The night of round one is the four to five year finish line for these recruits that will get to the level that they all talked about as juniors or seniors in high school; making it to ‘The League'. It's a culmination of hard work and some luck. Luck. Many like them four to five years ago don't have it any more. They won't have this opportunity because of injury or other factors. Most of all it's their hard work that's paying off. There are those tonight that I will be able to say that about again.
The projected first round tonight has many players that I had a chance four or five years ago to speak with either because they are solely from Texas or because they were interested in Nebraska or Nebraska was interested in them. This year might be the first year that I can tell my son that I spoke with the projected top two picks in Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin. Both of them had Nebraska offers. Luck committed fairly early to Stanford and Nebraska was in it late for Griffin before he committed to Stanford.
I spoke to Ryan Tannehill because he was in the Texas Hot 100 and of course Riley Reiff was at one time committed to Nebraska after persuading him to change his commitment from Iowa only to lose him back to Iowa after Bill Callahan was fired.
Kendall Wright was a guy that had Nebraska high on his list until he committed to Baylor just like Griffin. Sadly, I'd like to see such players like Lavonte David, who is one of the overall best football players in the draft, or Jared Crick get picked in the first round, but it doesn't seem like they will.
My favorite who could slip into the first round is easily Coby Fleener. When I think about the offenses that Nebraska has had the past four years there has been a need for a bigger, more dynamic play-maker at the tight end position like a cross between Kyler Reed and Ben Cotton. Fleener should have been that guy. Nebraska got in on Fleener kind of late. It took an entire season of film and some basketball highlights it seemed to get Nebraska to pull the trigger on an offer to Fleener.
Nebraska flew to the top of Fleener's list pending one thing. He had an offer from Stanford and getting admitted to Stanford is something that you might write on your resume even if you didn't attend the school. When Fleener got that admission it was all over. Fleener got the word about his admission to Stanford just weeks before signing day and committed shortly after.
This is a night of closure and the end of a personal chapter with me. Of course there is more than one day of the draft and I will watch it all. The hard work and persistence paid off guys…my congratulations to all of you.