One of the most recent rumors is that Offensive line coach and offensive coordinator, Barney Cotton told Husker commit, WR, Nathan Swift that he needed to keep his options open. That he need to make sure a back-up plan was in place. I talked to Nathan to verify that and to get anything else he had to offer as to what he knew about what was going on in Lincoln. "He did say that." Nathan said of Cotton commenting on Swift keeping his options open. "He was concerned just because if they did get a new head coach in there, that I wouldn't get stuck in an offense that I didn't like."
"He wasn't trying to tell me to go someplace else and he said that Nebraska was still a great place to be and it would be a great place to play football."
What Nathan did say of his stance right now is that he's waiting just like everyone else to see just what happens to Nebraska and what coaches go, who remains and of course, will the offense still be suited to him and yes, will they still want him to be a future Husker in the end.
Another rumor was that Nyere Aumaitre was all but throwing NU off his list, the thought of a program in disarray not overly appealing to the New Jersey star. "My coaches and I are talking about it, so it's hard to say anything real definite about them right now." Nyere said.
What Nyere was and is still concerned with isn't just the state of the assistants as most recruits seem to be keeping their eye on the most, it's about everything, not just one coach, because it would appear initially that the job of Jimmy Williams could be safe no matter what. Nyere is decidedly more macro in his view of what's going on at NU. "It's the entirety of what's going on there that I am concerned with." Aumaitre stated. "If Cotton is still there though, it will be one of those things where I would want to sit down and talk to him personally and see what he thinks about what's going on right now."
With Swift who's a commit and Aumaitre who had Nebraska in the lead at one point only to take them down to even with schools like Tennessee and now, possibly even Virginia, there's another recruit that still looks at Nebraska with eagerness and the changes aren't a major deal for him, because the man recruiting him is considered to be one of those the most safe in regards to job security. No, the questions with Joe Manning aren't about if NU has dropped because of what's up in Lincoln, but if they've dropped because of the offer finally coming in writing from the Seminoles, not even 10 minutes away from his house.
So, what's up. Is he just a Florida State Seminole, he's just not made anything official to that extent as of yet? "I know everyone thinks that." Joe said. "But, I am going to take all five of my visits. Bowden is a living legend here and it's great to have an opportunity to go there, but I haven't been to anyplace other than there and none officially. Once I get to see what everyone else on my list really has to offer, I'll be able to see just what I want to do."
The Nebraska situation does have an effect on Manning after all, but unlike most recruits/commits, it's all good for Joe and possibly the rest of the Lincoln High foursome as their primary recruiter, Bo Pelini could end up being the head coach. That doesn't hurt Joe's feelings one bit and as he said, could even kick Nebraska up yet another notch in being the most attractive place to be. "You saw what he did with that defense." Joe said of Bo Pelini. "He turned that whole thing completely around, so I think it would be a great move for him to be the next head coach and that would be a lot of plusses for the program. We (and the rest of the Trojan foursome) have all developed a really good relationship with him, so that only helps."
"No matter what though, I'm taking my five visits, so we'll see what happens after that."
Another big factor in the race for any of the Lincoln kids, but especially Joe Manning could be what happens with offensive lineman, Danny Muy. Never having been shy in saying how much he likes Nebraska, it's thought to be right now, between the Huskers the Crimson Tide. Danny and Joe are very good friends and if Danny were to commit to Nebraska, that could have it's effect on the ultimate choice of Manning.
If we can, I'll just go down the current list of Nebraska commits and out of those we have talked to, give you our thoughts on each and what their current status might be. Granted, a couple of those we have yet to talk to, but we'll give you our best feel on those we can.
Nathan Swift - WR - I think that if Cotton stays, Swift stays a commit to Nebraska. It's thought that Cotton even after the changes are done will have some input as to what NU's offense is going to do, but even so, you can logically assume that regardless of who the new OC is, they aren't going back to a 75/25 run to pass team, so Swift would have a place. The big factor here and for Swift is being reassured that his scholarship will still be available after the changes and as to that, we won't know for a fact until everything is settled. I could see Swift de-committing only if either Cotton was gone or his ship was pulled in the end.
Ty Steinkuhler - RE - I don't believe there is any reason to assume that Steinkuhler will be going anywhere but NU. Yes, he's a son of a former Nebraska legend and yes, he's a Nebraska kid on top of that, but it would seem that most of the defensive coaches should be intact and with Pelini still likely to be there no matter what, I would say that Ty is going to NU no matter what.
Allan Evridge - QB - Yes, he's looking around some and yes, you can't blame him. Evridge isn't one of those born and bred Husker fans, so he's not blinded by those lights saturated with Scarlet and Cream. He wants to know what that offense is going to do and right now, nobody knows for sure. The coaches though have apparently made it obvious that they still want Allan and badly as they visited him personally this week. That shows conviction on their part, but in the end, they still can't give Allan the answers he wants, just reassurance of some kind. Considering Evridge a Soft Verbal is accurate as far as I can see.
Maurice McClellan - LB/RB/Safety - he's a lock, he's a lock, he's a lock. Ok, he's not going anywhere either.
Michael Keenan - LB/RB - While we list him as a soft verbal, I don't think that Keenan is going anywhere but Lincoln. I say he's a future Husker, end of story.
Andrew Christensen - OL - Still stunned by the decision to fire Solich, I think as long as Cotton is still in the fold as the OL coach, Andrew stays in the fold as a Husker.
Lance Brandenburgh - LB - A great get for Nebraska, this one I wouldn't say is wavering, but it's probably a situation of logical reaction to an interesting situation in Lincoln. I think the defensive staff staying solid and Pelini still being there in whatever capacity keeps Lance heading home........again.
Seth Olsen - OL - Bottom line here is I think that if Cotton stays, Olsen stays a Husker.
D.T. McDowell - QB - I have said for awhile now that I thought D.T. would de-commit, so this situation doesn't change my mind as you might guess. I still say he will and this current situation will end up being only another reason for that ultimate change in where he wants to go.
Terrence Nunn - WR - Word has it that he is on his way out of his pledge to Nebraska, but I haven't talked to him to verify that, so we'll have to leave this one until we can talk to him personally.
Mike Huff - OL - Here's another that I think if Barney stays, he does as well.
Clayton Sievers - There's a good chance that most of the coaches that have had anything to do with Sievers' recruiting and that will be coaching him in the future will be staying, so if he changes his mind, Solich was the reason and though I think the firing wasn't well received by the Sievers family much like anyone else, I see Nebraska still getting Clayton in the end.
Byron Smith - DT - Ok, this is another we are going to have to wait on as I haven't talked to him about the current situation, so we'll have to wait before we can make any analysis as to what he will do or has done.
The best case scenario for the short-term is that Bo Pelini remains the head coach for Nebraska. His age, energy, attitude and the results of what he did with the defense all lend to a little more confidence from recruits. And, it doesn't hurt that the overall continuity of the staff will not be hurt as much as it would should a new coach be brought in.
The book on Pelini though as a recruiter isn't written though even with all the great things players like Delbert Ferguson, Joe Manning and others are saying about him. Plenty of players had plenty of great things to say about Turner Gill throughout the recruiting process only to sign somewhere else, so what Pelini does now is fine, what the results are come signing day from his efforts now are what's going to really tell you just what kind of impact he will have on recruiting for Nebraska in the future.
The biggest worry right now though is while there isn't an official head coach for the University of Nebraska football program, what do coaches say? Well, from what I have gathered, it's been a mix of "everything is going to be fine no matter what" to comments similar to what Cotton told Swift in that they want them, they hope they will have them come signing day, but for the sake of the recruit, they want to make sure that every one of them has a back up plan. I admire the honesty and that's really the only way to do business. It does however lend to the idea that recruits may read into it, thinking that something is going to change and possibly not to their liking or benefit.
Fortunately for Nebraska fans though, there aren't too many recruits or in this case, none that I have talked to as of yet that are taking a "big picture" look at the situation. By that I mean, you have an elite program that now is going on it's second year in a row with major coaching changes.
Those are changes that have been made, the head coach now gone and more than likely, still a significant number of changes yet to make. Regardless of how much sunshine someone wants to blow up your backside, that's a concern, because two years in a row, especially at a place that not long ago was one of the best programs in regards to overall coaching continuity, you are treading on some very thin ice right now.
The coaches don't just have the job now to convince recruits that the situation right now will only get better. They aren't just trying to persuade recruits to come into a situation that has yet to be resolved. Maybe in some cases, they are having to explain to the best of their ability why this kind of coaching-turmoil has occurred now at Nebraska for consecutive seasons. And yes, convince them that three isn't a charm.
The up-side to this is the staff itself. The guys on board have all shown themselves to be capable recruiters, at least in the early going. You certainly can't discount the wonderful job they did in playing catch-up at the end of last year. It wasn't just a good job, it was an amazing job considering how they literally had to start over from scratch in regards to contacts, some being new to the whole recruiting business entirely and of course, new faces to the school, hence the recruits.
They are on solid ground at least in terms of their own confidence in being able to do the job, the information pipeline they have established up to this point and what recruits are saying early about a lot of the staff members early on.
If you want to give a mid-recruiting season MVP to a coach for what they have managed to do in luring prep-athletes, I think you have to give co-awards to Barney Cotton and Bo Pelini. You can see by what a lot of the recruits are saying that Cotton's very existence is important to keeping them either going to NU or considering them and as for Pelini, he's turned what was once a wish of establishing once again some sort of pipeline into Florida a reality. Now, they just have to close the door.
It's a good trend thus far and for the future, if this staff can get beyond in two years what they are not likely to see in the next ten years combined, you've got the foundation for one incredible unit in bringing in some of the best high school ballers around the country and in some cases, beyond.
Adversity is supposed to make you stronger. If that's the case, by the time this is all said and done, this might very well be the strongest recruiting staff in Division 1-A..........period.
Time will tell.