"It's been a day certainly of anticipation for all of us … who put together this class," Solich said, uttering perhaps the greatest understatement of this recruiting season. "Certainly the coaches have worked very hard to put together this class, a lot of miles of traveling…" and maybe a galaxy of emotions.
If you are looking for the start of this emotional rollercoaster, why start at the beginning, the last three months have been enough. Haloti Ngata drops in during for a visit, hands up his verbal commitment and then flakes out. First it's the Huskers, then BYU, then maybe Utah and finally Oregon completing a most dizzying, sometimes sadly pathetic, super-prep soap opera.
December saw the rejection from verbal commit Ronald McClendon, an all-everything junior-college running back. Throw in some lukewarm reactions from recruits and a heartbreaking non-commit from Ohio linebacker Mike D'Andrea in January, and the holiday season was one to forget.
But later that month, some big names came through. Louisiana offensive lineman Jemayel Phillips committed and Omaha Central back David Horne's verbal bolstered the sagging hopes of the Husker faithful by spurning Michigan.
"If you come in with an attitude of wanting things handed to you, of not having a great work ethic of not wanting to go to class…then that is going to mar your start here at Nebraska," Solich said. "We are very confident these guys gave got a great attitude and are ready to move forward and have a great career here at Nebraska."
Matt Herian: Tight end
Pierce, Neb. (Pierce High)
6' 4", 215
On his career, Herian had 24 touchdown catches and 2,386 yards at Pierce including 10 scores this season for 786 yards on state-finals qualifier. An all-state honoree in basketball, Herian has exceptional speed with a 10.7 second hand-held 100 meter dash and a 37-inch vertical leap. A member of The Omaha World-Herald's Super Six in 2001 and was named to PrepStar's Midlands' Regional Team.
Solich on Herian: "Excellent height, excellent frame…he's got very good speed and good hands the kind of tight end you can flex out in the slot."
Herian was a former Nebraska camper and chose the Huskers' offer over those of Iowa and Iowa State.
David Horne: Running back
Omaha, Neb. (Omaha Central High)
A consensus top-five running back nationally, Horne follows former Huskers Ahman Green and DeAntae Grixby as modern-era backs from football factory Central. In 2001, Horne led rushed for 1,467 yards on just 183 carries and 22 touchdowns, both Class A bests in 2001. An All-American by SuperPrep and PrepStar, Horne is also a state-qualifying sprinter with legitimate 4.4 speed.
Solich on Horne: Always in a running back, you look for a guy that's able to make the big play and David has been that kind of guy for Omaha Central and we feel will be that kind of a back here. Certainly we are excited to get David in here and start working with him."
Horne wasd recruited by Colorado, Michigan, Iowa, Iowa State and Notre Dame.
Mark LeFlore: Wide receiver
Omaha, Neb. (Omaha Central High)
5' 11" 177
LeFlore was also a World-Herald Super Sixer and a nationally acclaimed receiver, ranking 11th on SuperPrep's All-American list. In the last two seasons, LeFlore has caught 83 passes 1,607 yards and 19 touchdowns. Also returned three kicks and two punts for scores. He was also the first commitment to the current class and a Nebraska camper. LeFlore's 4.47 40-yard dash was the second fastest ever recorded on Nebraska's FieldTurf field in Cook Pavillion. His 2,300 score in the performance index is second only to Ahman Green's. LeFlore was recruited by Colorado, Iowa, Tennessee, Iowa State and Wisconsin.
Solich on LeFlore: "We feel he has a legitimate chance to play very, very early at Nebraska so we are very excited to get him in."
Kurt Mann: Offensive line
Grand Island, Neb. (Grand Island High)
6' 4" 263
The All-State and Super-State honoree played both defensive and offensive lines and was named to the SuperPrep Midlands' Team. An academic heavyweight with a 4.03 grade-point, Mann also plays basketball and throws the shot. Mann committed in June of 2001 and chose the Huskers over Iowa State and Stanford.
Solich on Mann: "He will be a big young man, kind of what you look for in an offensive lineman, and really has very good movement."
Jay Moore: Rush end
Elkhorn, Neb. (Elkhorn High)
6' 5" 255
An All-American for SuperPrep and PrepStar, Moore was listed as SuperPrep's number 7 "Jumbo Athlete" and the 12th best defensive end by Student Sports. In 2001, he rushed for 822 yards on 92 carries (8.8 yards per carry) in only five games. While at the Big Red Football School, he recorded 2,040 points in the performance index, the fourth best ever. Moore never visited any school except Nebraska but received attention from Iowa, Iowa State and Missouri.
Solich on Moore: "Jay could really play on either side of the ball for us?he wants to start as a rush end for us and that is fine with us. We think he will develop into a great one."
Cory Timm: Offensive line
Yutan, Neb. (Yutan High)
6' 5" 294:
A late pick up, Timm is the younger brother of Nebraska sophomore pitcher Dustin Timm and a first-team All-Nebraska honoree. Timm also plays basketball and participates in track.
Timm is an honor roll student who plans o majoring in pre-medicine at Nebraska. He decommitted from Colorado State in order to play for Nebraska. Wyoming and New Mexico State also made a bid for Timm.
Solich on Timm: "Once you piece Cory's film throughout the year, you get a feeling what he's about?he will just be an outstanding player."
Dane Todd: Fullback
Lincoln, Neb. (Southeast High)
5' 11" 225
Dubbed by his coach as a devastating blocker, Todd made Super-State and All-State while playing running back and linebacker for perennial powerhouse Southeast.
Perhaps the brainiest recruit with a 4.488 grade point, Todd mulled offers form Duke and Northwestern as well as Iowa and Iowa State before choosing the Huskers.
Ronnie Smith: Wingback
Carson, Calif. (Nathaniel Narbonne High)
5' 9" 160
Another late-date commit, Smith only started playing football in earnest as a senior in high school. But his 4.3 40-yard dash speed made him a factor on the field and he was named to the honorable-mention Las Vegas Sun Super 11 team in his only full season. Smith chose Nebraska over UNLV and Kansas State.
Solich on Smith: "He has great quickness and very good speed. He is the kind of runner, without question, that you have a difficult time bringing down and making contact with."
Curt Dukes: Quarterback
Stony Point, N.C. (Newton-Conover)
6' 1" 205
Dukes, already enrolled at NU, is the heir-apparent, next generation quarterback who is already drawing comparisons to Scott Frost for his size and toughness. In 2001, he rushed for 1,023 yards and threw for 951 yards and made SuperPrep's All-American list. Dukes run the 40 in 4.4 and was a former Big Red School attendee.
Dukes chose the Huskers over Duke, North Carolina, Notre dame, North Carolina State and Penn State.
Solich on Dukes: "He reminds you an awful lot of Scott Frost in terms of his size and strength when he runs the ball."
Brand Greeson: Defensive line
High Point, N.C. (Central)
According to coaches, Greeson will get a long look to contribute right away. SuperPrep's 14th ranked player totaled at least 150 tackles, 10 sacks, and 30 tackles for losses and five pass breakups per season for all four years in high school.
Greeson joins former NU tight end Eric Alford as the only other Husker to ever come from High Point Central.
Solich on Greeson: "He has that kind of strength and size to be a dominating inside lineman. He has great feet and movement for a guy his size. We'll give Brandon a look right away."
Jermaine Leslie: Offensive line
Weatherford, Texas (Weatherford)
6' 2" 298
This powerlifter was the 76th player on SuperPrep's Super-Southwest team despite only playing one full year on the interior line. Leslie can squat 625 pounds and bench press 400 and clocked a 4.8 40-yard dash. Leslie, who received mail from 72 schools, counts extended family in Lincoln and never looked elsewhere. Texas, Texas A&M, Colorado State, SMU and Oklahoma State all recruited Leslie.
Solich on Leslie: I think he is the kind of player you look for in or scheme of things. He is very physical and when people put someone on him, he'll knock him off the ball. His biggest asset is his power, strength and movement."
Demorrio Williams: Outside (WILL) linebacker
Longview, Texas (Beckville, H.S./Kilgore College)
6' 2" 200
Williams, the Huskers only junior college commit in 2002, is also enrolled and will be eligible for spring practices. For Kilgore in 2001, Williams recorded nine sacks, two picks and 127 tackles; good enough for honorable-mention junior college All-American.
He has been clocked at 4.6 in the 40 and has tremendous desire according to former coach Jim Rieves. Williams was also recruited by Texas, Colorado, Florida and Texas A&M.
Solich on Williams: "He's got excellent speed, quickness and toughness and is an excellent young man."
Fabian Washington: Cornerback
Bradenton, Fla. (Bayshore High)
One of the top defensive backs coming out of Florida this season, the SuperPrep All-American captured the 16th-best player honor from SuperPrep's Dixie Top 90 list. As a senior, he recorded 60 tackles, 14 pas breakups and four interceptions.
From the same hometown as former Huskers Tommie Frazier and Leslie Dennis, Washington has recorded a sub-4.4 40-yard dash and was a Florida All-State selection. He chose Nebraska over Miami, Fla., Iowa, Auburn, North Carolina, Michigan State, Florida, Georgia and Florida State.
Solich on Washington: "He is the kind if corner we have become accustomed to in terms of great speed. He's got excellent leaping ability and the ability to play people one-on-one. Could also be a dominant offensive player."
Grant Miller: Running back/linebacker
Peabody, Mass. (Veterans Memorial High)
6' 1" 216
A three-year starter on both offense and defense, Miller played both linebacker and fullback for Veterans. In 2001, Miller rushed for 1,150 yards, caught 26 passes for 308 yards and scored 16 touchdowns despite missing three games.
As a linebacker, he recorded 50 tackles, eight sacks, one pick and four fumble recoveries as a member of the Greater Boston Leagues All-Star team. A multisport athlete, Miller bench pressed 190 pounds 37 times and pulled a truck around for conditioning.
He picked the Huskers over USC, Penn State and Boston College.
Solich on Miller: "There is no question he has great running abilities and instincts, toughness and speed. We feel Grant will fill any number of areas for us."
Antoine Bagwell: defensive back
East Lansing, Mich. (East Lansing)
5' 11" 180
A pure speed athlete and surprise addition to this class, Bagwell has the potential to play on either side of the ball. A first-team All-State selection in the Detroit Free Press in 2001. Another multisport athlete, Bagwell was voted most valuable player his junior and senior seasons.
Bagwell was thought to be a non-qualifier but may be a partial or full qualifier this season.
Solich on Bagwell: "If you find a player that has great skill and talent and wants to be a defensive back, then you really have something."
Jemayel Phillips: offensive line
Winnfield, La. (Winnfield High)
6' 6" 330
The self-styled "Big Smooth" possesses almost mythical physical gifts. At 330 pounds, Phillips is the biggest player in this class yet still runs a 5-second 40, a 4.15 shuttle and has 27-inch vertical leap. Phillips was 22nd in SuperPrep's Southwest team and PrepStar's Southeast Region Team.
Phillips previously committed to Northeast Louisiana and Auburn but changed his mind in part because NU's "excellent grade point average flipped my mom out." Phillips was a Big Red School camper for the last two seasons.
Solich on Phillips: "He's an exceptionally large human being. He has got excellent feet and excellent movement and had an excellent season."
Adam Carriker: Rush end
Kennewick, Wash. (Kennewick High)
6' 6" 243
A former quarterback, Carriker also played rush end and ranked number six on SuperPrep's Far West list. As a defender he recorded 15 sacks, five pass breakups, four forced fumbles and 25 tackles for loss in his only season as a defensive end.
Carriker's father is a Hastings, Neb., native and Carriker has extended family in the area. Naturally, Adam Carriker has been "watching and rooting for Nebraska ever since I was a kid." A former Big Red School camper, Carriker picked NU over UCLA, Idaho, Colorado, Oregon State, Oregon and Washington State.
Isaiah Fluellen: Wide receiver
Ramstein Germany (Ramstein America)
6' 1" 175
Possibly Nebraska's first commit from Europe, Fluellen caught 28 passes for 629 yards in his senior season at an U.S. dependents' high school. In only six games, Fluellen scored two touchdowns on punt returns in 2000, he scored 11 touchdowns in eight games.
As a sprinter, Fluellen won three gold medals at the Division I track championships in Europe winning the 10o meters with a time of 10.5 seconds, the 400 meters in 46.7 and the 200 in 21.2. Fluellen will also compete in track at NU. He considered an offer from Maryland and was recruited by Missouri and Auburn.