"I have looked at them a lot, especially at who they put in the pros and their production once they get there."
Thoughts: Alan is a real bright kid to talk to and I am pretty convinced of his final two. Now, what will it take to win over OU in this recruiting battle? I think you should look at depth charts first. Alan isn't afraid of competition, but with any young man that aspires to be in the pros, exposure and the amount of that exposure is very important. That should play into this significantly. NU does have an advantage when it comes to RE production in the pros right now, especially with the likes of Rucker and Wistrom to point out the obvious ones.
With all that being said, we would have to look at this realistically as NU battling OU heads up and while I think the de-commit from OU and subsequent commit to NU by Ryan Schuler is significant, I don't find it auspicious in any way. This is still Oklahoma and any battle with them is bound to be an uphill one to be certain.
Demarcus Winston: (Remember, NU is recruiting Winston at DE primarily from what Winston stated. Also, NU hasn't offered, but again, according to Winston, the interest is most definitely there) - "They have definitely said they are interested in me coming to Nebraska and would love to have me. They tell me I would fit in good in their system and they said they were definitely going to recruit me hard."
"I appreciate that and I love the way they are open with their intentions and I think that once they see me in a couple of games, I think an official offer will come."
Thoughts: Another very bright young man and we actually talked for quite awhile on everything from why bowls with names ending in ".com" suck to the European influx into the NBA. He's just very personable and a treat to talk to. The gist of the deal here is pretty simple and that's what position he wants to play. He didn't indicate that NU was recruiting him only as a DE, but primarily to be sure and there's little doubt that he wants to play on the offensive side.
That's the big point right now at least where NU is concerned. Beyond that, it really doesn't matter, because he seems to be pretty intent on playing TE.
Darius Walker: You pretty much got the bulk of his comments on Nebraska and his affection for NU is well-chronicled, so rather than simply repeat stuff you already know, I'll just give my brief impression of where I think things stand right now.
I'll probably never stop being impressed with this young man when I talk to him. He's so very outgoing in his personality, he just comes off as a really energetic and positive young kid. He looks at this whole recruiting process as a journey, but not an arduous one, rather just another positive experience to jot down in the old memory logs, if you will.
I can't see one reason why NU won't get that visit he says he feels obligated to take and based on his criteria that you read in his update, Nebraska definitely has a solid chance for him, because if there has ever been one consistent comment about the team once a player is on campus is that they are so close, so tight-nit and that's precisely what he is looking for. A home away from home, so to speak, but considering any player's time at a school, it could be considered that without much problem.
As always, any battle with Notre Dame is going to be a tough one and I don't see that changing here. Where do the parents lean is a good question, because Notre Dame always seems to get the parents and that usually spells disaster for Nebraska when going head-to-head with them. I don't sense an advantage one way or another right now, but one hit against Nebraska that actually came into play with Peyton Hillis is the campus itself.
Not sure why, but the appearance of the campus seems to be a theme this year, however slight and if you have been on the Notre Dame campus, you know that it's immaculate, top to bottom and the NU campus, well, let's just say that it's not going to win any awards for aesthetics. I can't say that this should be a major factor, especially if the most important stuff he's looking at impresses him, but it's an issue to be aware of.
Brian Toal: "I'm pretty interested in them right now. My top teams are all pretty much the same and Nebraska has a lot of great tradition and has had a lot of great teams. Jimmy Williams is a great coach and I like him a lot."
(On distance) "It's not an issue there. Anything past that might be a little far, but there, that's not a problem."
Thoughts: You ever met anyone that even when they don't mean to, darn near everything that comes out of their mouth is just funny? I tell ya, this conversation was a riot, because just talking, Brian was saying some of the funniest stuff I have heard in awhile.
He's also a very cool customer. You can just sense his very laid-back attitude about the whole process and the fact that he's becoming used to the attention now, none of it is really phasing him anymore.
Do I think he's a realistic shot for NU? Considering that almost half the players NU has gotten as commits thus far are linebackers, even for a player like Toal, I would think that would make NU a little less endearing, but don't think it's because he's afraid of the competition, because I guarantee you that's not it. Friendly depth charts just look more inviting.
What gives NU a chance here is Jimmy Williams, Bo Pelini and their connections to the pros. Brian is like many young standouts, NFL stars in their eyes, perhaps with Toal, even more-so, because it's assume that he does indeed have what it takes to think realistically to that level. NU will no doubt beat that particular drum until it's broken if need be, but it makes nothing but sense.
In the end, I think Toal is a longshot, not because NU isn't good enough, but Lincoln is about as far west as he wants to go and you can see the competition Nebraska has between, so if Nebraska wins this recruiting battle, I would have to consider that a major victory in recruiting. Darn near epic.
DT McDowell: You pretty much got everything he said about NU in the update, because he was so pro-NU, it couldn't be avoided. So, there really is nothing else.
Is he a lock though? Right this minute, I would say yeah, he's as close to a lock for NU as any in-state kid, gushing at the idea of an offer. He finds that he fits in just about everywhere when it comes to the coaches, the players and most importantly, the system NU plans on, on offense. I think it would really take something dramatic to change this young man's mind, especially if NU keeps in constant contact, whatever type of contact that is. This is too long after his camp experience for sheer emotion to be motivating his decision, so his desire is genuine as I think are the great possibilities of getting him, maybe pretty soon. He just doesn't sound like he wants to sit on this, so don't be shocked if he pulls the trigger possibly even a month before his season starts.
Early Doucet: "I know if I went there, I could really help the team. They do almost exactly what I have done here, so I know I could get in there and contribute right away."
Thoughts:Athletically, this kid is a steal, no matter what position you get him at. You look at him as a QB and if that doesn't work out, you got yourself the number one receiver in the country, as ranked by TheInsiders.
Bottom line for anyone is whether this desire to play QB is just an aspiration, as quickly diminished by the reality of what position he can get into the Pros with more realistically or something he's set on doing and will try if he thinks it's even a remote shot for him.
You've seen this plenty of times as we all have. If any player thinks they have a shot at the pros at one position and maybe, just maybe at another, they are going to go with the best shot they have. I doubt that no matter how Early does this year at QB it will affect his decision-making process and ultimately, he will go somewhere to be a receiver.
Andre Brown: "Coach Albin told me what they were going to do and that's what I am looking for. It's an open running back formation where they hit you with this, this and this between the tackles and then, the sweep comes."
"Nebraska will be one of my official visits. Just the tradition there, that's enough for me. It's a running back school and hey, it's Nebraska."
"If I got there, it's more exposure and that way, my family can see me play even if they can't get to the game."
Thoughts: Just from what he told me about his team this year, I would expect Brown to put up some pretty ridiculous numbers. Any good running back that has a good offensive line is going to do well, but when you got that entire line coming back, that usually equates to some pretty impressive stats.
Of course, numbers don't tell the whole story, especially when the team around them is so good, so what's going to really determine Andre's worth is what people see on film.
Andre sees NU as a possibility, but he was reluctant to say outright that leaving the southern region was anything other than ideal, because as he put it, "I want to see something different". As far as I am concerned, he's a reach, but if he does make it up to NU for an official, that could change. Officials often do that, but right now, I don't see him as anyone NU fans should get their hopes up too much about.
Marlon Favorite: Ok, you know about the whole playstation bit, plus the fact that his dad is a Husker fan, but what you want to know is how much he likes NU and how much influence his dad is going to have on his decision.
"I met one of the coaches from there and his personality just kind of caught me. He was real straight with me and I just thought that was cool how he was like that." - That coach was Bo Pelini by the way.
As for his dad's influence, "Yeah, it's going to matter some what he thinks."
Thoughts:Marlon is a character and a good one at that. I don't think you could compare his personality completely with Warren Sapp's, but because that's the person he models himself after, Marlon definitely takes on some of Warren's most notable characteristics. The positive part is that Marlon said he is just as prone to backing those comments up as Warren is, so if you take stock in that, at least there is some comfort as to his ability.
How much of a shot does NU stand with him? Marlon is a big fan of coaches being straight with him and that has always been a strong suit for NU and considering who he has had the most contact with in regards to recruiting, I don't think NU could have had a better candidate to recruit this one standout to be sure.
Marlon said that he is going to make his decision the day before signing day, so that's a lot of time for a lot of things to happen. I think though that if Miami is in there, they will get him and I have every reason to believe that they will be in the end. Just a hunch, of course.
Calvin Darity: "All I really know about them is that the linemen that come out of there are usually pretty top-notch. I have seen a couple of their workouts and they are pretty intense, but that's about all I really know."
Thoughts:Calvin goes into my book as probably the most interesting personality I have come across thus far. He's an enigma to a certain degree in that he just doesn't fall into the normal template of what a high school football player is, at least one that has legit aspirations for the next level at schools in the upper-echelon. He has this complete detachment from the game of football in that he thinks it's "fun", but I don't get the sense that it's a live and die for the game mentality, at all.
Another interesting by-line to Calvin is that he is smart. No, not smart, let's say he's more than that. One person I talked to about him said he was and I quote "brilliant". Calvin is a math-whiz I guess. He's a member of a math club and has MENSA-type intelligence. Calvin was even called a genius.
You can tell talking to him that he is a very bright young man, no doubt there, so I would guess that in the end, that's probably going to dictate much in where he ends up. Calvin said he would like to go to a place that fits his style of play, but he makes no bones about it, he's going for the education. This young man is just one of the rarities in that this game to him is something he likes to do, but it in no way defines him to any degree.
I'm interested in this, simply because I find him particularly interesting. As I said, he's just a rarity from the kids I am used to talking to that eat, sleep and breath this game.
Rodney Gallon: "They have been writing me a lot and I feel real comfortable talking to the coach (Pelini) that is recruiting me. We had a great conversation. I just love that guy. He sounds like one of those people that isn't fake."
"He talked about how they coached in the league (NFL) and that really caught my eye, because someday, I want to make it there."
Thoughts: The continuing comments from recruits about the coaches, Pelini specifically have to give Husker fans some serious reasons to smile. The impressions, at least initially have been nothing but positive from everything I have been able to ascertain. Does that equal success? I think it already has, but this is Florida we are talking about and even a good recruiting Nebraska staff is going to have a hard time pulling kids out of there.
The influence that NU seems to have with Joe Manning and Danny Muy would seem to have some affect, but I don't think there's this trickle-down affect like many Husker fans might hope. Though I see that connection with Muy and Manning as they are best friends, that doesn't translate to Rodney and Calvin in my estimation.
Rodney is planning to visit Florid and Miami officially, along with NU, so you can see the competition NU has and great recruiting staff aside, winning a head-to-head battle with either of those schools for a Florida kid, that's a mountain and a half to climb. We'll see how that pans out and if Manning and Muy can or do have any pull with their other standout teammates.
That's it for now, but as you know, we cover all kinds of kids, new and old all the time and we will keep you up to date on who is saying what about NU and of course, I'll throw in my own thoughts about the situation and give you my own haphazard analysis of how I think it could play out.
Steve Ryan can be reached at email@example.com or 402-730-5619
Make sure to check out the RED ZONE often as there are a variety of issues and pieces that find themselves there that don't find the front page, so keep checking back to see if you missed out on anything.