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Fact or Fiction: Nebraska's spring game will springboard its 2025 class

Rivals national recruiting analyst Greg Smith is joined by Tyler James of InsideNDSports.com, Tim Verghese of InsideNebraska.com and national recruiting analyst Adam Friedman to tackle three topics and determine whether they believe each statement is FACT or FICTION.

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1. Notre Dame’s NFL Draft performance will boost its recruiting even more.

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James: FICTION. It certainly won’t hurt that Notre Dame may have as many, if not more, draft picks this year than the five selections in the previous two years combined. Offensive tackle Joe Alt, who seems to be a lock to be a top-10 pick, is really the only prospect who’s guaranteed to be drafted within the first three rounds. So, it’s unlikely that there will be an overwhelming amount of Notre Dame draft picks early on.

But even if offensive tackle Blake Fisher, running back Audric Estimé and/or cornerback Cam Hart land in the second or third rounds, I think the impact of this draft class will be delayed. And it will depend on how well those guys perform in the NFL. Notre Dame gets more recruiting currency out of successful NFL players such as Baltimore Ravens safety Kyle Hamilton, Los Angeles Rams running back Kyren Williams, Indianapolis Colts offensive guard Quenton Nelson and Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Drue Tranquill than the quantity of draft picks — even though it will gladly trumpet the number and its NFL record.

Because of Notre Dame’s recent history of offensive line success in the NFL, I don’t think Alt’s selection will put the Irish into a different category. But if he and others thrive in the NFL, the recruiting impact will have a longer shelf life.

Smith: FICTION. We are splitting hairs here. I do believe that Notre Dame’s NFL Draft success helps the program overall. The amount of players that have recently been drafted and found success always help programs on the recruiting trail. However, the thing that holds Notre Dame from recruiting truly elite players like Georgia, Ohio State and a couple others isn’t the NFL Draft.

Its getting over the hump on the field. The Irish are a consistently good program. The new playoff structure could allow them to edge closer to great. To get that next caliber of athlete consistently to South Bend, coach Marcus Freeman and his staff need to win at an even higher level.

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2. The spring game will be the launching pad for Nebraska’s 2025 class.

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Verghese: FACT. Nebraska likely won’t land more than a handful of commits, if even that, during the spring game weekend. However, we could look back on the weekend as the catalyst for Nebraska’s 2025 class. More than 54,000 tickets have already been sold for the game, with even more expected to show up on Saturday. Nebraska is taking advantage, looking to showcase a “game” environment for a lengthy visitor list.

The Huskers will have seven official visitors and double-digit unofficial visitors on campus for the annual Red-White Game. Prospects such as Alamo Heights four-star athlete Michael Terry, Orange (Cali.) Lutheran four-star quarterback TJ Lateef and Dallas (Texas) Lancaster three-star wide receiver Emmanuel Choice have been in contact with Nebraska’s staff for months but this will be their first opportunity to visit.

A strong visit experience could go a long way for the Huskers who are already at or near the top in all three recruitments. Other notable prospects in town include Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman four-star offensive lineman Alai Kalaniuvalu, Homestead (Fla.) four-star wide receiver Cortez Mills and Saraland (Ala.) four-star wide receiver Dillon Alfred.

Local targets Omaha (Neb.) Westside four-star linebacker Christian Jones and Millard (Neb.) South four-star tight end Chase Loftin will also be making the short drive down from the Omaha area for Saturday’s game, and Nebraska is battling national programs to keep the two home. Lots of eyes will be on freshman quarterback Dylan Raiola and Nebraska’s offense. If the Huskers can show noticeable offensive improvement, paired with an energetic Memorial Stadium atmosphere and an event-filled weekend in Lincoln, it could have a lasting impact on some of their must-get targets in 2025.

Smith: FACT. This weekend has a the potential to be a huge opportunity for Nebraska. The program recruits nationally so any opportunity to get players on campus from outside the region for a visit weekend is key. This time around Nebraska will host its top quarterback target (TJ Lateef), top wide receiver target (Cortez Mills), top tight end target (Chase Loftin) and top defensive target (Christian Jones).

Even though Loftin and Jones are from nearby Omaha, the team is locked in a major battle for both. Getting those key targets and many more all around each other to see the new look team under coach Matt Rhule will bring a lot of excitement.

We should look back on this weekend as when the ball got rolling for the class.

MORE: Nebraska's 2025 commitment list

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3. Tavien St. Clair is firmly in the five-star discussion after his performance at the Elite 11 Columbus event.

Friedman: FACT. There's a reason Tavien St. Clair was ranked so highly prior to the offseason camp season and now that we have seen him and verified what we've seen on tape, St. Clair is very much in the five-star conversation heading into the post spring rankings update. The 6-foot-4, 228-pound Ohio State quarterback commit has now shown off the outstanding arm strength, mechanics, accuracy and everything that we believe makes his ceiling so high as a prospect.

Watching him continue to progress throughout this offseason and into the fall will be key as we determine whether or not St. Clair should be elevated to five-star status. He certainly brings a solid foundation to the field but what can make him even more special is the athleticism he has as a prospect. On film he's able to evade pressure and pick up yards with his feet as well as throwing the ball around the field for big plays.

Smith: FACT. St. Clair had the most buzz around him coming into the event and that noise only grew stronger after seeing him in person. The Ohio State commit looks great walking around with a terrific frame. It was notable to me that Air Noland and Devin Brown were both in attendance yet St. Clair looked the most college ready of the bunch.

He throws a great football with accuracy and plenty of arm strength without forcing it or overthrowing. His ability to throw on the run is a very underrated aspect of his game. He’s a better athlete than you realize. There is so much to like about St. Clair. If he continues on this track, it might get hard to deny that fifth star.

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