With 14 spots left and likely 8-11 more to go, Nebraska will hold one of their bigger, if not the biggest, recruiting weekend in the Big Ten era. Not only will the Huskers’ matchup with Fresno State feature Nebraska commits on the sidelines, but a few of the highest ranked prospects in the country. The official visit list includes seven four-star prospects and one five-star prospects (another five-star visit will be on campus).
“I think to be able to draw that type of talent in the first week of the season is impressive,” said Scout.com national recruiting analyst Greg Powers. “When you are the first official visit for anyone, that means you are the standard-bearer for official visits. The important thing is you have to be the leader coming out of the visit.
“I also think it is smart, especially with all the California talent, to get them in this type of year. Nebraska has everything, the facilities, the atmosphere, but one thing that can hurt them is the weather later in the year. The weather should be nice this time of year.”
While the stat is somewhat unfair to bring up, because many of the previous seasons fell on the prior coaching staff, Nebraska is just 1-of-7 in landing official visitors who visit on the first weekend of the year since joining the Big Ten. To host 10 players in week one is somewhat unprecedented.
At this point in the article we would usually highlight the most highly rated and thought of player heading to town, but it is too hard to choose one.
The offensive tackle can virtually go anywhere in the country he wants, but has a strong relationship with Nebraska offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh, dating back to his days with Oregon State. At the moment he is a Stanford lean. Does that probably change? Not likely. But getting a player of this caliber even on campus is considered a win for Riley’s staff.
He’s only a four-star prospect right now, but is primed to earn a potential five-star rating down the road. Peoples-Jones is thought to be a Michigan lean, but Nebraska will get first crack. It helps four-star teammate Jaylen Kelly-Powell, who is also visiting Nebraska this weekend, has been in Peoples-Jones ear regarding how great Nebraska is.
“It was a bit of a surprise,” said Scout.com national recruiting analyst Allen Trieu. “He hasn’t really mentioned Nebraska before. It didn’t seem like they were in the running to get one of the five visits.”
Peoples-Jones is planning on being an early enrollee and is a 4.0 student.
When visiting Nebraska during the Huskers’ Friday Night Lights camp in June, Kelly-Powell stated it was the best camp he had ever been to.
Now he will see a game day with teammate Peoples-Jones.
“Nebraska is doing a good job recruiting these guys. Most people think they are going to Michigan, but Nebraska is putting on a strong fight and are working on them,” said Trieu.
“Now they are going to see the game atmosphere. A couple kids from the Midwest took official visits last year to Nebraska and while they didn’t get those guys, the visit propelled Nebraska to near the top of the list after only lightly considering Nebraska before the visit. This visit definitely has the opportunity to blow the kids away and set Nebraska as the bar.”
Trieu isn’t surprised by the big weekend.
“Nebraska has had a lot of momentum over the last year. Even some of the kids they haven’t gotten, they gotten top kids to visit or come to camp,” said Trieu. “I think the staff works hard. It is showing up. Sometimes we judge recruiting by too much the bottom line. You hear a lot buzz from some of the top recruits in the country wanting to see a game day in Lincoln, so it isn’t a surprise to hear they are having a big weekend.”
The California prep is another player that could be on the verge of a fifth star down the road.
“This is kind of a new development as Graham hasn't mentioned Nebraska much in the past,” said Scout.com national recruiting analyst Greg Biggins. “Arizona is probably the leader over UCLA and Notre Dame and Oregon had official visits lined up as well.”
Graham said he's planning to announce his commitment at the Under Armour AA Game in early January and is looking to take all five visits. This goes back to what Powers said – it is important Nebraska establishes themselves as an early leader.
One player who has Nebraska possibly a little higher on his list going into the weekend is Redd. The senior wants to commit in late September on his birthday and will only have two official visits completed before doing so. But it isn’t that uncommon for guys to take an official after a commitment, which could happen in Reddd’s case. Redd cites a strong relationship with Nebraska defensive back coach Brian Stewart as the reason the Huskers are in it.
Unless we are forgetting a visit along the way, this will only be Roberts’ second trip to Lincoln. The No. 1 guy on the Huskers’ linebacker board, landing Roberts was a year process. With 20+ offers, the Scout.com Top 100 prospect was a great get for Nebraska. Roberts is always around the ball and really accelerates to carriers. He made national headlines in May with a tweet stating he would put LSU running back Leonard Fourtnette to sleep if he came around the edge. He is currently the No. 1 player in Delaware.
During big recruiting weekends you need your big guns to help the cause and it will be the case with Tristan Gebbia, who along with teammate Keyshawn Johnson Jr, is one of the Huskers strongest recruiters. Gebbia picked up right where he left off last year, throwing for 350 yards and four touchdowns last week. As a junior in 2015, Gebbia threw for 4,443 yards and 45 touchdowns, to just nine interceptions in 14 games. He completed nearly 63 percent of his throws.
After a touchdown and 60 yards in the opener, Johnson Jr. will visit Lincoln again for the one millionth time. The catalyst to the Calibraska movement, Johnson Jr. will likely be involved with every California player’s recruitment going forward when it comes to Nebraska. We haven’t checked to see how many times his schedule will allow for him to visit this fall, but we expect him to be back.
Calvin told Big Red Report during the summer he had plans to show people he was better than his three-star ranking. So far so good. 8 receptions for 231 yards and 1 TD in the opener was a big week. He now heads to Lincoln for the second time in his recruitment, after canceling a summer visit. We think Nebraska is in great shape with the senior. But we also figured he would commit after the Red-White game in April.
The defensive tackle has already visited Nebraska once during the summer and immediately knew he needed to return for an official visit. While the competition against Iowa and Oklahoma State will be tough, we think this visit sets Nebraska up as the favorite going forward for Daniels.
KEY UNOFFICIAL VISITOR:
This will be the Calabasas high school standout’s sixth visit to Nebraska if we are counting right. It seems like a lot for a guy who supposedly has the Huskers behind UCLA. What will he be able to see this weekend that he hasn’t already? The only scenario we could see Holmes having the Huskers trending in the right direction again would be if there was a run on other five-star prospects.