.
Several reports from across the country give an idea of when Power Five conferences aim to open their football seasons. For example, the Big 12 is reportedly eyeing a Week 0 start. The Pac-12? Week 3.
On that token, the ball is in the Big Ten's court. Parker Gabriel's Driving for 6 is an all-encompassing edition, beginning with a sense of where the Big Ten currently stands.
(Hint: That Sept. 5 season opener against Purdue isn't looking great).
Check out the story below:
HUSKER WOMEN SECURE COMMIT
The Nebraska women's basketball team secured its first known commit for the 2022 class in Callin Hake, a junior-to-be in Chanhassen, Minnesota.
Consider this: Hake is her high school's all-time leading scorer. Yes, in two seasons.
Brent C. Wagner caught up with Hake, who says she "loved" her visit to the Nebraska campus before the pandemic halted recruiting.
Hear from Hake, and her club team coach below:
HUSKERS EYE SECOND THUNDERBIRD TE
Kaden Helms announced he holds a Nebraska offer, marking the fourth known offer the Huskers have extended for the 2022 class.
Helms is a 6-foot-5, 210-pound tight end from Bellevue West. The Huskers have already offered his high school teammate, Micah Riley, who is also a tight end.
Helms says he regularly hears from Nebraska, and has developed a relationship with Husker inside linebackers coach Barrett Ruud.
More on Helms below:
ACC MAKES FIRST MOVE
The ACC became the first Power Five school to finalize a football schedule this fall, moving to a 11-game schedule that includes Notre Dame.
All ACC schools will play 10 conference games plus one nonconference opponent of their choosing after the league's board of directors voted Wednesday to proceed.
The official ACC Twitter account released the schedule in a nifty graphic, which can be seen below: