Husker recruit Lambert, blowing up

It wasn't that long ago and Quanzell Lambert was getting a fair bit of interest. That has since exploded to the point he's become one of the hotter linebackers in the entire Northeast. The Huskers were in on him fairly early, but now the playing field is considerably more crowded.

When Nebraska offered New Jersey linebacker, Quanzell Lambert, they were number four, the first offer coming from the in-state team, Rutgers.

Add a few more to that since then.

"I think the most recent is Virginia, but I also got one from Stanford. I think that puts me around 14 offers, said the 6-2, 230 pound LB.

The burst in attention has caught Lambert a bit off guard, because for him it's come out of the blue. "It's like it just started really blowing up. It was kind of shocking when it was all happening," he said. "But it's a blessing, and it doesn't make me look at recruiting any different. I just now have more schools to look at."

That's going to be a process in and of itself. The internet is every recruit's best friend, as it is the most efficient and cheapest way to check schools out to see what they do, where they are and what their programs are all about. For now and for the foreseeable future, Lambert figures that getting out to see many schools, whether it's for camps, unofficial visits or what not - probably isn't realistic. "I don't have any plans right now. I would like to get out and see some places like Nebraska. But right now there is nothing planned," he said.

The Huskers will be heading to Big Ten play for the first year this season. And one of the biggest topics of conversation in regard to the differences from that conference to the Big 12, Nebraska's current stomping grounds, is the lack of the sheer number of spread offenses that Nebraska has gotten used to, and defensively, planned around for the last few years.

Nebraska found itself in a nickel package on defense much of the time, even dime other times, but it was almost uncommon to see them in a traditional 4-3. That meant you would often see two linebackers or even one, which meant big tackle numbers for whoever was on the field. That proved to be the case for linebacker Lavonte David, who in just his first year broke the single-season record for tackles in a season at Nebraska.

With the Big Ten being decidedly more conventional in how many offenses Nebraska is likely to see which actually use two tight ends, run out of the I-formation and just try to cram the ball down a team's throat, the Big Red could be taking a big step back in time.

Lambert sees that, but his thought on all that is that the numbers are nice for a linebacker if they are the only one on the field. His own concern, though, is making the plays. "Numbers are just numbers. You can put up a lot, but if your team doesn't win or if the other team is still scoring, it's not going to do anyone much good," he said. "I like the opportunity to make plays. If the numbers come with it, great. But if they don't, as long as I did my job, that's what counts."

Lambert has a level-headed approach for someone who takes pride in hitting, but takes more pride in making sure the person getting hit doesn't get by them. It's a common question I often ask of defenders, because the responses are varied and sometimes quite entertaining.

The question is this: If you see a ball carrier in the open field who doesn't see you coming, what is the first thing that goes through your mind?

Many recruits start foaming at the mouth when they hear something like that. This is the dream shot they want, the "woo-hit" they want to deliver, ala Ronnie Lott fame. Someone is getting laid out right about now. It's just a matter of how long it will take them to get back up.

Lambert, again, thinks that's nice, but he's got something more important in mind. "I'm going to make the tackle. I don't want to be that guy who goes in for that hit and comes up with nothing but air, because he wasn't looking where he was going," Lambert said with a laugh. "Nobody wants to be that guy."

Nebraska obviously got in on Lambert early, but the Huskers have since lost linebacker coach Mike Ekeler to a promotion as he is the new Co-D.C. at the University of Indiana. For Lambert, and most recruits at this point of the year, that's not going to be that big of a deal. Most have never met any of the coaches who are actually recruiting them anyway. But he did add that the relationship with his future coach, whoever that is going to be, is close to the top of his list of his criteria. "Academics are at the top as well as it just being like a family atmosphere. But the relationship with my position coach is big," he said. "I might not be going to school all that close to home, so trusting those people I am dealing with really matters. You have to be able to trust people who you will depend on to an extent for your college career."

Lambert says there are no favorites. And he adds that more offers are nice, but at this point he isn't going to worry about it if they don't come. "I'm already blessed. I have all these offers from all these schools, and if recruiting stopped right now I would have a hard choice to make," he said. "But again, it's a blessing to have that kind of choice in life, to pick where you want to go to college. And it's too big of a choice to just start picking one school out of the bunch.

"It will take time, but that's OK. I am not in a hurry. Making the right choice is better than making a quick one."


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