Getting kids out of the lone star state is easy when you are considered THE institution of that state.
For Nebraska, it's a little more difficult.
Coast-to-coast, north-to-south, the Husker staff is ready to hit the road for "Evaluation Period", where they get to look at some of these preps firsthand. And I can tell you without being Nostradamus, they will end up getting only very few of them. But if those few are who they wanted or at least, fit what they needed for the future, that's about all you can ask.
Ok, so what does Nebraska need for the future?
How about a quarterback?
With Zac Taylor going into his senior year, Nebraska's QB commit Josh Freeman opting for the easier waters down in Manhattan, Kansas, and Harrison Beck still an unproven commodity, you can feel confident in firmly pressing the panic button right now.
Not that I don't think players like Joe Ganz and Beau Davis can't do the job, but if they could, you would assume they would have attained a higher level on the depth chart than they have now.
Honestly, Nebraska doesn't need one quarterback in this class. Heck, they might not even need two. Yes, they could need as many as three.
It goes without saying that regardless of what Beck does now, the staff has to look into this situation as if he's never going to play. They have to go after one kid, who they see as that sure fire kid that if needed, can go in and contribute right away.
If they get that kid and for the sake of using examples, let's say it's Brenham, Texas QB Jarrett Lee, they can realistically afford to take someone that they can teach just how to be a quarterback at the Division 1-A level.
Enter the in-state slingers, Phillip Bates (Omaha North) and Steve Heiman (Papillion La Vista).
Both are capable, but with each you have some issues that will have to be rectified if they are to have success in the future.
For Bates, he simply has to learn the position, mostly relying on a lot of deep passes to teammate and the one current Husker commit Niles Paul, where Paul leaps up in triple coverage and comes down with the ball. Bates has used a short passing game, but again, the success of the passing game has been more to do with what the receivers can do after the catch than the quarterback being able to deliver on a dime.
Bates is a capable runner, even spectacular at times, which gives the staff a potentially potent person under center. And the son of former Husker Phillip Bates Sr., has a good arm and a very quick release.
To be honest, Nebraska probably can't even take Bates as a QB unless they get a slam dunk and at this point in time, Phillip is looking to play QB and QB only.
Phillip Bates Jr.
He makes up for that, though, in being a heady player, making good decisions and using a decent arm and release to beat the opponent with accuracy and a lack of any real mental mistakes.
Heiman is actually developing very nicely from a physical standpoint and with another year in prep ball to go, by the time he graduates, he could fit just what Nebraska needs.
They can't have question marks right now, though. It's that one guy, maybe even a JUCO guy, they absolutely have to get right now. The problem with getting a junior college player should be plainly obvious to Husker fans right now.
As great as Zac Taylor has been, wouldn't you like to have him for three more years?
All that leadership – all that respect – everything Taylor has earned the hard way, it's all come and gone in a flash, Zac playing his first year last season and finishing his last season around the end of this year.
That's one of the biggest sacrifices you make in recruiting the junior college ranks, especially at quarterback. Just when they are finally getting it all down, they are heading out the door.
And you are going to replace him with another?
Ideally you don't want to, but if this were an idealist's world, Nebraska wouldn't have recruited any to begin with. You have to go with what works and more importantly, what works right now.
|Beck hasn't proven yet he is indeed
man for the future
We have seen the quarterback class, one of the best overall classes we have seen in years, dwindle quickly. G.J. Kinne will go to either Baylor or Oklahoma, Ryan Mallett will probably go to Michigan and Chris Forcier has already said he was a future Bruin.
In fact, out of those that we know Nebraska has offered, it would seem Jarrett Lee is firmly at the top of the list. And from my brief conversation with him following the game, he said he definitely liked the experience, certainly likes the offense, as it's not so dissimilar to the spread offense he runs at Brenham, and according to future Husker Seth Jensen, Lee saw every single Husker game last year.
That bodes well for Nebraska, but we all know how early it is and how often things change.
Nebraska can't afford for them to change too much at this point.
It's hard to believe, but as much as I might indicate it's early, it's already late in the hour if Nebraska wants one of the top slingers in the country. Whether that's Lee or not, considering Nebraska's urgent need at the position, they have to get at least a good feel for one right now. Lee said that he was committing before his final season began, so maybe this is the one sure-fire kid for the class.
If that happens, it puts Nebraska in a position, where they can go after guys that are realistic players for the future, but they don't have to be seen as kids that HAVE to be able to play in year number one.
But you look at the impact someone like Zac Taylor made in just his first year with the Huskers and you see what a QB ideally suited for this system, with the right mind-set about what to do and how to do it, the results speak for themselves.
Nebraska needs another Zac Taylor, only this time from the prep ranks. That's a tall task indeed. But they don't have a choice, not this time around.
No deals, no "prima donnas", no exceptions – this year has to be Nebraska's year of the QB.