Iowa linebacker Seth Malcom pulled the trigger on Saturday night and announced his commitment to the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team via Twitter. He picked the Huskers over five other teams who had given him official scholarship offers. Among those teams was his home state’s Iowa State Cyclones.
Malcom is rated as a three-star prospect, according to 247Sports‘ composite rankings, and is the 17th best player in Iowa for the 2021 high school class. While the player is listed as an outside linebacker for Football Bowl Subdivision schools, he spent time on both sides of the ball for his high school, Fremont Mills. He isn’t among the highest-ranked players in the country, rating as only the 78th best outside linebacker in his class, but he has gotten more attention in the last few months from Power 5 programs.
In addition to Nebraska and Iowa State, Malcom also had scholarship offers from Minnesota and Kansas State. Boise State and Wyoming also came calling, with the Broncos being the last team to make an offer to the linebacker before he committed to the Huskers.
— Seth Malcom (@SMalcom8) June 6, 2020
Nebraska and both Iowa schools have had some big recruiting battles for area players over the last few years. The recruiting rivalries have ratcheted up a notch since Nebraska named Scott Frost as its head coach after the 2017 season. The rivalries have even extended to players that don’t hail from either state. Earlier this summer, the Cyclones won a recruiting battle with the Huskers for wide receiver prospect Jaylin Noel.
The FBS level of attention on Malcom is a little unheard of, considering the linebacker plays on a school so small it engages in eight-player football. At the high school level, some programs have so few students they would be hard-pressed to field a roster large enough to sustain 11 starters on both offense and defense. Special rules allow these teams to have just eight starters on both sides of the ball.
Matthew Bain of the Des Moines Register reported last month on just how much Malcom stood out at that level, pointing to two games from October 2019. On October 11, Malcom rushed 35 times for 458 yards and eight touchdowns, also notching eight tackles and an interception on defense. In the previous game, he ran for 336 yards and six touchdowns on 30 carries. On the defensive side of the ball, he logged 15 tackles, five solo tackles for loss, and returned an interception for a touchdown.
It is unusual for eight-player football players to land scholarship offers from FBS schools, but it does happen on occasion, especially around Iowa and Nebraska. The Iowa Hawkeyes had three former eight-player alumni on its defensive front in Nate Bazata, Drew Ott, and Nate Meier during the 2015 season.