A "Skinny" Editorial - The visit that wasn't?

In this version of the SKINNY, I am going to give you a few rundowns of some of guys as Nebraska heads into crunch-time, but the biggest question right now seems to be as big a question as it's ever been. Who is and isn't visiting this weekend? Believe it or not, the answer is as cryptic as the question itself.

Stephen Green is visiting. No, wait. He's not. Jason Roberts is visiting. No, wait. He's not either. If you ask the players themselves if they are visiting, they will tell you no, but the rumors and stories persist that these players are indeed coming to Lincoln today, all this amidst a veil of secrecy to avoid drawing the attentions of the schools each is committed.

I personally talked to Stephen Green last night and with a brief chuckle as if he's been asked this question a hundred times already (that is probably not far off), he said he wasn't. Of course, I tormented him with the almost insulting question, "are you sure?". Stephen being the good sport he's always been said, yes, he was quite sure that Lincoln wasn't a destination of his in the near future.

Jason Roberts not only said that he wasn't visiting, but said that the biggest reason he wouldn't consider going to Nebraska was the roster and the fact that it listed some 20 or so players at his position. "I saw that and it's not like I don't believe in myself, but you don't go 9-3 playing the teams they do and not have some darn good players at every position." Jason said. "The coaches said that a lot of them were walk-ons and that they would be cutting that down a lot, but there's not a lot of time to look at those things myself." Currently, Jason is a commit to Washington State and Green is pledged to the North Carolina Tarheels, home of Marvin Sanders, the new D.C. for N.C., Sanders not being re-hired at the University of Nebraska.

Hmmm, me thinks the plot will thicken.

Was Jeremy Perry here? Another question that seems to have gone without an answer, but Jeremy says that he wasn't at Nebraska nor will he be. "They contacted me, but there's no time to look around now." he said. "It's about a week now, so I have to go with the teams I got." Those teams are Colorado, Hawaii, Michigan State and Oregon State.

Ok, so back to the visitors this weekend or should I say, the "alleged" visitors. Raymond Williams seems to be one that is actually on the list of those confirmed, a refreshing tag to attach to a name for this weekend of cryptic tourists. Along with him, Lance Brandenburgh, should he be able to avoid basketball for a week will also be amongst the secret assemblage. Rory Johnson, Jeremy Coley, Cleodis Floyd, Rocky Hinds and Hinds' teammate, Jared Billups, also would appear to be certified for delivery come tomorrow.

I know I can hear you breathing a major sigh of relief seeing Hinds' name there, still amongst those coming in. Callahan even getting that young man to visit should be considered a victory in and of itself, because what California kid is going to visit a place that's currently 8 degrees below zero with snow forecasted in the future just because he needed something to do?

Nobody, that's who.

Well, if you look at the group we believe are certain to arrive, that's pretty good. So, what's with the others coming in or those that are supposedly coming in?

Josh Hargis, Clavorris Sibley, Brandon Breazell, Daryll Richard. Yet more names to throw onto the fire. I think Hargis has committed on every visit he's been on, so why not take another trip. Clavorris Sibley feeling the momentum from a solid ACT score could see his horizons opening anew, so ok, there's some logic there. Brandon Breazell, well, once it's made official that Terrence Nunn is back into the Husker fold, he might not be as attracted to Nebraska as he once was. As for Richard, he's another I talked to that flat out said he wasn't coming, wasn't interested and is quite happy with his final three of Colorado, Georgia Tech and Miami.

The logic behind not telling anyone about who's visiting, especially this late in the game is if they are commits. That applies with Roberts, Green, Hargis, Coley and depending on who you talk to, Hinds is a soft verbal to USC.

With Hargis, again, considering the course his recruiting season has taken, him taking a visit isn't an aberration, so no need for any sort of cryptic recruiting there. Coley's recruiting came at such a sudden and furious pace, NU trying to lure him from Purdue, it hit the mainstream attention of everyone not long after the maelstrom ensued. Hinds is considered a soft verbal by some and by others, not a verbal at all, so no need for any backdoor espionage there as well.

That leaves Green and Roberts.

So, you think that if nobody brings their name up, that gives Nebraska some sort of advantage in recruiting them, NU being able to get them up there for a visit before either school can call or visit each and tell them that if they go, their offers would be pulled.

Purdue tried that with Coley. Coley is still coming and Purdue's offer is still there. You want to know why? It's because they are solid players. The same can be said for Roberts and Green.

Still, nobody knowing might be considered at least some sort of advantage, if only to get each on campus before the other school has a chance to contact them and try to talk them out of making the trip.

Well, if they are indeed coming, right now they are getting ready or are already underway.

Head coach, Bill Callahan has shown in his brief time at the helm that the word "commit" is exactly what it is. It's a verbal agreement between individuals and as any fan of any college knows after following the recruiting game for even a brief time, it's a tenuous agreement at best.

Even the most loyal, honest and dependable young man out there is as prone to changing their mind as those that are simply playing the game. Even those that when they were juniors committed with stars in their eyes, happy to simply get an offer, once they learned that they were better than they gave themselves credit, oh how the mind and body start to wander.

Callahan's motives have been obvious as coming to Nebraska, he had three weeks to take a class of 13 that dwindled by 3 not long after his arrival and boost it back up to a size that would not only address depth issues, situations of need, but in there he might actually be able to score a big upset.

That means commits. This late in the game, Callahan simply had no choice. He and his still undermanned staff had to go out there at a pace probably never seen at NU and recruit anybody they were after and lost, were after and could still get and some they had never talked to at all.

Purdue coaches might be a little bitter right now considering the fact that Nebraska is trying to take one of theirs. The big bad bully, Nebraska is coming in, flexing it's tradition-rich muscle and taking players away that they had thought were shall we say, "in the bag". How dare they exhibit such unmitigated gall.

I wonder if Joe Tiller would be so noble had he come to Purdue with three weeks left before signing day, having to almost double the size of his class and with quality players at that.

That's the issue in the end.

Not even one day after Bill Callahan arrived would it have taken to fill the Nebraska class up to 25, 26 or even 30 if he felt so inclined. He could have paid attention to every position he needed and filled each with the appropriate numbers. Would they have been the players he ultimately wanted? No, of course not. Even now, the head coach has probably reached on a few, but scoring prospects like Lydon Murtha show you that he's trying to get the very best players he can get in the very demanding time constraints he has.

Quality over quantity and not even a month to go before signing day, that means you are going to go after kids other teams already have. You know what I say? Big deal. Don't blame Nebraska for going after them, blame the teams they are committed to for not doing enough to keep them in the first place.

It may irk you, disturb you or flat out piss you off that Callahan is going after kids that have committed to other schools. Were this the BEGINNING of recruiting season, you might have a decent beef. Now, it's a no-holds-barred run for the finish and woe betide the coaching staff that hasn't locked away their recruiting class and thrown away the key.

The last weekend of recruiting for Nebraska is much like the first week Callahan arrived and yes, that was only two or so weeks ago. It's a flurry, melee and a hotfoot to February 4th. One thing it's not though is a mystery.

Sure, some of those aforementioned names may indeed be coming, but I will tell you one thing and you can bank on this is that if ANY of them do come and ultimately de-commit from other programs, it won't be because Nebraska's treachery was supreme, it will be because it's Nebraska and there's not many programs that are still back-ordering what the Huskers have fully in stock.

Purdue or Nebraska? Washington State or Nebraska? North Carolina or Nebraska?

In this instance, it's history, not mystery that wins.

Steve Ryan can be reached at huskerconnection@neb.rr.com or 402-730-5619

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