THE BLOG - DEC 15, 2005

The Huskers, recruiting, random musings, all right here, all from the staff at Big Red Report. It's what's on our mind in the grand world of sports, concentrating most of the time on your Huskers, the recruiting and what's going on in the world of the big "N". Check out and get up-to-date with this week's version of the blog.

You knew that it would happen

It was imminent. You all knew that Nebraska was going to have a break out weekend like they just had. I mean, Nebraska was hosting what had become their top two junior college offensive tackles, their top junior college safety and a couple of others. The bottom line here was that those players were going to know what Nebraska was going to do.

There has been a refinement, so to speak, over the season. Since the Colorado game there has been an effort to wrap up as much of recruiting as possible. Coaches have been everywhere, except in Lincoln, trying to get recruits. They have been in the schools, in the houses, at the football games and at their basketball games.

It is that type of effort that is paying off right now. Nebraska went out and had the type of weekend that I thought that they needed to sort of cinch up the class and put it behind them to concentrate on the bowl game.

The commits, in terms of their significance, have been the most important on these junior college weekends. This past week Nebraska received the talent to anchor the line that they haven't had before. They got the safety that they desperately needed and just recently picked up what is undoubtedly, to me, the biggest pickup of the year in Purify who can stretch the field.

The hard work has paid off. And many of us just knew...even felt, that it was going to happen. It was just a matter of when.

Dreams can come true

I can't tell you how surprised I was to break a story like I did the other night with Maurice Purify. Like I have said before, this is in my opinion the biggest commit of the year. Purify will revolutionize the wide receiver position at Nebraska.

The other night I took my family out for one of the last times to go Christmas shopping, I hope. In the car I got to see what my son made at school. It was a magic wand.

He was waving it around making wishes getting ready to see Santa Claus. He was wishing for Power Rangers. He was wishing for a new football. He was wishing for a Red Rider BB Gun...no wait he really wasn't. Anyway, when he got done he passed it to his mom and asked her to make a wish.

Sadly, I don't remember what she wished for, but I do have my Christmas shopping done for her so it doesn't matter. But, when I go the wand I just couldn't think of anything materialistic that I wanted so that is when I said, "I want Maurice Purify to go to Nebraska."

Presto.

I had actually totally forgot that I did that until my wife pointed it out to me. I called my son in tonight to the office to show him that my wish had come true. Now, he thinks that he is going to get every Power Ranger under the sun. Ugh.

Delivering the story

It was truly a pleasure this week to break all four commitment stories to all of you. This is my labor of love. A hobby that was fueled by a passion that has become an obsession. You all make my ability to bring those types of stories to you so fun reading your comments.

I just wanted to say thank you to all of you.

One last thing, it's your questions that really get me going and fired up.

I love answering questions. So if you haven't posted and just read I ask...why? If there is something that you want or need answered please let us know.

Many on the other site don't know what good BRR is. They don't even realize that we had the commitment announcements all weekend long and again today.

They will notice. You already have noticed. Thanks for being here!

So where do we go from here?

The recruiting class in terms of positions needs to be broken down...here is my recruiting class needs list:

Quarterback (1) - Freeman: This is sewn up.

Running Back (1-2) - Young: Wilson is probably an 80% chance to end up at Nebraska, but I am not counting on it.

Fullback (0) - None: Probably won't get one this year.

Wide Receiver (2-3) - Spain, Holt and Purify: Count Eloi as a walk on in the spring and your wide receivers are done.

Tight End (1-2) - McNeil and Allen: IMO, Allen starts out here. McNeil is one of the most underrated recruits in this class, IMO.

Center (0) - Henry: He is a sign and place unfortunately. May not get a center in this class now.

Guard (1) - None: Nebraska is still in on Williams and Walton to get an interior guy.

Tackle (4) - Jones, Barrett, Haines, and Nicks: What an improvement 2 or 3 weeks makes to one position. Wow.

Defensive End (2-3) - Davis and Smith: May see Allen here and could still get Brown. Martin could play here or DT, OL or TE.

Defensive Tackle (2-3) - Jensen, Johnson and Martin: Martin will be here for now. Could go a lot of ways.

Linebacker (1-2) - Allen: Issac will need to show NU that he is on top of his studies to get an offer.

Cornerback (1-2) - Jones: Got one, still need another. Could be Wallace and could be Wright.

Safety (2-3) - West and Palmer: Got two, but are still in on Thenarse and Mouton. This could get interesting.

So who are we still in it for? OK, here are the candidates:

Chris Mitchell - Probably a bit of a long shot here, but they would make room Keith Williams - Need an interior line replacement to Henry Jerry Brown - Left town with NU his leader, can that hold up?

Donald Bowens - Maybe. If he wants in he better get in.

Jeremy Maclin - Odds are he ends up at Missouri or Texas Tech.

Jonas Mouton - Still a fighting chance here.

Russell Okung - Still looking for an interior guy.

Ron Paulo - Probably not.

Evan Royster - There's a shot, but chances are he stays home.

Ricky Thenarse - Was told by his coach that NU is leader.

A.J. Wallace - Still hearing there is a shot, but it is fading.

J.B. Walton - Looking for help on OL and DL.

Shareece Wright - Recently heard we might be back in it here.

Danzell Issac - Needs to get on the books!

I have a feeling that the staff is probably counting Wilson, so that makes

21 and add Spain, Slauson and Hickman to that and you have 24. Now, there is still some "maneuvering" that can be done that will allow this class to get up to 27 or 28. That may or may not be necessary, but it's nice to have that wiggle room in case at the U.S. Army AA Game someone wants in.

The other thing to talk about it attrition. Yes, it sounds like there will be some, but I am not going to speculate and name names. I am hearing as many as seven different names as really good chances of not being back next year.

Wasn't it just a few weeks ago fans were talking about how there was this serious lull in recruiting, some wondering if Nebraska would ever fill this class?

 

What are they saying now?

 

With over a month and a half to go before signing day, you can say this class is getting close to full.

 

The great thing is, it's getting filled with positions they desperately need

 

What's left?

 

Ok, let's look at who is departing from the team:

 

14  

Schroeder, Matt

WR

56  

Pike, Gary

OL

96  

Adams, Titus

DL

66  

Smith, Le Kevin

DL

25  

Tiedtke, Blake

FS

37  

Koch, Sam

P

73  

Helming, Jared

OL

75  

Koch, Brandon

OL

77  

Evwaraye, Seppo

OL

95  

O'Shea, Matt

DL

79  

Fuamatu-Thomas, Cornealius

OL

49  

Ickes, Adam

LB

16  

Stuntz, Mike

FS

14  

Bullocks, Daniel

SS

4  

Fisher, Tyler

FS

9  

LeFlore, Mark

WR

55  

Muhammad, Wali

DE

5  

McKoy, Shamus

WR

9  

Peetz, Jake

LS

6  

DeFrand, Donald

CB

4  

Ross, Cory

IB

19  

Robison, Joey

CB

 

Ok, let's break it down by position just in terms of numbers:

 

Wide Receiver 3
Offensive Line             5
Defensive Tackle          3
Safety                       4
Punter                    1
Linebacker              1
Defensive End             1
Long Snapper  1
Cornerback      2
Running Back 1
     

 

Ok, let's break it down a little more, seeing out of those leaving, who has started this year:

Wide Receiver              0
Offensive Line             4
Defensive Tackle         2
Safety                          2
Punter                          1
Linebacker                  1
Defensive End              0
Long Snapper              0
Cornerback                 0
Running Back              1

 

You have 22 players losing and half of those started at least one game for the Huskers this year. Of course, you can look at the losses of player like Cory Ross, Le Kevin Smith, Titus Adams, Daniel Bullocks, Blake Tiedtke, Wali Muhammad, Brandon Koch, Seppo Evwaraye, Cornealius Fuamatu-Thomas and Sam Koch as more important, because they played significantly over the year.

 

You are trying to replace Ross, who can't be replaced, you can only hope to find someone that can at least put up some good numbers. In Muhammad you lose one of your best third-down pass rushers. With Adams and Smith, you lose the interior of a defensive wall that was markedly better this season. And with Sam Koch, you lose yet another great punter in a long line of great punters at Nebraska .

 

Ok, we have looked at what is gone, figuring 11 players, because they played so significant a role this year, those are positions you absolutely have to replace, even if there is someone behind them coming up.

 

Now let's compare that number to what they have right now:

Position                     Lost Gained
Wide Receiver 0 2
Offensive Line  4 5
Defensive Tackle  2 1*
Safety  2 3
Punter   1 0
Linebacker 1 1
Defensive End  0 2
Long Snapper  0 0
Cornerback   0 1
Running Back 1 1^

 

*Seth Jensen is listed as a defensive tackle, but is being recruited as a defensive end. He could play either.

 

^Corey Young is being recruited to play both, but will have a shot at running back initially. We listed him here at both positions.

 

It doesn't look too bad for Nebraska right now, but I think the next factor you should take into account is exactly what they have coming back.

 

If it's a bunch of kids with little to no playing time, I think it's not off the mark to look for junior college talent to possibly come in for some potentially needed cushion. If it's a bunch of seniors, you obviously have to look to the high school level to see if you can get some guys in there that in a year can look to be realistic contributors to the team.

 

Let's look at what Nebraska has coming back from a returning-starter standpoint and projected starter standpoint and see if Nebraska has filled some needs and what they have left.

 

Quarterback:  
  • Returning starter – 1 (Sr)

Running Back: 

  • Returning starter – 0 Projected starter – (Soph.)  

Fullback:     

  • Returning starter – 1 (Sr.)

Wide Receiver  

  • Returning starter(s)2 (Jr./ RSSoph.)

Tight End:     

  • Returning starter – 1 (Junior)

Offensive Line:   

  • Returning starter – 4 (LT – RSSoph, RT – Soph, C – Sr., LG – Sr,)
  • Projected starter – LG (RSSoph)

Defensive Tackle:   

  • Returning starter – 0  
  • Projected starter(s) – (Sr./ Sr.)

Defensive End:  

  • Returning starter(s) – 2 (Sr./ Sr.)

Linebacker   

  • Returning starter(s) – 3 (Jr. / Jr. / Jr.*)

Safety:    

  • Returning starter(s) – 0
  • Projected starter(s) – (Sr. / Soph.)

Cornerback: 

  • Returning starter(s) – 2 (Sr. / Jr.)

Punter:   

  • Returning starter – 0
  • Projected starter – (RSSoph)

Kicker:   

  • Returning starter – 1 (Soph)
   

 

*Steve Octavien should get a medical hardship with no problem, so he will have another year to play.

 

If you have no starter coming back, obviously that's a problem and if you don't have established depth, that's a bigger problem and you might think about going after immediate help. With specialists like Punters and Kickers, it's a bit different, so we'll stick to the main positions in that regard and these are those that lose their starters at the position:

 

Running Back:            Commit(s): Corey Young, Anthony West (Both also considered safeties)

Offensive Line/RG:     Commits: D.J. Jones(G/T), Cruz Barrett(G/C), Carl Nicks (G/T)(JC), Ricky Henry(G/C)

Defensive Tackle:       Commits: Brandon Johnson(JC), Seth Jensen (DT or DE)

Safety(2):                   Commits: Ashlee Palmer(JC), Corey Young, Anthony West

 

Ok, if you have a senior coming back as your starter, you need to find someone, preferably from the prep ranks, so let's look, minus the ones we have just listed above and see where they are at:

(Note: Players bolded indicate players that are matched up as replacements for those names they are listed by. If you see two current players listed and only one commit bolded to the right, that means there's a deficit at the position in recruiting)

 

Returning Senior Starters:

Quarterback: Zac Taylor        
  • Commit: Josh Freeman
Fullback: Dane Todd              
  • Commit: None

Offensive Line:

            LG-Greg Austin

            C – Kurt Mann           

  • Commit(s): D.J. Jones(G/T), Cruz Barrett(G/C),
    Carl Nicks (G/T)(JC), Ricky Henry(G/C)

Defensive Tackle:

            DT: Ola Dagunduro

            DT: Barry Cryer          

  • Commit(s) Brandon Johnson(JC), Seth Jensen

Defensive End:

            DE: Adam Carriker

            DE: Jay Moore           

  • Commit(s): Pierre Allen, Rulon Davis (JC), Seth Jensen
Cornerback: Zack Bowman    
  • Commit: Andre Jones(JC)
Safety: Andrew Shanle          
  •    Commit: (3) Ashlee Palmer(JC), Corey Young, Anthony West

 

Now, if you have a sophomore or even redshirt sophomore slated as the starter, you might think about junior college help. It's not always necessary, case in point: the running back position, but it's not always a bad choice. Here's those positions that might have a little too much youth, where you want to get some older guys in, if just to provide a little cushion:

Running Back: 2 sophomores*   
  • Commit: None (No, we still aren't counting Kenny Wilson)
Wide Receiver   1 RSSoph(Swift)  
  • Commit(s): Maurice Purify (JC), Menelik Holt
Offensive Line: 

1 Soph (RT)
1 RSSoph (LT)
1 RSSoph (RG)  

  • Commits: Victory Haines (T), Carl Nicks, (T/G),
    Ricky Henry (G/C)
Safety:   1 Soph (FS)  
  • Commits: Ashlee Palmer, Corey Young, Anthony West

 *Considering the fact that both Marlon Lucky and Cody Glenn got considerably more time than Brandon Jackson, we'll go with that on-paper in assuming the starters for next season.                  

 

This is the scenic route, but if you take a look at what they have leaving, have as seniors coming back, and as youngsters coming into the fold, this staff, whether they intended to or not, filled it quite nicely. The only outstanding deficits on paper are as follows, along with the best shots we think they have at those respective positions:

Running Back: (Need 1)
Prospects:   Kenny Wilson (JC)

Evan Royster

Fullback:  (Need 1)
Prospects:  Justin Makovicka (FB/LB)
Defensive Tackle: (Need 1)
Prospects:  Charles Deas

Brandon Banks (JC)

Broderick Marhshall

  

 

With all this that I have put out there, this is just a surface view, barely scraping what goes into the thought of what you lost, what you have and out of what you have, what's realistically going to give you a chance to win.

 

But, what you can see by all this stuff is that this staff has addressed needs across the board. No, some of them aren't the biggest names in the world, but considering what an offer is worth monetarily speaking, and what it's worth to the staff to get players that will help, I doubt they are throwing them around to just any kid with a pulse.

 

On the line you could break it down farther as to who are the "true" tackles and the true guards. At safety, you have one player that's played just that position, while the other two are good athletes that could be seen at that position, much like a Leon Jackson.

 

People eye names like Jonas Mouton as the one they would want instead, knowing that he plays that position well, is one of the best in the country and could have an immediate impact and take the starting position for himself.

 

That's the gravy, though. You want every player to be the best at their position, but when you can't have that, you go with what you can get, but most importantly, what you need.

 

I think that as inexact as recruiting is and how impossible it is to know who you are really going to get and at which position, this staff has done a fine, seemingly systematic job at addressing many of the problem areas they have.

 

And if we count our scholarships correctly as to what they have left to offer, we could see three, possibly four more come along.

 

Which position?

 

Well, if they are good, you take them no matter what position they play. If you are full up on safeties and Jonas Mouton wants to commit, you take him. If you are full up on cornerbacks and A.J. Wallace wants to commit, you take him. J.B. Walton, Charles Deas, Parrish Cox – those are the guys you make room for, no matter what.

 

Outside of that, and let's assume they can get a fullback to walk-on (They did get T.J. Peterson from Kearney High), that leaves you a running back, a defensive tackle and if it were me, I'd take another safety and another offensive lineman.

 

Personally, this is how I see the class filling out, based on them taking three more players:

 

LB – Colin McCarthy

S/RB – Ricky Thenarse

OL – J.B. Walton

 

Here's a few that I am not sold on in regard to them being Huskers, but I still think the chance is there:

Jonas Mouton (feel ok about this one, but not great)

A.J. Wallace ( I think Penn State now holds the lead)

Bruce Campbell (Will stay close to home as we all figured he would)

Russell Okung (LSU bound)

Jeremy Maclin (I think Nebraska might have a shot here, but don't know enough about the situation to make a real educated guess)

 

No diatribe this week.

 

I'm out


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