Nebraska doesn't appear to be a solid favorite for any stud tight ends, how much of an emphasis will the staff put on recruiting tight ends from here on out?
would say that Nebraska would be a leader for Michael McNeil right now. However,
I have been hearing that TE, as odd as this might be, isn't a huge priority for
this year. I don't know what the thought process is behind this, but that is
what I am hearing. I do know that the coaching staff thought A LOT of David
Harvey when he was at camp and he just needs a year to get physically ready to
play. Tomerlin will be there this year, Herian may miss the season, I was
half-way impressed with Phillips and Sievers, but Mueller needs to step up.
Don't be shocked if McNeil or Jordan McMichael could be your tight ends in this
class or none taken at all.
Brandon: I think quite a bit because
the tight end is such a focal point of the WCO, plus we aren't really brimming
with top talent and who knows when or even if Matt Herian will come back? I can
see Cody Glenn working as an H-back this year to take some pressure off of
Justin, but we need legit guys at the position, too. It would behoove us to get
either one REALLY good tight end (Konrad Reuland) plus another above average
tight end (McNeil?) or two to three above average tight ends, maybe one of those
being supposedly average but with good potential.
Justin: I think
we will attempt to secure a solid tight end prospect and if we can't get one, we
might very well move on to another position. We have a lot of holes and there
appear to be a lot of players interested in other positions. Another possibility
is finding a three to play two guy out of the junior college
Steve: If you've got one of the better tight ends in the
country you use them, but I think this staff looks at that position as one of
luxury, not necessity. I haven't noticed that they are thinking this is an
urgent need, nor do I think that if they had the wideouts they wanted, this
would be a position, that at least as a serious scoring threat from outside the
twenty, is a position that they will rely on a great deal.
The west coast
offense has seen a variety of variations; some utilizing the tight end a great
deal like San Francisco and others not relying as much on them such as Detroit.
I see this staff viewing the position as one that will first be blockers
with the ability to do something in the short field, but I doubt that they will
go out of their way to find a serious playmaker at the spot. If there is one
position where I think this staff would feel just as comfortable developing
players as recruiting it, it's this one.
It happens every year, no
matter who the coach was. Nebraska will hand out offers to players after they
see them perform in summer camps. Name five players who have the best chance to
pick up an offer based off good performances.
I do not know who the list has on it I will tell you who I am guessing, if they
camp, could earn offers this summer:
1. Cole Bunner – Much has been said
about his performance in KC. All he needs to do is follow up that performance
with one similar and he will get an offer.
2. Derrick Russell – Pretty much
ditto the Bunner comments.
3. Tyler Bullock – This is an athletic guy that
could play a number of positions for Nebraska. If he comes in and shows
favorably expect an offer.
4. Scott Krehbiel – He doesn't have an offer, not
even a verbal one, from Nebraska. He was told to do well in camp and you might
get an offer. He has everything to gain from a strong performance.
Tarpinian – Has the height and speed to be a safety at the next level. I am
thinking that Nebraska will need a look at his hips and aggressiveness as a
BONUS – There are a couple of very fine looking OL coming in from
Illinois and another from MN that I know about, but haven't been reported
anywhere. I won't say what their names, but I will tell you that all of them are
in need to get evaluated and could get an offer.
Russel, Cole Bunner, Tyler Bullock, Sean McWhirter, Jason
Steve: There's going to be more than a few that walk out
with offers, but the question will then be about Nebraska sealing them up. I
would expect that Nebraska is going to come out of this camp with more than a
few commits and some of them may very well be those that are offered based on
what they did at the camp coming up. Here's some that I think could get offered,
but if they are, Nebraska has a real shot at getting them in the end.
Derrick Russell – he performed well at the Nike combine in Manhattan, KS and if
he does so again here in Lincoln, I think he's got an offer coming. He's very
athletic, tall, lanky and quick, but the offense he's been a part of in Omaha
wasn't made for a star wide receiver. He'll get a lot more opportunities at
Lincoln North Star, but this is his time to shine. I think that if he shows at
in Lincoln, he walks out with an offer.
2, Cole Bunner of Elkhorn Mt.
Michael is another that I think is on the cusp of getting an offer. If he can
show good quickness, feet and the foundations of what Wagner can build upon,
he's got the size, frame and potential to be a solid prospect.
McWhirter – The son of a former Husker, there's a certain affection with wanting
to go the way that dad went. McWhirter could do that if he can make it to the
camp and show that what he lacks in possibly the ideal size, he makes up for in
sheer athleticism. Sean is a bit of a ‘tweener' when it comes to playing either
RE or LB, so what he has to show is that he has the speed to compete. If he can
do that, he could walk out of there with another school to choose
4. Scott Krehbiel – A good sized offensive lineman, Krehbiel's not
totally under the radar where Nebraska is concerned, but he's a big enough
question mark on film that NU needs to see him up close. The Husker staff made a
couple of mistake offering kids on film last year, that they realized were
mistakes once they arrived. Scott is a kid they can run through all the drills
firsthand and because of his size and quickness, if he does well in the
individual drills, where he's going to have a ton of competition, he's got a
great shot at a ship.
5. Ryan Mallet – This young man is kind of a
no-brainer as Nebraska will be one of many offers he's going to get in the
future. I think, though, that like A.J. Wallace, the Huskers are going to want
to be on the doorstep of this one as he did remarkably well last year and should
be even better this time around. This kid is a stud, period. There's no doubt
he'll get an offer, but it's going to be exciting to see him if he makes it up
here once more.
Will Freeman and Holt remain committed until Signing
Bryan: Yes. Freeman is an early enrollee and I have a
feeling that Freeman knows what kind of attention and what he could possibly be
after 4-5 years in the system and with Dave Kennedy. Holt will follow suit and
knows that Freeman, Beck and even Taylor NEED a big, jumping WR to catch that
corner fade route. He's a must have.
Brandon: I'm about 99.9% sure
that they will simply because when I interviewed them the day of their
commitments, they both told me they same thing: We're tired with the process,
we're finished with it. Kind of says it all, doesn't it? The fact is, Holt and
Freeman found a staff, a city and a campus they love, so why mess with it? Josh
has been to Notre Dame, he's been around the block, he knows other staffs and
nobody was able to beat Nebraska.
Holt was offered by Nebraska WAY
early. We showed him the love. We showed him we didn't care what other schools
thought about him. WE wanted him and we proved that over and over again. Plus,
the "Package Deal" works out for us this way. If one commits and the other
commits, then theoretically, unless one de-commits, the other probably wouldn't
anyway. Holt and Freeman love Nebraska so I doubt they ever stray. Though,
honestly, I doubt that stops 2-3 rumors swirling between now and
Justin: I definitely think both of these guys are about
as solid as they come. I have known for some time along with everybody else that
Freeman would end up a Husker. Nobody pays their way for that long of a trip
five times unless they are investing for the future. Holt seems enamored with
the prospects of our offense and I am not even worried about the pact that was
made. It really didn't have as much of an effect as some might be led to
believe. Holt doesn't have a lot of great offers at this point and he seemed to
want to leave California. These guys are Husker red all the way until signing
Steve: As long as Nebraska sticks to their side of the deal,
Freeman will stick to his. Like Beck before him, Freeman is the kind of kid that
when he says it, it's basically done. The same goes for Holt, but I think that
there are strong enough ties here with not just Freeman, but Congdon and
everything else, Holt is in, but he'll have to wait until probably June of next
year, while Josh is coming in January to enroll early at the
Should Nebraska look to the walk-ons for a QB this
Bryan: I am sure they will, but will it matter? They
tried to get Dan Gorski with a preferred walk-on and he chose the education and
the same offer from Notre Dame. Now, Enderle could be a similar situation this
year for Nebraska. They might have filled their quota, but have a good in-state
player growing up in their own backyard. I am sure that Nebraska will try and
keep him giving him the same option as Gorski. Until Nebraska is back though,
in-state kids given less than an offer will continue to leave the state for
"better" opportunities. When Nebraska is back though, we will continue to
harvest out walk-ons that could have taken scholarships
Brandon: Depends. The recruiting process is a long and
arduous one and much like last year, we could end up taking two scholarship
quarterbacks. Freeman's there obviously and there may be another highly-touted
high school QB or even a JUCO. If that's the case, no, there is no more room at
the Inn and we need bodies elsewhere, thank you.
If that is not the case,
however, why the heck not? There's some solid prospects in Nebraska this year,
for a PASSING team, no less. If they can come in, perform and give us solid
depth, I don't care if they come from Cracked Elbow, Nebraska with a population
of three families and the stop sign. If the kid can ball, he can
Justin: I would love for Nebraska to get Nathan Enderle as a
walk-on this season. I firmly believe that a successful scholarship plan will be
to take one quarterback every season and hope to get a respectable in-state kid
who will walk on. Enderle fits that bill to a "t" and could eventually produce
at a high level.
Steve: The walk-on ranks are perfect for Nebraska
right now and I think that you now have the luxury of being able to groom
someone into the system. We all remember the great Nebraska offensive lines,
loaded with juniors and fifth year seniors. When you have depth, you can groom
younger players into the system and by the time they are juniors, you might have
turned a walk-on into a star. There's always going to be good prospects out
there, if you are willing to take the time to show them the way.
Nebraska still need another injection of even more junior college players or was
last year enough?
Bryan: No, they will need some more, but not
as many as last year. Last year's crop of JUCO talent was for immediate results.
No one wants another 5-6. Not the coaches. Not Steve Pederson and certainly not
the Nebraska faithful.
The injection that Nebraska received this year is
enough to slow the bleeding, but ultimately the rest of the bleeding lies in the
quality of depth. There are a position or two though that you need to land
junior college help for this year.
I would be looking for JUCO help for
the following positions:
1. Safety – We lose the top two.
Tackle – We lose the top two and top two backups will be SRs next year.
Tight End – Depending on whether or not Herian's injury isn't just season ending
last year and this year, but career ending.
4. Cornerback – Always looking
for help here.
5. Offensive Tackle – if for some reason we can't get 2 more
legit OT's, look for Nebraska to take a look at the JC route. Fenuki is a guy
that could enroll at semester and is being considered highly by
Brandon: I think it would be foolish for us not to
explore the options of JUCO players every year. There's simply far too much
talent available out there not to. What we don't want to do is become dependant
on them or you have what is commonly referred to as "Kansas State Syndrome".
You're trying to patch up holes so fast that by the time a leak is fixed, you've
got two more. I honestly don't know how HCBS does it.
Now, JUCO players,
traditionally, have been used when there is an area of extreme need. Well, I can
think of a few areas of extreme need such as the defensive backfield, offensive
tackle and defensive tackle. I don't think too many folks would be upset and we
picked up, say, the best JUCO safety in America or a prospect with the potential
of a Zack Bowman for the safety slots.
What you have to do on the back
end of that is recruit well in the high school ranks at the same time, so you've
got to look to guys like Jonas Mouton who can come in, learn for a bit and then
get ready to kick butt when the time comes calling. This year, you'll probably
see a few JUCOs, but nowhere near what we had last year and following this year,
I wouldn't mind 1-3 of them per year on average.
Justin: Well I
certainly don't think Nebraska will take near as many junior college players as
last year, but I feel 3-4 are still a very likely possibility. They will all be
highly touted guys though.
Steve: The first thing you have to
realize is that within the junior college ranks, like Mike Rozier once was,
there are guys you don't pass on, no matter what. Defensive end Louis Holmes is
one of those as you wouldn't immediately say that the rush end position is
something you desperately need, but this kid is a certified freak. You don't
pass on him no matter how deep you are, because all he can do is make you better
at the position.
Nebraska does need more help, though, the secondary
glaring still, even with the guys coming in, because you don't know how each
will pan out. NU has already gone five for five with their junior college
players this year, but don't expect that trend to continue.
Even if Bowman and Wilson do what they are supposed to
do, you have starters, but there's still very little experience in depth.
The O-line will be one position that will always and I do mean always be
a place that you can insert junior college players, because you need so many
players just to get a quality starting group, it takes even more to establish
some depth. The offensive line isn't anywhere close to that right now, so if you
are going to get junior college players, this is one position where I would be
throwing them in, in bunches.
Which junior college players do you
think start this year, no matter what point of the
Bryan: Obviously you have Taylor who will roll this
season as the starter from Maine to the bowl game. I believe that Tomerlin
brings too much athleticism to not be looked at immediately for playing time and
ultimately to start. Brock Pasteur is going to get an early look. Frantz Hardy
should be penciled in as the starter from the X position. I believe that there
are situations where you will see Barry Cryer and Ola Dagundero both get a lot
of time or even start a game depending on the package that we are in. Steve
Octavien should be the starter at WILL. Zach Bowman and Brian Wilson should be
our CB starters this fall. The wildcards to me are Dontrell Moore and Tyrell
Spain. Spain could make an impact at S, but I think that he will stay at WR
especially since Leon Jackson will be in Lincoln now. Moore needs to learn the
discipline of the defense and I think will be a starter at MIKE or SAM sometime
- Justin Tomerlin – Will start at TE and
needs at the very least a serviceable year.
- Frantz Hardy – Ladies and
gentlemen, your starting burner WR.
- Brock Pasteur – I expect him to nail
down a tackle slot.
- Ola Dagunduro – The guy is just too good to keep off
the field. I suspect he overtakes a starting slot at some point, possibly
immediately and gives us an excellent rotation.
- Steve Octavien – Starting
LB from day one.
- Zac Taylor – Duh. Check the cover of the new BRR magazine.
Need I say more?
- Zack Bowman – Absolute FREAK. Yeah, he'll play from day
Justin: I think Zach Bowman has a chance to be very special
and he will start from day one. Frant Hardy will also start at WR because the
coaches have been dying for a playmaker like him. Zac Taylor is obviously going
to start at QB and his buddy Justin Tomerlin will start at TE because of Herian
redshirting. I also believe Steve Octavien and Brock Pasteur will start at their
positions. Wow, I didn't realize how many starters I think we will have be juco
Steve: Zac is the gimmee of the group as I think that no
matter how good Harrison Beck is, realistically, he just can't take the field as
a starter at least until conference play. And, even that would be amazing.
Bowman and Wilson are odds-on favorites, simply because right now, the
cornerback position is in disarray with the lack of experience and depth.
I like both Dagunduro and Cryer to be able to start if need be, even
though I think that Adams and Smith will hold down those spots for the
Steve Octavien will start somewhere. If it's outside, middle or
will, he's going to start; of that you can be certain.
The hope is that
Brock Pasteur and Jordan Picou start, because that's what they are here to do. I
see Pasteur as having the best chance right now, simply because I think that
between himself and Picou, he's the one that is physically ready to go. In a
perfect world, I would see him take the left tackle position, letting Evwaraye
move back to right. If he does, Picou moves inside, which is also another place
desperately in need of help, particularly with Greg Austin simply not being a
realistic candidate to go as I just don't think he can take an entire season
with his knee.
With Herian more than likely gone this year, redshirting
because of rehab, Tomerlin is another that shouldn't have any problems getting
on the field. Does he start right away? Well, that depends on whether or not his
noted athleticism is the real deal. It won't take long to find out and if he
does pan out, you can simply slot him in. I do expect him to get considerable
playing time regardless.
Frant Hardy is Mr. Speed and that is a big need
right now, Fluellen NU's only real solid deep threat. I don't know that, that
will translate to a starting spot as you might see him as more of a situational
guy. The same can be said for Tyrell Spain as he'll be jockeying for a spot all
fall and I think will just have to work within the group for awhile over the
Many have questioned the significance of Holt's commit because
of speed. Is speed a WRs biggest asset or in Holt's case, does he just have much
more of what you look in a WR in the other areas to pass
Bryan: Holt has it all, but blazing speed. In my
non-expert opinion, you can get away with this. Don't believe me? Ask Mike
Williams how he did it at USC and made it into the first round. Low 4.6 or high
4.5 is a great time for a 6-foot-4 and 200+ pound guy. Additionally, speed of
all the other things can be improved more easily than say body control or
catching the ball. Holt has "it". He has a physical body, physical attitude and
mind, great hops, great hands, decent speed and, oh yeah, a 6-foot-4, 215 pound,
NFL type body. I say, give me more guys like Menelik
Brandon: A lot of people not very familiar with the offense
we run assume that we can get three to four guys who can run near-Olympic 40
yard dashes who can makes catches that would make Mike Williams' jaw drop. Fun
as that might be, it ain't realistic. There are different types of receivers
necessary to make this offense work. One such type is that which Holt enters
into. Will he burn a DB deep? Probably not, but I'll tell you what he will do.
He will be able to beat a DB to a ball because of his height (fades into
the end zone anyone?), he will be able to punch a DB in the mouth for the
football and get physical (when's the last time you saw a Nebraska receiver do
that?), he will be able to be a GREAT possession guy and score touchdowns for
us. Menelik Holt is not Frantz Hardy. Don't get the two confused because they
have different roles and purposes on this team. Besides, if you want a 6' 4"
receiver who has a great 40 yard dash time that could end up as a Cornhusker,
keep your eye on David Ausberry.
Justin: I always love speed and
especially at the wide receiver position, however, it can be overrated as well.
Often times its not about 40 yard dash speed, but how fast are those first 3-4
steps and what power can you drive off of. How quick you make your cuts is also
extremely important. Besides all that, the coaches aren't looking for Holt to
run fly routes all day. This offense is about ball control, and I wouldn't want
anyone else controlling the ball that a 6'4 man child who has amazing body
control to adjust to anything that comes his way. We did just fine on this
Steve: Speed means a lot, but I bet you that Callahan would
have traded all the speed in the world for guys that could run routes perfectly
and had the physicality to create separation in close proximity to the
Ok, maybe not all the speed, but Holt's upside is
He's already got the habit of being able to use his body, even when
at the high school level, those that aren't burners can still be the fastest
guys on the field. He might have been, but he's developed the ability to both
work in space and use his body to shield the defender from the ball.
it's not like he's a plodding dinosaur out there and in this style of offense, I
think Holt fits like a glove. I really like his future at NU.
clear that Nebraska can get offensive recruits, but what will it take to be able
to pull in defensive recruits just like that?
Bryan: It won't
take much, but what it will take is a show of improvement from last year's
defense to this year's defense. Last year's recruits on defense weren't bad and
had we held out we might have pulled in Rey Maualuga possibly. We aren't miles
away from it happening.
Nebraska is going to either have to show
improvement on the field statistically and in the W-L column or a defense, that
like the offense last year, has the right philosophy behind it, but not the
right athletes. It will need to be attacking and not reacting. It will need to
play hard, emotional football to starting winning over the quarterbacks, running
backs and wide receiver equivalents on the defensive side of the
Brandon: Three things dictate how well a defensive staff
can recruit: Playing time, scheme and success. The first two can be vital.
Sometimes a player wants to get on the field as a freshman and that's his number
one priority. Sometimes it's icing on the cake. Sometimes it matters less than
Bob Stoops' opinion of Bill Callahan. Scheme is also somewhat important because
if a player thinks that he's going to come to a school and just be out of
position or won't be able to help his team or have fun, why would he go
However, nothing breeds success like success. Right now, the
Blackshirts are a maligned unit. Nobody really fears them or respects them
except Nebraska fans and that's not even a guarantee. It's kind of like the
Wrecking Crew at Texas A&M. Great name, great tradition, but few results
lately. If Coz & Co. (or whoever) can come in and restore the Blackshirt
tradition on a yearly basis, if we can win games relying on our defense, if we
can count on our defense to score points and show they have as much fun on the
field as the WCO, then you're going to see people wanting to sign in
Justin: I think it will take a year or maybe even two to
show what kind of schemes we really want to use. Kids are going to want to see
dominance from our defense before they really get intrigued by it. The offense
is there, we have great offensive coaches already established and every kid
dreams about playing in the NFL and our offense prepares them for that. The
defense is much tougher to sell. I still think in a few years Coach Busch and
Coach Blake will have built up enough relationships in their recruiting areas
that we will be doing fine with defensive recruits as well.
Can you say need? On paper, before last year, Nebraska's defense should have
been solid beyond reason. The offense, though, on paper, it was almost scary.
With the switch to the new offense, everyone that knew anything about the
differences between the system being replaced with the one coming in, there were
jobs galore to be had.
On defense it's not that simple as it's not just a
matter of showing them the need, but showing them that this staff can do
something with them. While we here are willing to give the coaches the benefit
of the doubt, a coach from Oklahoma will go to a defensive recruit, show how
Fabian Washington went in the first round, how Josh went in the second round,
Barrett as well and even more and the secondary still stunk up the
What do you think a coach is going to say that is trying to keep
them from going to NU?
Yeah, that's right, so you can't just SAY what you
are doing, you have to show them and I think that if Nebraska's defense comes
out and is strong, especially in the secondary, the players will see that NU
doesn't have a lot of depth, is eventually losing a lot of experience and that
will be what it takes to get them in.
Recruiting Roundtable: You ask, We answer
Big Red Report Top Stories
Nebraska vs. Purdue NotebookThe No. 8 Nebraska Cornhuskers played a sloppy game, but picked up a 27-14 win over the Purdue Boilermakers at home on Saturday. Nebraska is now 7-0 for the first time since 2001.
Big Red ReportYesterday at 6:20 PM
Nebraska/Purdue post-game updatesBig Red Report's Joe Franco has updates from the Nebraska press conference after a 27-14 win for the Huskers over Purdue.
Big Red ReportYesterday at 5:22 PM
Guinan's quick thoughts: Nebraska vs PurdueNebraska beat Purdue 27-14, but the win didn't have it's challenges. Here are Ashley Guinan's quick thoughts.
Big Red ReportYesterday at 5:16 PM