Signing Day Exhibits Interesting Twist

Although the highly-touted defensive back Ashlee Palmer is headed to Washington, Nebraska Coach Bill Callahan wanted to make one thing clear at Wednesday's signing day. He's not giving up on the junior-college transfer from Compton Community College.

Palmer originally signed his letter-of-intent to play at Nebraska on Dec. 15, but backed out prior to the official signing day. Palmer needed one more class to complete his schooling in Compton, which runs on the quarter system. Since the class would end in February, he would not have been able to come to NU this spring, which runs on the semester system.

Washington, which also divides the school year into quarters, convinced Palmer to leave the Nebraska class and arrive in Washington in time for spring practice.

The 6 foot 3 Palmer provided the only real surprise in what is officially Callahan's third recruiting class as Nebraska coach. Should Palmer enroll at UW, his letter-of-intent to play at Nebraska will be null and void, Callahan said.

But Callahan appeared to be in the dark as to all the details of Palmers situation as it relates to school.

As expected though, Callahan and the Huskers signed 21 players to add to the three who have already signed to make the class an even 24. The class includes 16 high school seniors and eight junior college transfers.

After Callahan's 2005 class which included multiple players at every position, Callahan focused this year on addressing specific team needs. This year's class includes four wide receivers, eight offensive linemen and five defensive backs.

Callahan said he was pleased with this year's class and thinks they will reflect what he calls a team that looks like it is in the Big 12 Conference.

Callahan pointed to the size of his new receivers as the first step toward becoming a larger team on offense. Of the four receivers in the class, the smallest is Tyrell Spain at 6 foot 3. The tallest is Will Henry at 6 foot 5. The tallest receiver on Nebraska's roster in 2005 was Todd Peterson at 6 foot 4.

Spain along with offensive linemen Jacob Hickman and Matt Slauson will be part of this year's class to push the number to 24.

The defensive backfield was also another area of interest for Callahan heading into the recruiting season. As shown Wednesday, the Nebraska coaching staff has filled that void with pure athleticism.

Nebraska lost both starting safeties in Daniel Bullocks and Blake Tiedtke, but bodies like Andre Jones out of Fresno CC and Major Culbert from Harbor City, Calif should go along way to fill in the gaps.

Callahan said most of the defensive backs on the list will start at cornerback, but all possess the athleticism to play both strong and free safety.

And with Nebraska's wishy-washy offensive line play in 2005, this year's class was mainly dedicated to the boys up front. Callahan brought in eight offensive lineman including two from the state of Nebraska to compliment Slauson, Lydon Murtha, and Chris Patrick, who all saw action last year.

But the big storyline of Callahan's press conference was the whereabouts of Palmer. Callahan said nobody from the Nebraska coaching staff had been in contact with Palmer on Wednesday, but left those in attendance with some interesting words.

"I don't know if that battle is over with yet, we'll see," Callahan said. "It will be an interesting scenario as it plays out, but we would certainly love to have him here at Nebraska and we're doing everything possible to make him a part of this class."


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