The 2016 class is in the books and Nebraska signed 21 players in all - 10 from the so called 500-mile radius.
After one full recruiting class, head coach Mike Riley says some of the Huskers biggest disappointments in the last month came from the 500-mile.
“I think that that is a really worthwhile topic for us, as far as we learn more about what we’re going to do and what that radius means. I think that radius is a real thing, and I think what we have to do now, like today and going forward, is really hit this thing hard and be able to get these guys here," said Riley. "I still think one of the keys is to get guys on campus early, before their official visit. Get them here this spring. We have a chance to do that in this radius, and we were close to that 50 percent mark, not quite there. We had our chances with a couple of guys."
Riley cited offensive tackle Matt Farniok as an example of how to recruit the area.
"We had him here on an unofficial visit during recruiting time last year. Last January, he was here. He was upstairs in the stadium. I met his family, and then we had a good, long year to recruit him, developing that relationship, kind of the old fashioned way to do it," said Riley. "Gaining the trust and continuing to build it and that’s where we have to hit hard with the guys that are in our radius now, so that we feel really comfortable about where we are when we had the last bat with Matt and his family last Wednesday in their home. We had that last in-home visit. That’s what I wanted. I told him a long time ago, ‘I want the last bat.’ We went in there and we had a plan from the beginning, and so now, with looking at it for a year how that worked, and each guy’s a little bit different. They’re probably going to approach it a little bit differently. Matt’s plan was to take his visits and to wait it out, and he had older brothers that had been through it, so he had a lot of advice, and it was good advice, but it made everybody just continue to build and make sure to cover all the bases as you go, and we ended up with the player.
“That’s really my vision for this radius, and there’s a lot of good football players. We found more as we went. We want to do a hair better. I think it’s going to be natural for us, and we have found it easy from Nebraska to go to California and go to Florida. So we’ll get our bits and pieces like that, get the right guy and recruit him over a period of time. We’re going to make a big effort, starting Monday, on really getting players evaluated in the beginning of the recruiting process. Probably, in saying that, we’ve got to, for next year, get even further ahead. This thing has accelerated to the point where you’ve got to get in it fast, get the evaluations done and pick that active group of guys that you’re going to recruit – the active recruits. The guys that you’ve offered and you’re going to recruit, and we’ve got to know those names as soon as possible because those relationships are there waiting to be built so that you can get them. We’ve got 20 working days until spring practice starts, so we’ve got to make the most of those 20 days getting ready for next year.”