Cornerback, Joe Manning couldn't wait to take his visit. At one point in the season, he said that Nebraska was his leader. Then, the offer from Florida State came and everyone was sure that Joe was most definitely Seminole bound.
After his official visit however, Joe is humming a somewhat different tune. "It was great." Joe said of his visit to Lincoln. "The whole visit was everything I hoped it would be."
Rodney Gallon echoed those sentiments. "I liked everything about the visit, except for the fact that I was tired most of the time." he said. "I got along with the players, the coaches and what I really liked about the place was the academic support. If you go there, you know you are going to get a good education."
Fellow Trojan, Calvin Darity chimed in with his brief take on his experience. "I thought it was great and I really liked what I saw about the math program." Calvin, being somewhat of a math whiz himself has been judging those school he is looking at a great degree by the mathematics programs available. He said of Nebraska's that it looked like it fit the bill and Danny Muy's father, Scott McPherson concurred. "The academic support there is like nothing around." he said. "Just the tradition and support they have their, I know that if Danny goes there, he's coming out with a degree."
One of the visitors was almost not one as rush end, Matt Owens (also of Lincoln high) was late in the radar of Nebraska, but thanks to some quick film-study, Matt was invited to join Calvin Darity, Danny Muy, Rodney Gallon and Joe Manning as they took their official visits into Big Red country.
He's glad he did.
"Man, that whole place was just really impressive." Matt said. "The weight machines that only they have, the other stuff and the academic support, you can just go on and on about the place."
Matt was a little tired like his teammate, Gallon, but considering the recent trek he had been on, you might understand why. Before he stepped on campus at UNL, he had just finished a road trip that crossed campuses including, Colorado, USC, UCLA and Louisville and finally, back to Florida and then, off to the Cornhusker state. "I'm just glad it is over for right now." he said. "I'll get some time to just rest up and think about everything I saw."
Another recruit that visited, this one not from Tallahassee was quarterback, Chris Owens, an all-purpose passer out of Thousand Oaks high school in Thousand Oaks, California. He to found the visit to be everything he was expecting and more. "I got along with everyone so well while I was there." Chris said. "The coaches, the players and those Florida boys that were visiting there to, it was a great experience."
Chris's experience with those "Florida Boys" won't be the last and that's not even because of speculation that some might end up at Lincoln along with Owens. No, they will face each other as opponents next month in the Cali/Florida Bowl, held annually between the states. It's a game that Chris is obviously looking forward to, but he's already gotten some advice from one of the parents that Chris only needed to be wary of one guy. "I told him (Chris) that he didn't have to worry too much about most of these guys, because they played offense." Scott McPherson said. "I pointed over to Rodney Gallon and said, ‘that's the guy you have to be watching for'."
McPherson recalled an instance where he actually saw Chris and Rodney eating together in the lunch room, thus prompting a slight grin from Muy's father, which was responded to by Gallon with a smile and,"I'm still going to blitz".
For a few of the players, what the campus and town had to offer was new, but the weather was almost something a couple of them hadn't seen. Snow as you might guess isn't particularly pervasive down in Seminole country, so for some, this was the first time they had ever seen the stuff, but it turned out to be the cause for much of the theme throughout the weekend. "It was one snowball fight after another." McPherson stated. "Everyone was trying to hit everyone and it was a lot of fun."
Fun for everyone, except maybe Calvin Darity's dad, who was mistakenly hit with one of the frozen projectiles. "I wasn't trying to hit him." Matt Owens said. "But, it just ended up getting him in the head."
"He wasn't real happy."
While all the recruits seemed very impressed, one parent actually remarked that for him, the experience was nothing short of the "perfect visit" and went on to state that even this coaching situation that looms at Nebraska couldn't take a thing away from who was there right now. "Coach Pelini has been a rock of stability." Scott McPherson said. "In all this craziness, he's been polite, honest and we couldn't have been happier with the experience. And, Barney Cotton is just one of the most kind and genuine people you will ever meet, I know that he and Danny really hit it off."
That was also another theme of the visit as the visitors felt like anything but while there. "After talking to Fabian (Washington), we just clicked." Joe Manning said. "Him, Josh (Bullocks) and Crunk, we just got along like we had been friends for a long time. That's probably what I will take away more is that they just made you feel like one of them the instant you got there."
The coaching situation did come up though as you would assume it should. With so many uncertainties inside the University of Nebraska, what recruits think about what's going on is quite obvious in it's importance.
As to the matter itself, the views spanned from cautiously optimistic to simply cautious, but waiting with anticipation. "I'm waiting for this to all play out." Matt Owens said. "They couldn't offer me a scholarship because nobody was an official head coach, so I am waiting for when that happens." Chris Owens finds himself in a similar situation. "It's basically wait and see right now." he said. "I liked everything about it and what we talked about concerning how they are going to do things in the future, so once they figure out what's going on there, I can put that into perspective with the other schools I am looking at."
Joe Manning made no bones about what he hoped would happen and what might happen is that indeed did materialize. "I am hoping it's Bo." he said. "If it's Bo, I think Nebraska could stand to get a few of the Florida boys, because that's all we talked about on the way back home."
"Everyone liked it, but I know that a lot has to do with coach Pelini. He's a great man and everyone on his team just loves him. He's the kind of coach you want to play for."
While Rodney Gallon reiterated much of what Manning stated, his thoughts on how Pelini's situation effects him was decidedly different. "Coach Pelini brings out the best in his players and he's a great person to know." Rodney said. "I won't make my decision though on what coach is there, because what I care about first is the school. I am going to get an education, so I want to look at the program not for what a coach can do, but what the program can do for me. It's really about everything."
We weren't able to catch up with Danny himself or Delbert Ferguson as of yet, but will in the next day or so. What we did get from those that were there was just another idea that the current staff has established itself as a significant if not incredible recruiting force.
The philosophy throughout a time where there is so much uncertainty, the staff at Nebraska has taken the best approach, really, the only approach they could. They have been honest in the message they have sent and players have responded with positives all around. Danny's father lauded Pelini and company for dealing so up-front in such a tumultuous time. "Everything about the relationship we have with Bo is positive and it's because of him." he said. "He's open, he's honest and he is absolutely a symbol of solidity there."
"When we as parents have to look at these coaches as surrogate parents to a degree, we have to be confident in that person that they are going to have our son's best interests in mind and will always be a positive influence in their life."
"That's the kind of man we think Bo is and his staff as well. That's why we like Nebraska so much."
Steve Ryan can be reached at email@example.com or 402-730-5619
For more on each recruit, additional quotes from them plus some information you may not know, check out the RED ZONE for comments on each.