Rarely have you seen the kind of anticipation that surrounds official visits at Nebraska. Especially this early in the year, that excitement usually waiting until around mid-December.
Well, it might be Western Illinois, but that hasn't stopped some of the biggest names in the country from coming in for Nebraska's first game of the season and that is just the beginning. Let's look at a few of that we know.
Averell Spicer - DE - Insiders' position ranking: #1 - visiting Sept. 3rd
The top rated defensive end in the country, wherever Spicer goes, you are sure to see recruitnicks follow in droves. Spicer may not be tall, but he makes up for that with freakish athleticism. Fast, quick off the ball and an edge-rusher extrordinaire, Spicer is one of the hottest commodities around. Believe it or not, Spicer thinks this year is a year to prove his worth now that he's considered near priceless.
Nebraska is Averell's only scheduled official visit which bodes well for NU. They are the first though and that's usually not good as Spicer has four more official visits to forget about what he saw in Lincoln. This staff seems to relish the thought, however, of being able to close the deal even when it's just starting to open, so the chances for this prospect remain good.
Marlon Lucky - RB - Insiders' position ranking: #5 - visiting Sept. 3rd
There are enough adjectives in the world that you lose track of all the ways to wash accolades over something you find worth describing in detail. Most of those that lean towards the side of the superlative though, they seem sometimes not quite enough.
Enter, Marlon Lucky.
Scintillating and smooth, physical and ferocious, Lucky is the kind of back that gives you just about every option in the book. He's that homerun type back that you want, a runner that when he gets the ball you wonder just what's going to happen. Simply put, he's a playmaker and one of the most special ones in the country.
Last time I talked to Marlon, it was USC and Nebraska with the lead. USC has Reggie Bush, so if it's a friendly depth chart, he's not going to find it there. Nebraska being his first official will have the first "real" chance to give Lucky the full "dog and pony" show and see if they can "wow" a possible commit out of this California star.
Florida could be waiting in the wings if that doesn't work out as splendidly as Lucky might hope but Nebraska stands a great chance with Marlon right now.
Rey Maualuga - LB - Insiders' position ranking - #5 - visiting Sept. 3rd
To talk to this kid, you can practically hear the ice in his veins. While he's fiery in his on-the-field demeanor, he approaches the game with a cool and calculated sense of what's got to be done and just how he's going to do it.
How Rey usually did it last year was in bunches, tallying almost 150 tackles on the year. Add 11 sacks and an interception, you got a "ballhawk" that can also get up-field.
And just add to that his freakish athleticism that allows him to run a 4.5 at almost 240 lbs., bench 385, squat 620 and jump an amazing 33 inches. While his stats from last year are gaudy enough, it's his future that has everyone drooling like crazy.
USC is the team to beat for Rey. There's little doubt about that. In fact, it will be up to everyone else to show Rey something he hasn't seen from the Trojans. Can Nebraska do that during the home-opener? Chances are, he'll see a crowd like he's probably not going to see all year, but it takes more than a mass of red to woo one of the best linebackers in the country.
This one will be interesting.
Phillip Dillard - LB - Insiders' position ranking - NR - visiting Sept. 3rd
It's hard to call Dillard a diamond in the ruff. You look at Rey Maualuga's stats and Dillard's don't compare too darn badly. As a Junior he tallied 101 tackles, 6 sacks, caused 3 fumbles (recovering two) and grabbed one interception. And as for physical potential, Dillard is approaching the freakish level himself, weighing in at almost 250 lbs., but still managing to run a 4.5 at a camp down at Tulsa. That's jaw-dropping and you can stop right there, but Dillard also jumps 32 ½ inches, benches 340 and squats 485.
No, Dillard isn't a diamond the ruff by any means, but that doesn't mean he won't be one of the biggest steals for NU.
James McKinney - DT - Insiders' position ranking - #8 - visiting Sept. 10th
The Michigan commit that still could end up being that, you didn't hear other schools complain when McKinney had a slight change of heart. Opting to look around a little bit more just to make sure, other schools came flocking to look at him.
Not hardly a surprise as McKinney is one heck of a solid athlete when you consider that he's playing the interior defensive position. James even caught some balls last year, totaling 290 yards on 14 catches from the tight end position, scoring two times in total.
He's Michigan's to lose - that seems pretty obvious and he states as much each time I talk to him. What can another school show him that Michigan already hasn't? That's the question each school has to answer and come the second week of the season for Nebraska, they'll get their crack at McKinney.
Chances are expectedly low for this Michigan standout as he's expected to be standing in Michigan once again.
Nic Harris - S/LB - Insiders' position ranking - NR - visiting Oct. 1st
I don't know how you can grab 10 interceptions in one season and still be unranked, but Nic Harris could evidently write a book. He's not underappreciated mind you, just not noticed until it was too late, at least for the initial rankings.
This kid has one style to him though and it's one that if you are an offensive player with the ball, you better not try and venture his way or as he likes to put it, "pain" is coming your way.
At 6'3" and over 210 lbs., as a safety, this has to make coaches froth at the mouth. A safety that can not only cover side-to-side, but has the size and hips to man-up on just about anyone on the field. The full package he is and that's why he's sporting over 20 offers in writing.
It would seem that for a Louisiana prep, he's LSU bound, only hasn't realized yet himself. Nic would disagree and from the sounds of it, Nebraska has a very legitimate shot. Much depends on his visit though as you would expect, but I have a feeling that staff knows where the red carpet is when needed.
Chris Scott - OL - Insiders' position rank - #10
An unbridled passion for the game, when the pads go on, a smile goes wide across Scott's face. A true man of the trenches, there's nothing better he likes than getting to the down position, rising up and then knocking someone flat on their duff.
He does that and well, piling up offers well into the double-digits and already, he's looking at cutting it back down.
The first official Scott scheduled was to the University of Nebraska and he said himself that for him, it was "the most important one". That bodes well for the Huskers and truthfully, they have a great shot at Scott. It's just a matter of him not committing before he makes that visit to see the Big Red.
I don't see that happening, so Callahan and company will get a chance to impress this Lovejoy standout even more.
Anthony Crosby - WR - Insiders' position ranking - NR - expected to visit Sept. 3rd
In a "West Coast" offense like good old Nebraska is about to run, you need wide receivers that are good after the catch. Not necessarily a group full of speed demons or even some that can make that crazy-Chris Carter-like catch. Just guys that are dependable at getting it, but doing something with it once it's in their grasp.
That's Anthony Crosby. Sure-handed, but sure-footed in addition, taking the ball and knowing how to get up-field. A young man that is quite proud and rightly so of the fact that he said he didn't drop a ball thrown to him all of his junior year.
That's gold for any coach to have those kinds of hands on the roster and you can bet that Nebraska's is gunning for him.
The Huskers have a shot as well at this California standout. In fact, a pretty darn good one at that. Should the Huskers impress enough at the home-opener if Crosby makes it over, could he be a future Husker right there?
Impossible to say for sure as you would guess, but Arizona State is the other main competition for Anthony and it seems that the Huskers have no less than a 50/50 shot at Crosby.
Ndamukong Suh - DT - Insiders' position ranking - #12 - tentative visit date scheduled for Oct. 2nd
You can't pronounce his name? No worries, because you will fully understand his game - Suh is a monster. Oh sure, he's mild-mannered off the field, well-spoken, courteous and friendly. Get him off the field and he laughs like a kid in elementary school when someone mentions what it's like knocking the holy crap out of someone on offense.
This 6'5" - 280 pounder is a really solid shot for Nebraska, maybe the best overall shot they have at DT, at least right now. And you'd be lucky to get this one as what Ndamukong has now isn't even scratching the surface of what he'll have a year or two down the road.
He's got up-side and a lot of it.
Callahan Bright - DT - Insiders' position ranking - #1 - possibly for the home-opener
You want to talk about homeruns? You want to talk about freaks? Meet Mr. Bright, shining fields with unsuspecting ball-carriers. On the "freak-scale", Bright tips them, crushes them and smiles wondering when you are going to bring him another to demolish.
6-2, 315 lbs. and a 4.9/40. Yeah, that's freakish. Benches 400 and squats 700. Yeah, that's freakish. How about 60 offers in writing? Ok, that's just crazy.
It's almost a sweepstakes for Bright, but Nebraska is right there in the mix. John Blake is performing his recruiting magic over in Pennsylvania where Bright calls home, hoping that he can get Callahan to call Lincoln home, well, for at least three or four years.
It's not certain if Callahan can make the season-opener, but there is a good probability that he'll make it to see the Big Red at one point of the year. If so, Nebraska's chances go up considerably.
And, they were already good.
Others probably scheduling visits to NU soon:
Montario Hardesty - Safety - Insiders' position ranking - #11
Hardesty is one of those mild-mannered guys that hits like a brick. He has double-digit offers and said in an interview I did with him last night that he is trying to set up an official with Nebraska running back coach, Randy Jordan. There's a lot of contenders for Hardesty, so Nebraska has their work cut out there, but Jordan being from Hardesty's neck of the woods isn't hurting.
D.J. Hord - WR - Insiders' position ranking - #10
6-1, 190, 4.4/40. That should tell you enough right there, but try a 10.39 100 meter time on top of that. Wheels to burn and good size for someone that might be able to go over the middle a time or two. Nebraska has a good shot at D.J. as well and he said recently that he's thinking about setting up an official to Nebraska as well.
Reggie Smith - S/CB - Insiders' position ranking (S) - #2
Having gotten to see this kid in person, he's a walking drool factory. That's what happens when football fans get to see this kid for real. He's going to be a major get for anyone and right now, Nebraska has a major shot at doing just that. Thus, I think an actual official being scheduled for the Huskers isn't long down the road.
Dan Doering - OL - Insiders' position ranking - #5
One of those guys that you just get on campus, throw on some pads and you have yourself an instant contributor if not someone you slot in as your number one. It's never that easy, but Doering has everything to do just that and just about anywhere in the country. He's got offers to match almost and Nebraska should be on their way to getting an official out of Doering. In fact, Doering might have some company in current Nebraska commit and fellow "biggun", Ada's very own, Craig Roark. That's a matched set Husker fans would love to see, so we'll see what happens in the end.
Eric Hedstrom - OL - Insiders' position ranking - #30
The question might not be whether Hedstrom will visit officially or not, but rather will he be a Husker already when he does. Having an unofficial already scheduled for this weekend, there's some anticipation that Eric could leave Lincoln clad in Scarlet and Cream. Should that happen, NU scores what I think is one of the unsung studs in this year's group of offensive linemen.
Orion Matthies - OL - Insiders' position ranking - NR
I'm going to say it right now, the hell with the rankings on this one. I fell in love with this kid at the Nebraska Summer camp and I don't care what the rankings say, this kid can flat out play. He's got an offer from NU and most in-staters think it's only a matter of time. With the offer from Nebraska though you can bet that others could be on his tail to see just what Nebraska saw before anyone else. For Nebraska's sake, hopefully they can get Orion sewn up before any of that stuff occurs.
Tommy Trott - TE - Insiders' position ranking - #6
I know that Husker fans don't have to look too far back where it seemed like tight ends were literally coming out of their ears. Those days are gone now and while super-stud Matt Herian has two years to play, there's health issues behind him. That's no doubt been a recruiting tool for the Husker coaches as they try to lure some of the better tight ends from around and you can't lure the best without taking a look at Tommy Trott.
Trott likes Nebraska and might visit NU, but Nebraska has to beat out the likes of Florida, LSU, Miami, etc. and so on to try and get a look. I think they could do that, but getting him is going to be tough.
There's a ton more and believe it or not, before the season we are going to give you our list of all 56 players we think will officially visit NU. That's right and 56 is the number the NCAA allows each school to host for any given season.
That's what is coming up, so what you've seen...............well, we're just warming up.