Lincoln, NE – The Nebraska basketball team actually has more official visitors coming into Saturday's football game against UTC, but there will be a handful of high school football recruits on hand to watch the Huskers.
Included in this list is committed linebacker Deion Jones. The Louisiana product is taking his first visit to Lincoln, in the form of an official one.
It's not surprising to see many guys not coming in during week one. Often teams save official visits until the conference season or bigger non-conference games. With only six committed players to their name right now, Nebraska will have a busy couple of weeks later in the year.
"I don't know if we would portray it as 'happy,' but we are not disappointed either. We are right on track on where we thought we would be recruiting wise," said Nebraska recruiting coordinator John Papuchis. "Right now it's a very football driven time, but you have to stay on recruiting. We have such a tremendous support staff, they pick up the slack in areas that I can't get to. They do a tremendous job."
In the middle of June, Husker fans were starting to get restless with the Nebraska commitment list. At the time, it only featured two players. Fans knew the 2012 class would be small (15 to 17 players), but wanted to see more.
Their desires and mumbles quickly went silent, as in a matter of a week Nebraska picked up three commitments, two from 4-star players.
Now early September, fans are once again getting anxious for the Husker's next commitment – as other teams around the Big Ten fill up.
"We have a very stringent evaluation process, a lot of the guys we are recruiting are from a distance," said Papuchis. "A lot of times it takes until the official visit process to get them on campus. In today's economic times, it's difficult to get guys to take unofficial visits financially. We have to wait until we can flip the bill.
"We know at certain positions we can't take as many guys as we have in the past. So at certain positions, I guess you could say we have been more stringent, but we have always been very selective with recruiting classes in the past. But when you are going to only take one guy at a position, you are not going to offer guys at a position you don't want to take immediately. You have to offer guys you really want."
Tomorrow will not only be Nebraska's first game as a member of the Big Ten conference, but also Papuchis' first game as recruiting coordinator. Something he says won't affect his tasks as the Husker's defensive line coach/special teams coordinator.
"It shouldn't change very much. We have such a great administration recruiting staff here. When it comes to game day visit, they sort of take it by the horns and run with it," said Papuchis, who knows a new set of eyes will begin to start to watch the Huskers tomorrow.
"Obviously when you are in the Big 12, you have all these schools in the Midwest, really focusing on our product. As we go into the Big Ten, there are a lot more schools in the Northeast part of the country that are focusing on what you are doing. So you have to make sure you are targeting the right audience.
"Nebraska has always had a national brand. I think our transition to the Big Ten will probably be easier than other teams to a new conference, just because we have a national name. We are marketing off that national brand that we have always had."