As Harvey sees it: You are what you recruit

You are what you recruit. Nebraska has been a team hovering around the bottom to the outside of the top 25 for a few years now, but that goes along with their team recruiting rankings.

LINCOLN, Neb. - On Monday, Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini took questions from the media during his weekly lunchtime press conference for 46 minutes. Everything was discussed, with the majority of the presser focused on the state of the program and Pelini's coaching philosophies.

The head coach was asked what the biggest difference is between his team now, compared to a few years ago? Or his team now compared to a successful Oklahoma or LSU that he was part of the early 2000s?

His answer was long winded and probably didn't hit, in my opinion, the real reason why.

I think it comes down to the talent level on this roster compared to those squads, ultimately something Pelini is responsible for as the CEO of the Nebraska program.

Last year, I wrote an article pointing to Nebraska's defensive deficiencies not being an X's and O's problem, but maybe a Jimmys and Joes problem. I took a lot of criticism from Husker fans, which immediately pointed to teams like Texas and Notre Dame as the reason why not to look too much into the rankings.

Those fans have a solid point. There's always bad apples in the bunch that can throw off an equation, but I think if you look at the way Nebraska's recruited over the years, their efforts are pretty telling.

Husker fans have always been very critical of's team recruiting for Nebraska. But, the team recruiting rankings might be a very good gauge of where this current team stands.

Throwing out last year's rankings, because true freshman should never be replied upon to win games, Nebraska's average four-year team ranking is 32.5.

In 2009, the class was ranked No. 33 in the country, with their highest rated players coming in the form of Jason Ankrah, Cody Green, Eric Martin, and Jeremiah Sirles.

In 2010, the ranking improved to No. 29 overall. The biggest names recruited from a ranking standpoint were Chase Rome, Corey Cooper, Mike Moudy, Andrew Rodriguez, and Harvey Jackson.

In 2011, all the way up to No. 19. With players like Aaron Green, Bubba Starling, Jamal Turner, Tyler Moore, Ryan Klachko, Ryan Reeves, and Todd Peat being the highlights.

In 2012, their lowest ranking of the last five years, down to No. 49. Tommy Armstrong, Jordan Westerkamp, and Paul Thurston were all four-stars.

You are what you recruit. Nebraska has been a team just outside the top 25 for a few years now, but that goes along with their team recruiting rankings.

When fans look at the future of the program, no matter who the coach is, they often point out there will be a solid foundation in the years going forward. There is hope.

Last season, Nebraska finished No. 11 overall in the team recruiting rankings, their best ranking in the Pelini era. To no surprise to this recruiting junkie, guys like Josh Banderas Terrell Newby, Nathan Gerry, Maliek Collins, and Kevin Maurice have not only gotten reps this year, but also looked as potential special players down the road.

Pelini's schemes have worked before. He's quick to point it out. And I agree with him. But maybe the roster doesn't have the talent level to pull off these schemes at the moment? If that's the case, Pelini and crew have to adjust, not just scale down, until the 2013 class is mature enough to be full-time contributors.

After all, you are what you recruit.

Nebraska fans want so much more than what they have been given in the Pelini era. Conference championship appearances are nice, but they want wins. They want BCS games and national relevancy. But maybe the roster doesn't have the talent to do that at the moment.

After all, you are what you recruit.

Josh Harvey has covered college football and recruiting for FOX Sports/ since 2008. He is now the Publisher of Big Red Report, covering Nebraska athletics.
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