Expectations met and exceeded for Byrd

It's becoming less and less the number of recruits who have yet to make their college decision. But it doesn't mean the quality of those players who are still waiting it out, has gone down as well. Wide receiver Laron Byrd is one who will make his decision very soon, but he just made one trip to Nebraska and has one more to go. Then,, he said, he'll know where he wants to be.

Going into the official visit to Nebraska , I doubt many Husker fans at least, looked at Byrd as anything more than a pipe dream. He was not only a southern kid, growing up in Butte , Louisiana ,, but he grew up watching a different team.

Miami , actually, and since he was a kid the Hurricanes have always been on his mind. "I grew up watching them and players like Andre Johnson. They were definitely my favorite team," Byrd said. "But college choices aren't made on who you were a fan of when you grew up.. They are made on which school I think fits me best."

Byrd is approaching all this recruiting as objectively as he can, but it's not that easy to discount how much of an impact a team has if it was the one you grew up watching.

And for any other team out there, Miami 's recent pledge of a full ride to Byrd, should have seemingly sealed the deal. But Byrd has been taking his visits, and his latest official was to a place that from a climate standpoint, isn't anything like he has lived in or would live in if he headed to South Beach to be part of the "U."

"Yeah, it was colder than I am used to. It was kind of funny, because my player/host was Terrence Moore, and he's from around this area," Byrd said of the redshirt freshman defensive tackle, who hails from the most southern part of the Bayou-State. "And he had on a t-shirt, and he said that it was actually pretty nice compared to how it's been the last week."

Despite the unfamiliarity with the climate, Byrd took some comfort in touring the campus with a fellow native of his home-state, but the surprises didn't stop with the weather.

It's probably impossible to know exactly what every young person visiting Nebraska for the first time, is going to expect to see. You usually hear cornfields in there, somewhere. Laron actually wasn't expecting that, but he was also not expecting what he did see. "It went well beyond my expectations, I can tell you that. I just wasn't expecting what I saw," he said. "The facilities were unbelievable, their graduation rate is over 90 percent and when it comes to the fans, everyone follows the football team, because that's all there is. I mean, that's it. They don't have any pro teams or anything else. It's all about the Huskers."

Byrd likes to consider his entire approach to recruiting very logical and detailed to the nth degree. He and his mom sat down one day, put a list together, and every school he was interested in, he'd go down the list to see just how they did.

Laron didn't cite the exact results of how Nebraska finished on his check-off list, but he voiced his pleasure with his two-day experience in Lincoln . "It was excellent. When you look at the offense and the way they used Maurice Purify last year, they know how to get the receivers the ball," Byrd said. "And the offense is explosive and really diverse. Then there's Nebraska itself, and back in the day, they were a big-time college football powerhouse, and that's where they are trying to get to again.

"I got to meet all the coaches, I think, including head coach Bo Pelini, his brother Carl and coach Gilmore and the offensive coordinator coach Watson. It was great, and coach (Bo) Pelini is just a great coach. You can tell he is going to do really well at Nebraska ."

You can throw assistant coach John Papuchis on that list, one of Byrd's primary recruiters, and Byrd, like most, just refers to him as "Coach J.P."

It should be noted that we weren't able to catch up to Laron until just yesterday, which makes it a couple of days after the visit. That's actually not such a bad thing, because there's a certain emotional high kids get from these official visits, where they come out of the experience charged up and sounding like they are going to commit the next day.

Laron has had a couple of days to think about it, and while he was never a candidate for that impromptu-type of pledge, he said in regard to the Huskers, where they were going into the trip and where they are at coming out, is a lot different place. "There was nothing negative about that experience, because it met and passed any expectation I had," Byrd said. "The cold was one thing, but that' something a person would just have to get used to.

"It was funny, because one of the first things I did when I saw the snow, was pick up a couple of snowballs and threw them at Terrence. That was fun.

"Now, it's just a matter of me taking my visit to Miami , coming back home and sitting down with my mom and doing a complete overview of all the teams on my list. I figure by Monday I should know, but Tuesday I'll know, definitely."

Laron will visit Miami this weekend, and of his final list, it's the Canes, the Huskers, Tulane , Mississippi State and Auburn . All have offered.


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