Munson's Thoughts: Big week for NU

Free: What a difference a week makes. Last week, the Huskers seemed stuck on their second commitment with not a lot of new offers trickling out following summer camp. That was until a summer camper did pick up an offer and two other players, who have visited Nebraska multiple times decided that it was their turn to add their names to the list.

This year is not going to be a big quantity year for Nebraska in terms of commitments.  Yes, last year's class wasn't large by any means, just 18 commitments, but this year's should be even smaller.

Try 15…and possibly less than that too.  By simply counting seniors that should be on scholarship from the roster I can't get past 13.  So call it 13-15 this year.

While this year isn't going to be a big quantity year when it comes to the recruiting class that means that Nebraska can't afford the misses that a typical recruiting class brings.  With that standard 10-15% number of players, or maybe even more, that don't pan out traditionally Nebraska needs to limit their mistakes.

Rose was the first to pull the trigger
Maybe that's why the class stalled from basically July, 2010 when Michael Rose committed until May, 2011 when Jordan Westerkamp committed.  Still, the Nebraska staff was busy on the recruiting trail during the evaluation period and well over 100 offers have been extended.

But, the Nebraska recruiting class has grown by 150% between Monday to Friday.  There still is a chance that players like Mike Shoff and Jake Schany get an offer.  There still might even be a chance with Drew Ott.

The fact of the matter is there wasn't a clear player in the state that was going to get an offer coming into their senior year.  All of the aforementioned players had to come to camp and perform.  More than that, they had to compete with and against one another to try and earn that offer.

You have to consider the lack of those players in the state that aren't getting an offer is keeping the number of commitments down as well.  I mean, last year commitments #1 (Reeves), #7 (Daniel Davie) and #9 (Zach Sterup) all committed by the end of June.

That is, a third of the class at that point by June 22nd last year was from in-state.  This year?  A third of the class at that point by June 20th was from in-state…just different quantities.  Which brings me to…

Small class

As mentioned before, this class could be anywhere from 13 to 15 players is all.  Last year Nebraska took 18 players.  The class will take anywhere between a 20-25% reduction in size from last year to this year.

So, when you look at it that way it's still out of skew, but not as bad.  Sterup was the last commitment in June which left last year's class at nine at that point.  Nebraska is at 5 right now.  That is a difference of closer to 45%, but it helps to understand where the numbers are at in terms of the overall goal.

That overall number might keep any other player from in-state from getting an offer this year.  To some that is a bit of a tragedy.  To others the staff must go out and get the best talent that is available and try to limit offers to anyone that might be considered a stretch at this point.

It's early and it's never over

It's not even July 4th folks.  That means that there is about six to seven months left of recruiting before these players sign on the dotted line if you can believe that.  A lot can happen.  There could be more Ohio State type situations that occur.  There will be head coaching changes and under performing teams this year.  There will also be the over achievers that will get recruits to look at them too.

The one thing that I have noticed so far this year is the early commitments to a school that say that they are still going to take trips.  Yes, I have heard Greg McMullen talk about taking a trip to see a place, but we are talking about recruits that are still talking about Nebraska that are committed to other schools.

ASU commmitment Kenny Lawler is still high on Nebraska
A player like Kenny Lawler, who is committed to Arizona State, came to Nebraska this summer for camp and it's clear that Nebraska is very much in the running for him.  I also wouldn't be surprised to see other players, like a Donavin Newsom perhaps, who are committed to another school right now come to visit Nebraska this fall.  There is also a chance that Nebraska will get an official visit from Dinero Moss.

Look at what happened just last year.  Nebraska got players like Taariq Allen and Joe Carter to eventually switch their commitments and come to Nebraska.  Look at USC's class this year, particularly their three wide receiver commitments, and each of them is talking about taking official visits to other schools right now.  Things are going to change across the recruiting landscape as the season goes; don't kid yourself.

There is no rhyme or reason

And here's the bottom line.  Whatever factor you think might be playing into something in recruiting may or may not actually be the reason at any given time.  Nebraska is a team that has started hot, started cold, finished hot or finished cold when it comes to recruiting and it's happened when they have taken big classes and average sized classes.

The biggest key, from my analysis, still lies with the amount of in-state players that get offers.  In those years where they are multiple in-state commitments they tend to be early, or before July, and my thought is that if either Shoff or Schany got a Nebraska offer that either one would be in the class currently.

Let's take a look at some numbers.  Over the past nine seasons, Nebraska has signed 212 players for an average class size of 23.5.  Compare that number to the 13-15 that I mentioned previously for the guesstimate for this year's class and you get some idea how small the class is in comparison, but let's dive more.

Of those 212 players that eventually signed with Nebraska there were 46 of the total that were committed, according to our records, before July 1 of their final season at either high school or junior college before signing with Nebraska (meaning, they had one more fall of eligibility at their current level and then signed with Nebraska).  That is an average of 5.1 players per year committed to Nebraska before July 1.

If you look at that percentage right there, when it comes to a class being filled up by July 1, Nebraska might be as high as 38% full (if they are taking 13 commits) and as low as 33% full (if they are taking 15 commits).  On average, by July 1, Nebraska is typically only 22% full of their total.

Let's look at in-state players now.  Nebraska has taken 35 players from in-state over nine seasons giving you an average of 3.8 per year.  Out of those 35 players, 22 of them have committed by July 1 in their respective year or on average 2.4 of the 5.1 were from in-state.

Nebraska is a little behind this year when it comes to hitting that percentage, but what I thought was interesting was there was a full player difference on average between the total that is committed to Nebraska by July 1 and the total that eventually signs with Nebraska.  That tells you that Nebraska continues to evaluate as the season goes on.

However, it must be said that some of the later commitments from in-state included players like Ben Martin, Tierre Green, Corey Young, etc.  These are players that not only didn't pan out in the long run, but also for the most part bounced around from position to position while they were in Lincoln at all.

Players like Niles Paul, Zach Potter, Jared Crick, Baker Steinkuhler, Ty Steinkuhler, etc. were usually some of the first, if not the first, commitments in their class.  They were sure-fire offers that were typically holding a number of other offers by the time they committed to Nebraska.

So have patience everyone.  As far as the projected total goes for this year's class, Nebraska is ahead of schedule.  Also, when you think that the recruiting board has dried up consider those players that will be affected by change because a position coach or head coach leaves a school or is fired.  Or, Nebraska just talks them into giving a look.  Recruiting is always fluid and that is what you need to remember.

Bryan Munson has worked with Big Red Report for nine years, covering recruiting and football. His work can also be seen in's SuperPrep Magazine.
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