Sting Factor: Malachi Coleman backs off pledge to Nebraska


When a major program loses a key recruit, takes a look at how big of a blow it is to the respective school, analyzing it from a local and national level. To quantify the “sting” of each decommitment, we assign a score from one to 10, with one being no big deal and 10 being a catastrophic hit.


RELATED VIDEO: Coleman discusses future after decommitment


TRANSFER PORTAL: Latest news | Message board | Transfer ranking | Transfer Tracker

CLASS OF 2023 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State

CLASS OF 2024 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State

CLASS OF 2025 RANKINGS: Rivals100



Malachi Coleman had made some early-season visits to Nebraska and that was a positive sign for the Huskers. But then coach Scott Frost was fired.

Still, the high four-star athlete from Lincoln (Neb.) East kept showing up, even with the Huskers playing poorly. He kept showing real interest in the program and in interim coach Mickey Joseph, and by late October, Coleman committed to the school down the road.

As the season dragged on in Lincoln, Coleman stuck with his commitment, but when Joseph was not retained as the full-time coach (and then shockingly arrested after allegedly pushing and strangling a woman) and as Matt Rhule got the job, the No. 1 player in the state backed off his pledge.

Nebraska remains a key player in his recruitment and as Coleman gets to know Rhule and the new coaching staff in Lincoln. The Huskers could be back in the mix, but the high four-star prospect has pushed the reset button on his recruitment and now it could go in any number of ways.



Nebraska was bound to lose some commitments after Rhule was hired. The team had done surprisingly well keeping commits in the fold under Joseph.

There was no bigger commit in the 2023 class than Coleman, a Rivals100 four-star athlete. The Lincoln East standout is in the discussion for the best overall athlete in the nation and on the cusp of five-star status. Yet his close relationship with Joseph meant that if he did not get the full-time job his commitment would be on shaky ground.

It is hard to minimize the impact of losing Coleman from the class. He was the highest-rated prospect by far. Coleman is also a Lincoln native and prospects like that don’t come around often in the state. As Rhule tries to get the program off the ground in Lincoln it would have been nice to start with a potential building block like Coleman. Rhule and company will certainly try to build a relationship with Coleman and his family but it will be tough. – Greg Smith,

Sting Factor: 10




What was surprising about Coleman’s decision is that during the deepest, darkest times of this season he was showing up in Lincoln, taking in games and then committed when the team was 3-4. Nebraska finished 4-8 and yet Coleman stuck with his decision. If Joseph was that important to the Lincoln East standout then it’s going to be really difficult to get Coleman back because after Joseph’s arrest he won’t be back on the Nebraska staff. But Rhule is a convincing guy, and he absolutely should make getting Coleman back in the fold a priority. And while every team in the country is going to make a run at Coleman, I’m still not counting the new Huskers’ staff out from getting him back in the class. – Adam Gorney, Rivals national recruiting director

Sting Factor: 9

Leave a Reply