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An updated look at Nevada football's recruiting class after Jay Norvell's exit

Nevada football
We will track the Nevada football team's 2022 recruiting class here. (NSN file)

The Nevada football team is in the process of buildings its 2022 recruiting class. We will track all of the Wolf Pack's verbal commitments here until national signing day in December. Verbal commitments aren't binding until athletes sign an official letter of intent.

Zenin Rudnick

Committed: Oct. 17

Position: Offensive line

Height/weight: 6-3/324

Hometown: San Antonio, Texas

High school: Reagan

In short: Rudnick is listed as an unrated prospect by 247Sports with Nevada being his only FBS scholarship offer. He also drew interest and/or offers from Angelo State, University of San Diego, Texas Permian Basin, Saint Anselm and Incarnate Word. Rudnick attended the Wolf Pack's June football camp and did enough to get a scholarship offer from Nevada. Rudnick has the body of a college guard, and at 324 pounds he has good strength. His high school plays in Texas Division 6A, the largest classification in the state. Reagan High is ranked No. 180 in Texas in the MaxPreps rankings. Rudnick was recently invited to the San Antonio Sports All-Star Game. Rudnick and Karas were the first offensive line commits in the 2022 class.

Ike Nnakenyi

Committed: Aug. 6

Position: Defensive end

Height/weight: 6-3/220

Hometown: Las Vegas

High school: Coronado

In short: Despite being a three-star recruit, Nnakenyi could end up being an under-the-radar prospect because he didn't play football his junior season as Clark County was never cleared to play at the high school level last season due to the pandemic (Northern Nevada played a truncated season). As a sophomore on the varsity team, Nnakenyi had 42 tackles, three sacks, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble in 11 games. At 6-foot-3, Nnakenyi has a nice frame for a defensive end and should grow well beyond his current 220 pounds in the Wolf Pack strength program. Nevada will lose a number of talented defensive linemen after this season (all four starters are seniors) and need to stock this position in the 2022 class. Nnakenyi also held offers from Colorado State and UNLV, so the Wolf Pack nabbed a talented prospect from Rebel territory. Nnakenyi took two officials visits, to Nevada and Colorado State, and was offered a scholarship by the Wolf Pack last April (his official visit was in early June).

Stone Combs

Committed: June 30

Position: Linebacker

Height/weight: 6-2/190

Hometown: Park City, Utah

High school: Park City

In short: Combs is a deep cut as he doesn't have a recruiting profile on 247Sports, Rivals or ESPN. Combs also had offers from Air Force and Army before committing to Nevada, where he'll play linebacker (most likely inside linebacker). Combs has a good frame and also plays lacrosse and wrestles. In fact, he was a high school All-American in wrestling, so there's no doubt about his toughness and physicality. During his junior season, Combs had 103 tackles, including 10 for loss, with three sacks and two fumble recoveries. During his two varsity seasons, Combs has 176 tackles in 24 games. Nevada will hope it found a diamond in the rough in Combs, who wasn't highly recruited but has been productive and has had success in multiple contact sports.

Christopher Smalley

Committed: June 24

Position: Linebacker/defensive end

Height/weight: 6-5/190

Hometown: Minden

High school: Douglas

In short: Smalley is a high-potential defender from small-town Minden where he stars for Douglas High. He has excellent bloodlines as his father played football for UCLA and with the Jacksonville Jaguars and his sister is a Division I soccer player. Smalley has a projectable frame and could end up at outside linebacker, or more likely defensive end. He'll have to put on some weight and strength, but Smalley has a high ceiling and is one of the rare locals who has opted to stay home over other offers. A three-star recruit per 247Sports, Smalley also had scholarship offers from San Diego State, Fresno State, Air Force, Army and Yale. During his sophomore and junior seasons, Smalley tallied 102 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks in 15 games. He scored five touchdowns on offense as a junior. He joins Drew Scolari as the only local high school player to commit to Nevada as a scholarship athlete out of high school under Jay Norvell.

Kendall Williams

Committed: June 12

Position: Defensive tackle

Height/weight: 6-4/285

Hometown: San Diego

High school: Lincoln

In short: Williams is a two-star recruit, per, who also held offers from Idaho and Morgan State, two FCS programs, so Nevada is hoping it has found an under-recruited gem out of San Diego. He was offered a scholarship by Nevada on June 9, took an official visit that weekend and committed on the spot, so his process played out quickly. Williams has an excellent frame at 6-foot-4 with 285 pounds already on his body. He's been on his high school varsity team since his freshman season after starting his career at San Diego High (his MaxPreps stats page isn't full updated; he's listed as having 18 tackles and one sack in 11 games over three years). The Wolf Pack has eight seniors, including all four of its starters, on its defensive line for the 2021 season, so this is a big area of need in the 2022 recruiting class. Williams has played both ways in high school.

KeeKee McQueen

Committed: June 10

Position: Cornerback

Height/weight: 5-10/170

Hometown: Spanaway, Wash.

High school: Spanaway Lake

In short: McQueen is listed as a three-star recruit by who also had scholarship offers from Utah State, UNLV and Eastern Washington. McQueen took an official visit to Nevada the weekend of June 4 and committed to the Wolf Pack a few days later. McQueen, the No. 20 prospect in Washington, will be a four-year varsity player. As a freshman, he had 64 tackles, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. As a sophomore, he had 41 tackles. And during last year's COVID-19-shortened season, he had 25 tackles and one interception in six games. In his prep career, McQueen has 130 tackles, four tackles for loss, three interceptions and three forced fumbles on defense while adding 152 rushing yards (48 attempts) and 205 receiving yards (23 catches) while scoring four touchdowns, all coming last season. While not possessing big size, McQueen fits the mold of the kind of cornerback Nevada has recruited under Jay Norvell, which emphasizes speed and toughness over height. Also a track star, McQueen said he isn't planning on taking any more official visits and is locked in with Nevada.

"The biggest reason I picked Nevada is because I felt like it was a perfect fit for me and I got such a good feeling about everything there and could really picture myself playing ball for them," McQueen told 247Sports. "I was the top recruit there and I felt the most wanted by the coaches there and I think that plays a big role in making your decision. I knew it was the place for me when I met the rest of the coaches and felt that at-home type of feeling with every single one of them. The coaches were very honest with me about everything, and I talked to and met a lot of the players on the team and the main thing that they all mentioned is how everyone is treated like family and how it’s a brotherhood. I felt and witnessed that while being around everyone and hanging with the team, and that’s a big thing for me."

The Wolf Pack has recruited the Pacific Northwest more actively in recent seasons, with running backs coach Vai Taua focusing on that area. McQueen is the latest player the Wolf Pack has pulled out of Washington. One of his lead recruiters was first-year defensive backs coach Riccardo Stewart.


* CB Cameron Sampson (committed June 28; decommitted July 30)

* DE Malaki Ta’ase (committed Nov. 17; decommitted Dec. 8)

* TE Jacob Newell (committed Aug. 25; decommitted Nov. 8)

* CB Eric Butler II (committed July 1; decommitted Oct. 17)

* QB Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi (committed June 17; decommitted Dec. 7)

* DB Corey Lambert Jr. (committed Sept. 18; decommitted Dec. 8)

* WR Justus Ross-Simmons (committed Sept. 12; decommitted Dec. 9)

* OL Aaron Karas (committed Oct. 19: decommitted Dec. 10)

* WR Louis Brown (committed Oct. 11; decommitted Dec. 14)

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