Nebraska athletic director Shawn Eichorst made two things abundantly clear with his press conference on Sunday announcing Bo Pelini being fired as the head coach at Nebraska. One, it was his decision. And two, his focus is now on the student-athletes currently in the program.
When the subject of recruiting was brought up at the press conference for the athletic director he definitely wanted to make sure that the immediate concern was with the current players. It seems to be a concern, but also something that will work itself out with the process of hiring a new head coach.
“First and foremost my concern is with our kids in our program and making sure they are mentored and led and pursue their degree; that is the most important thing we do here,” Eichorst said.
”Recruiting is important, and we will honor any commitments we have made, and we would hope those young people have looked at Nebraska as a place to get an education and play football at the highest level. Those things will take care of itself, in time, but we will be very nurturing and supporting in that environment.”
Just hours after the announcement that Bo Pelini had been fired there were three decommitments. All of the recruits appeared to be in some state of shock over social media. Some made public comment and others chose not to.
The fact of the matter is that you will find the current commitments in one of the three categories when it comes to considering Bo Pelini being fired as the head coach at Nebraska:1. Doesn’t matter – For some recruits Nebraska is where they want to be. Yes, who the coaches are helped their decision, but it wasn’t the basis for the decision.
2. Could matter – Some recruits will want to know the direction of the program now – who will the new head coach be, which assistants will be retained, who are their replacements – it might also matter which of the current commits stay committed as well.
3. Deal breaker – And for others any change from what they originally considered to be how it was when they committed to Nebraska and/or how they envisioned it to be while they attended Nebraska requires them to at the very least decommit and reconsider or walk away all together.
Simply put it’s impossible for an administration to make a decision to hang onto a head coach to preserve a recruiting class. Recruiting classes have a tendency to falling apart in mid-flight anyway even without any rumors about possible coaching changes.
If you can think back to the recruiting class that Bill Callahan had put together before he was fired. Names like Blaine Gabbert, Jonas Gray, Bryce Givens, Dan Hoch and on and on. Those players were lost as part of the firing and hiring process, but Nebraska initially lost and eventually re-gained commitments from recruits like Josh Williams and Will Compton.
It’s a bigger picture view that people must maintain. What if Nebraska hires a coach that is currently at another school and recruits want to follow to Nebraska? This happened recently to Nebraska.
Remember Vince Marrow leaving to go to Kentucky? Marcus McWilson was a Nebraska commitment and Marrow was his primary recruiter. When Marrow got a full-time job at Kentucky McWilson followed. It even encouraged a transfer destination of Braylon Heard.
Recruits want answers and there aren’t many to offer at the moment unfortunately. These recruits want to be able to pick up a phone and call their coach. Once a hire has been made though – which I suspect could take place fairly quickly – the recruit and coach relationships can begin again.