Junior college tone?

There wasn’t any junior college players in the class before Bo Pelini was hired and realistically there wasn’t any really on the radar. Could some appear and at what positions?

There are many thoughts about taking junior college transfers in recruiting classes. The first, and possibly the most popular, is an immediate need on the current football team. The thought here is that a player will be ready out of junior college or at least more prepared than straight out of high school.

I had a chance to corner an assistant coach one night and I asked about why and how he evaluated junior college players. The gist of his answer to me was ‘just like high school players’. His thought and analogy to me was that recruiting services didn’t really rank high school and junior college players differently so why should he?

It’s an interesting question.

There are some clearly some byproducts of consistently recruiting junior college players year after year and taking multiple JUCO transfers. The first is some people that chemistry can’t take long to come together and that it will be more short-lived than just recruiting high school players. The other is churn. Look instead of having players for four or five years it’s two or three.

Mike Riley as the head coach at Oregon State has taken a fair number of junior college players in the past five years – averaged three a year – and has two JUCO commitments in this year’s class:
2010 – 3
2011 – 4
2012 – 3
2013 – 6
2014 – 4
2015 – 2

While it’s unclear what the thought process was when it came to evaluating and taking junior college transfers at Oregon State it is something that Nebraska fans should be prepared for more with Riley as the head coach. Riley clearly has some pipelines built into junior colleges in California and Utah that could come in handy.

There might be a need at a few positions that Nebraska could use some junior college help. Those positions could be quarterback, offensive tackle, defensive end and possibly at cornerback. That being said, the two junior college commits currently on Oregon State’s commitment list really don’t make a lot of sense for the Huskers.

Some names to watch:

Justin Martin, CB, Miami (Okla.) Northeastern Oklahoma A&M (NEBRASKA OFFER)
Isaac Whitney, WR, Riverside (Calif.) (NEBRASKA OFFER)
Jayme Thompson, DB, Council Bluffs (Iowa) Iowa Western (NEBRASKA OFFER)
Chad Kelly, QB, Scooba (Miss.) East Mississippi
Alex Kuresa, QB, Ephraim (Utah) Snow
Tyler Howell, OT, El Dorado (Kans.)
Zach Lindsay, OT, Ephraim (Utah) Snow
Ricky Parks, DE, Coffeyville (Kans.)
Austin Roberts, DE, Miami (Okla.) Northeastern Oklahoma A&M

People may point out that Nebraska has missed on some junior college players in recent history. It’s true. Different staff now though. And recruiting misses are universal.

Now, the Nebraska groundwork has been started for the 2015 class without a lot of junior college offers (only three) and interest for junior college players. Oregon State on the other hand had two commits and offers out to six with interest out to another six or so.

It’s not a certainty that Mike Riley and his new staff go after any junior college players to finish out the class. It makes some sense though at some spots. It will definitely be fun to see how the new staff finishes this class!


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