This is the time of year for it, so you might as well expect it.
Commits you thought were in the bag, suddenly aren't.
You start to hear those mumblings of kids taking super secret official visits, so not to draw attention to a wavering mind.
Nebraska commit Tevin MItchel did that when he went to visit Arkansas. It wasn't exactly a super secret visit, but as I have come to know at least a little bit about Husker Head Coach Bo Pelini, if a kid who is committed takes more visits after said commitment, Mr. Pelini isn't going to be all that chipper.
I seem to recall him saying after a practice last year when he was approached about the hypothetical situation of a commit to Nebraska continuing to visit other schools. Paraphrasing a bit, he said that any commit who is still looking around, isn't much of a commit, thus Nebraska might not be that committed to them.
Hard to say if that's the end-all to the Mitchel drama, but it's probably a good indication that Nebraska fans might not want to count that one as "N" until Signing Day actually arrives.
We now add another log to the recruiting fire in the form of Chaffey JC safety, Daimion Stafford. He's one of the most sought after secondary players from the junior college ranks, and he pledged to the Huskers all the way back in May. But when you are looking at a 6-0, 210 lbs. safety that runs in the 4.4 to 4.5 range, you can figure that while he had made up his mind before Summer even arrived, other schools recruiting him wouldn't stop until signing day, which happens in the first week of February, had come and gone.
Now, New Mexico and New Mexico State, two of the other many offers Stafford had, aren't going to bother Husker fans all that much. But USC...now that's a different story. It's no secret that the defense of the Trojans was decimated by either the draft or graduation. For them it's usually both. It's also no secret that their secondary is in woeful shape right now.
I remember an interview done with USC Head Coach Lane Kiffen right before they were set to play the Huskies which Nebraska thumped earlier that season to the tune of a 56-21 final.
|Kiffin says his defense doesn't have enough talent|
The reporter asked if there was something he (Kiffen) saw in that tape that Nebraska did that he could use in their game against Washington that upcoming weekend. Kiffen basically said that if you have a secondary entirely comprised of guys who can run around a 4.4, you can do a lot of things. And he said that at this point USC wasn't capable of doing that.
Tell me you ever thought you would hear those words. USC not able to do something due to a lack of talent?
To make matters worse, the Trojans have found themselves "settling" for some players who aren't ranked in the top 20 at their position. It wasn't that long ago you would be hard pressed to find a commit to USC who was ranked out of the top 10. And then there is the JUCO route, which USC never really went to unless it was a stud like they got in "Deuce" Latui a few years back. Now they are going into those ranks like crazy.
Which brings us to Stafford.
Earlier today there was a bit of fervor over the fact that Stafford suddenly went from being a Husker commit to now being a future Trojan. There was no story, and there were no quotes. But it was being listed as a done deal not just on Scout, but on Rivals, too.
And to make matters more interesting, a teammate of his, linebacker Dallas Kelley, had pulled the trigger for USC, as well.
A package deal?
Hard to say, but it wouldn't be the first time I have seen it, and it certainly won't be the last.
Again, this is the year for this stuff to take place.
Well, USC may not be the superpower it was just a couple of years ago, but it's still USC. And back to one of my original points, it's not like USC doesn't need talent on the defensive side. Anyone who has seen them play can see that.
So, it was a bit of a shock when I first read the panicked posts on our premium message board. But not really.
So yeah, we followed it up, and it didn't take long before one of our own, Kevin Seely, touched base with Stafford just to see what this whole switcheroo was all about.
His response was simple. "I'm committed to Nebraska, whoever said different is a fool," Stafford said.
So, there ya' go, that's it, done dealing and all that.
Well, yeah, I suppose you could say that. But I would also say that as a little footnote to yourself, throw on "for now." After all, this is recruiting, and schools don't stop going after kids just because they chose another school before them. They just go after them a little harder.
And with the USC offer in hand and Stafford being on the west coast, you can probably expect that Kelley was just the tip of the recruiting iceberg at Chaffey. Remember, there is also Joe Carter, a defensive end who goes there, and he is currently a commit to Arizona. Nebraska is still going after him, so can you assume that USC isn't?
Recruiting is about need, and it's hard to argue with the fact that USC needs as many good defensive players as they can get. But Nebraska isn't exactly loaded there either. They will lose after this year, their entire starting secondary outside of junior Alfonzo Dennard.
So, it's not like they are drowning in experienced talent coming back, either.
Let's face it, they both need someone like Stafford.
For now, though, Stafford says he's a Husker, and we'll go with that, but with the clear idea that this is recruiting and we happen to be approaching the one-month countdown to signing day. That's when it's going to get interesting, perhaps far too interesting for anyone's liking.
For once, it's USC hoping to grab a few on the home stretch rather their usual mind-set of trying to keep every five star they have already gotten. And for Nebraska, it's a matter of finding a guy who has the ability and mentality to come in and fill some big shoes.
This drama isn't done. I can tell you that. Even if Stafford never changes his mind and does ultimately end up a Cornhusker, I have a feeling there will come another time when he's going to have to once again tell everyone who cares to listen that he's not going anywhere, and whoever said it was a fool.
His words, not mine.