Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!!!!!!!!!!! "We're not getting any commits. The coaches suck. What's going on?????"
Before a couple of days ago, that was going through everyone's mind, especially after looking at the Texas Longhorns' 432 commits.......that's approximate of course.
One commit and a cloud of dust, right? A cloud of dust is right after the last two days, because it wasn't one, two, three or even four, but five commits, bam, bam, bam and before you know it, everyone is as happy as can be, lauding the very same coaches they were lambasting just a few days before.
Ok, that's not quite the case either. Actually, they were still all over the coaches because NU was getting a lot of commits, but fans just don't like it when they have to go, ‘who?'.
Nathan Swift ...........who? Andrew Christensen ...........who? Allan Evridge..........who? Ty Steinkuhler ...........ok, that last name is familiar enough, but.............who? WE WANT NAMES, DARNIT!!!!!!!!! WE WANT THE NUMBER ONE, TWO AND THREE RANKED PLAYERS IN THE COUNTRY!!
There's just no pleasing anyone, is there?
Let's take a rundown of who Nebraska has gotten since the committing began.
Nathan Swift (WR) - An unsung WR candidate out of Minnesota that has solid numbers on the field and decent numbers in the weight room. What's interesting about this commit is that NU was his only offer. NU has always had the reputation of getting those that others just can't find or appreciate and it seems that this new staff could be trying to make an impression on being able to do the same thing, hoping for comparable results.
What is even more interesting about this isn't just the pledge of Swift, but of a couple of his teammates, both who appear to have NU eyes focused squarely on them, QB - Tony Mortenson and current Gopher commit, Lydon Murtha . Now, Tony has been getting more and more attention as has his already committed cohort, Murtha and it never hurts getting a teammate of one to help in luring others. Now, I am sure that NU got Swift, because they wanted him, but wouldn't it be a nice bonus for Nebraska if they could pick up either or both of the other Hutchinson standouts as well? Hmmmmmmmmm........
Following Swift came a bevy, a flurry and darn near a plethora of commits, one seemingly right after the other. In no particular order, this is how the last two days have panned out for Nebraska.
Ty Steinkuhler (RE) - If you are any sort of Nebraska fan, the last name brings thoughts of domination at the line instantly to mind. Dean Steinkuhler remains one of the most dominant college football linemen in history, shared by his even more well-known teammate, Dave Rimington. It's darn near funny when someone hears the last name, Steinkuhler and anyone says ‘who?', but that's just what happened when news broke on Ty. Rumor has it he was actually the third ranked player for the Huskers right behind Cortney Grixby and Brandon Gunn respectively, so maybe it's just a bad case of the fans having to play catch-up to coaches that knew what was going on way before them. Now, that would be interesting, eh? I thought fans knew everything.
Ty's presence isn't just the addition of a player the school wanted, but the continuation of a legacy, about as well-known as any other in Nebraska lore. If Ty turns out to be half as good at RE as his father was on the Line, NU fans got themselves a serious player.
Allan Evridge (QB) - Another player from within the state, but not within the attentions of most Nebraska fans, this Papillion player is getting ready for just his second year of Nebraska football, albeit at a slightly smaller level. Having only been a citizen of the state for one year, this isn't your typical Nebraska story of ‘kid is born, kid walks, kid talks, first words out of kid's mouth are "Go Big Red!!!" and after that, kid dreams of playing in Memorial". Nope, this is an outsider looking in, but that didn't make Nebraska any less attractive. After all, it is Nebraska and even last year didn't quell this young man's affections for the program. In fact, he found himself doing what most Husker fans refused to do. "I actually stood up for Nebraska." Allan said of his argument on the Huskers' behalf after last year's season. "I defended Jammal Lord , because I thought he did a great job, despite everything else that was wrong."
I tell ya, you have to love a kid that will stand up for a guy that everyone else is bashing to the point of it seeming like a re-enactment of a scene from " The Untouchables". You know the one. Robert Deniro (Playing Al Capone) is walking around this table of his "yes-men", err, I mean, guys that do his bidding and he takes a baseball bat and, WHAMO, just like that.....one less Escargot to be thrown in the oven. Yep, it was that bad.
Allan's confidence is exactly what you need at the QB position, but what you really have to like aside from his intangibles are some of these measurements. 6'1" - 200 lbs. - 34" vertical and an electronic 4.5/40. Even if Evridge doesn't make it as a QB, NU got a great athlete and you can never have enough of those.
Andrew Christensen (OL) - Before his ACL injury at the end of his Junior season, Christensen was considered by some to be the best line prospect in the state. He played tackle and is expected to again, but his 6'3" - 275 lbs. frame is clearly suited to guard or center in college. After his injury, it's been a long painstaking process to get back, but the great news for Andrew is that his injury didn't hurt the potential some schools saw in him, including the Huskers. It wasn't a no-brainer to go to NU, even for a line prospect, but in the end, Andrew is getting ready to realize the same dream that most Nebraska kids have, but few will ever know beyond just that, a dream.
Andrew's going to redshirt though, so he can get BIG, BIG, BIG and STRONG, STRONG, STRONG, so he can melt in seamlessly with the other bigguns on the "Pipeline". Oh yeah. Before his injury, Andrew was clocked at a reported sub-5 second forty. His potential just keeps getting better, doesn't it?
Maurice McClellan (LB) - Here's another that just came out of the blue and not because he isn't any good, but he's in Connecticut for goodness sake. I can't remember the last guy Nebraska got from Connecticut. Can you? That's an interesting trivia question, don't ya think?
Moving on, this kid has some list of measurements, let me tell you. As a running back, he stands 6'2" plus, weighs 200+ and as a running back, is prolific to say the least. Heck, this kid is just one great athlete. Twice in 2002 did Maurice run for over 230 yards in a game, he ran a kickoff back for a touchdown and scored a total of 22 times last year. And he's probably going to play linebacker at Nebraska.
Michael Keenan (LB) - speaking of linebackers, here's one that has some pretty darn impressive measurements of his own. 6'2" - 220+ and he runs a 4.4? Yeah, I know what you are thinking, but even if you do take a couple tenths off of that, you still got one motoring linebacker, who's being recruited for SAM, err, I mean BUCK. The coaches told Michael that he has what it takes to play all three, but that's where they see him. You know where Michael sees himself? Well, nowhere, because he's still a little dumbstruck by the whole thing. "It hasn't really settled in yet." Michael said of his realization of being a Husker. "I suppose when it does, I'll probably still say ‘wow'."
We'll say it for ya Michael..........Wow. I'm a big help, aren't I?
That's six, count'em six new commits and just a few days ago, it was just one and everyone was crying about why NU is so far behind schools like Texas and their 727 commits. What? I said it was 432 commits before? Well yeah, but it's been twenty minutes. Come on!! They are at least up to 700+ by now.
And the momentum just keeps on going as rumors about Lance Brandenburgh , a kid that has wowed everyone with his tape, NU included of course and just about everyone else with his measurables. This kid tallied 193 tackles last year, breaking his own record of 156 set the year before. 193 tackles???? I can't get that on Playstation. If I saw "wow" again, is that redundant or just unimaginative?
Either way, it would appear that he could be pulling the trigger soon as in SOON. The capital letters are meant to invoke a response of urgency, thus illustrating the importance of said event that I, oh what in the hell am I talking about..........he might pull the trigger within the next few days and it looks to be for NU.
What else though? I know you want to know, because you are recruiting fanatics and if there is anything I know about recruitniks, they are never happy. I remember one day when we got two commits, just one right after the other and in our wondrous chat room, not even half an hour after the second commit was announced, someone seriously asked me, "So, Steve any news today?"
That's recruiting though, moving and shaking all the way, your happiness only regulated by the level of the last commit.
Will Cortney Grixby pull the trigger before the Summer is over and take his considerable talents to Nebraska?
By the way, speaking of Grixby, the Insiders' rankings are coming out on Monday. It's when the great and capable recruiting gurus of the Insiders put their heads together and rank the best high school football players in the country. Led by our national guy, the one and only, Jamie Newberg, when these rankings come out is a huge deal. It's a big deal, a major deal. Hell, it's better than that shopping day after Thanksgiving.
Everyone is wondering where some of the best will ultimately be ranked when the Insiders releases their list and no player within the Husker state is speculated more on as to just how high he will be ranked than Cortney Grixby. He's good. No, he's darn good. Actually, he's unbelievable. How's that? Better yet, just to get an idea of where Cortney will be ranked, check what Jamie himself had to say about this Nebraska stud.
"From what I watched on film, Grixby is one of the nation's most exciting players and one of the best I have seen this season. There is no doubt in my mind that this kid is one of the top prospects in the country and the best from the state of Nebraska. I absolutely love him. He is just a big time football player." - Jamie Newberg
Wow. I mean, that's great. That's super. That's ..............oh the hell with it........WOW!!
If your mouth isn't watering right now to see those rankings, you need to check that you are still producing saliva at all.
Now that you have seen the most pertinent information covering the most recent of significant events, let's take a run down of some of the other happenings in recruiting, that of course being the myriad of other updates from the last few days.
Jeff Byers - He could be the best player in the country and he's an offensive lineman folks. That isn't just saying a lot, that's incredible. 30+ offers and counting, Byers is sitting pretty as any school that he is even slightly considering, well, yeah, there's an offer from them somewhere in that pile.
Byers though, to talk to him, you would have thought he had been through this whole process before, as he is one cool customer, doing all the right things and most importantly, saying all the right things.
You know how we recruiting reporters can be. We know all the right things to ask to, so we can at least get some idea of where a young man is leaning, if any. Not with Jeff though as he's got it down and he's got no leader amidst his list which is about as long as the list of Texas commits, now up to over 940 I think.
Just call it a hunch, but no way Byers comes to a decision while you are still speculating on how the Huskers are going to do this season. My take is that his decision will come at a point where you are already going to know just how good this year's Nebraska team is or possibly even, was.
If there is one thing that I have always enjoyed about this job is some of the conversations I get to have with recruits. Some are entertaining, some are enlightening and some, well, some make you say..........ummmm, oh, nevermind.
It's the attitudes. While some are focusing on awards, numbers and what not, there are some that have a focus on what it took to get them there and what they have to do to pay those people back. Nick Patton and Marcus Freeman come immediately to mind, because you want to know what their main philosophy is in deciding what school they attend? No, it's not academics though each said it's important. No, it's not tradition, big facilities and a great location. It's going to a place that's close enough so that their families can see each and every home game they play.
"Everything they have done for me to get me where I am, there's no way I am leaving to a place they can't watch me play." Nick Patton said and Marcus Freeman's comments were quite similar as he voiced his primary consideration. "I want to go somewhere my parents won't have to pay $300.00 to see me play every game. USC has offered me, but my parents can't fly out there every game, so I want to go someplace my parents can see me play."
It doesn't seem like much, but in an era where it's the ‘me, me, me' player making the headlines, it's attitudes like this that make players like this and give each and every fan someone they can root for on and off the field. You don't just build teams around talent, you build them around attitudes as well and these two are examples of some of the best you are going to see.
Did you know that "Too Tall" Jones has a son? Ok, yeah, I figured he did and truthfully, this isn't about any relative of the former Cowboy great, but when you see a rush end that is 6 friggen 8, I don't know who else comes to mind. Tall and quick off the ball. That's not an easy combination, yet Calais Campbell has managed to combine his incredible height with his technique to build what could be one of the more formidable pass-rushers this year. He's going for the state record in sacks this year, trying to better his reported 19 sacks from last season by no less than 8 more, 27 being the current record held.
27 sacks by a rush end that's four inches shy of seven foot tall? WOW! Uhh, I mean #$#@&&$%#@!
That felt better.
Ok, now that I have butchered the word "wow" to death, recalled the commits that were, one or more that might be soon and just rambled on about others, I'm calling it a morning. It's time to feed the car, wash my cat and take the laundry to the vet, not necessarily in that order.
For those that were reading the TAKE ONEs, welcome back and for those just reading these now, welcome for the first time. Each TAKE TWO will have a different face, but ultimately the same message, but within each, we'll cover a variety of things, week to week, month to month.
As we tear down recruiting classes, evaluate those coming in and speculate on those that might. We'll analyze NU positions and needs, look at who we think fits the bill the best and talk about some of those players possibly not being talked about at all.
I might even throw in a few blatantly obvious predictions, but that's only after I've been drinking.
Either way, thanks for reading this one, stay tuned for the next way and I hope your next week in recruiting is as fruitful as this one was.
Take care all and see you the next time around for another edition of TAKE TWO.
By the way, Texas is up to 1124 commitments.
Steve Ryan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org 402-730-5619