You ask, They Answer: Spring Edition

Yes, it's spring and everyone wants to have 20 commits right now. Ok, they don't want 20 commits. They want the 20 commits Texas has right now. During this lull of sorts in recruiting, what are the questions you are concentrating the most and is there a silver lining on the horizon or is there a long old way for happiness? Check out what we think in this spring edition of recruiting roundtable: you ask, they answer.

How Many kids in-state will get offers?

: This is the million dollar question it seems to those that feel like Nebraska must take a certain number of recruits per year from in-state. It's cool though, but above anything else, people need to remember that it is talent that wins ball games. End of rant.

It's a bit of a crazy year for in-state recruiting. I mean, there are four commits from in-state, but only one to Nebraska. Now, Nebraska has offered three players from in-state and has one commit. Now, I have heard that either Phillip Bates or Harland Gunn aren't 100% and that people close to the situation say that they would be amazed at the other who is solid right now left home for school.

Now, let's say that Nebraska will get neither of Bates or Gunn. That said, there is still a pretty good group of players in-state this year. I would head this list with Steve Heiman. Heiman is a heady quarterback that has a good arm and better than average athleticism. It will be key this year to see Steve in the new offense.

Some others that come up at Zane Abner, Jake Gdowski, Aaron Schulte, Jared Crick, Kevin Thomsen, Luke Pinkelman, Noah Keller, and Ben Porth. Out of these I would say that Abner, Gdowski, and Crick have the best chances along with Heiman to possibly get an offer. That doesn't mean that all will, but these are the best chances.

If there are three offers that have been extended already then I am going to say that only two more will be going out. My money is on Heiman for one, but I am perplexed who the other one is. I would say that getting players at the positions that Abner, Gdowski and Crick will determine who might get offered. So there it is, I say five get offers.

Steve: First, take off the rose colored glasses and think about what Nebraska needs. When you do that, you can see the picture a little more clearly about who will get offers and who likely won't.

First, they don't have a huge need for interior offensive linemen right now. One, maybe two at the most. Is Harland Gunn the best out of everyone in the country? No, of course he isn't. Nebraska did offer him, but the timing on the offer was so bad, it ended up looking more like an insult to Gunn than a compliment.

The other two offers they have out are to Phillip Bates and Niles Paul, both from Omaha North. Paul committed and it was a big one to get. Bates, though, he committed to Iowa State, because they run an offense that fits him and they are willing to take a QB that isn't necessarily polished, which Bates decidedly isn't.

As for the rest, Kearny High School Noah Keller gets my vote as one that I would like to see get an offer, but size-wise, he's kind of a tweener. Keller has the athleticism to play linebacker and he's certainly tenacious enough, but in the ever-growing stereotype of the position, his height might not be ideal. But the other side is that he's athletic enough to possibly play safety, but in coverage situations, he's probably a little rigid in the hips. That puts him on an island of sorts, but the kid is a bonafide football player. He works hard, he's athletic enough to move around and when he's on the field, he'll flat out cuff you in the mouth.

Zane Abner is another and at 6 foot, 3 inches, he's got good height, but at 180 pounds, he needs a little more weight. You could easily see him as a linebacker if he's able to gain the weight and keep the speed. But if there's one staff that can do that for him, it's Nebraska. Zane actually looks to me to be one of the kids most likely to get an offer, along with the one coming up.

Last year he didn't look the part, but Steve Heiman looks the part nowadays. He's gained a considerable amount of weight and good weight at that. Nebraska needs at least two quarterbacks this year, and depending on what kind of QB gets the first spot, Heiman should be next in line to get an offer. The kid is a good thrower and shows a lot of promise, if someone wants to take the time and teach him the Division 1-A ropes. I think that he's an offer waiting to happen.

Those are the headliners for offers, but there are other players, if they take another step in their game this year, they have at least the frame to be considered viable for the next level:

Jared Crick, Kevin Thomsen, Pete Botkin, Luke Pinkelman, Aaron Schulte, Alex Stover, Jake Gdowski and Ben Porth.

When you are looking at the in-state offers, the first thing you have to tell yourself is that they aren't in-state at all. Forget the legacies and forget preferential treatment. With the Osborne staff, they had a system that catered to players quite differently, but the biggest thing was, they had a lot of players that didn't mind coming in, redshirting and sitting another year, learning and waiting for their time.

That was the Nebraska way, but this team isn't deep enough to do that, nor can they afford to take players, who can't be seen as realistic contributors after no longer than their redshirt sophomore year.

Just think of the kids in state as the kids in any other state, but the good thing about this year as opposed to the previous two, this staff is out there actually taking a look. So, if a kid doesn't get recruited or he doesn't get offered, it doesn't mean they ignored him, opting for the same kind of player outside of the state. It was just that for what they needed, a certain kid just didn't fit the bill.

Quarterback is important, but where's the emphasis other than that position?

Bryan: I know where it better be and it better be on defensive line. Nebraska is in a little bit of a vicious circle of offering junior college defensive tackles and that is fine. While that provides immediate depth and help at that position it's also those players that churn faster and their stays in Lincoln are shorter. Nebraska needs to get a couple of interior defensive lineman and at least one defensive ends.

Another position that I would say deserves some emphasis is at safety. Now, I know that there were four in last year's class with Corey Young, Anthony West, Ricky Thenarse and Major Culbert. I believe that West is actually going to play CB and you might look for a guy like Young to move to RB or Thenarse to CB possibly. I definitely don't think that all will be at safety their entire careers in Lincoln.

Steve: This staff has been doing so much to load up on offense, defense hasn't necessarily taken a back seat in recruiting, but they have not gone to that side with a real sense of urgency, outside of the safety spot.

This year, as recruiting is about the future after all, they need to address that side of the ball quickly.

The entire starting defensive line graduates after this season. You have a two year starter at LB taking off and the year after, they are going to lose three more.

When you have that kind of situation, you can't even include those guys yet to show up in the fall. You have to start from square one.

That means even safety needs a little attention, because there's a ton of kids coming in the fall, slated to play the position. And cornerback wouldn't hurt as well.

Yeah, it's not all about offense, nor should it be. Heck, it's because of this defense Nebraska didn't have two losing seasons in a row.

They need to refill the cupboard.

Which game means more to win in regard to recruiting - USC or Texas?

Bryan: USC, period. This game is in Southern California and Nebraska has a chance to shock the world and open peoples' eyes early in the year. There is an emphasis every year to get talent out of states like California or Texas, but this year we are in California for the game.

The other reason I think that USC is the game to win deals with Texas being done with recruiting. I mean, they aren't totally done yet, but I think that they will be by early June. That state will be for the picking once Texas completely fills up. I am hearing more and more about players not getting attention from Texas and flat out have told me, "I don't like Texas." Expect this kind of feeling to spread to much of the state.

Steve: Texas is the most important game, bar none.

I don't mean to diminish USC, but even if I did, I wouldn't have to. The entire country and the NFL have done that for us. TV and media coverage drive recruiting as much or more than just about anything else. Perception is everything and if losing two Heisman winners isn't enough to diminish your team's stature, they lost two starting offensive linemen, their other starting running back and more than a few from the other side of the ball.

USC is USC, so they have talent galore, but I promise you that even though the pollsters are basically obligated to rank USC high, so they don't get their lips completely from their behind on the chance USC does something special, they will do it grudgingly.

Look at the players they lost and the turmoil from the off-season and the fact that their starting QB could be a kid with a fused vertebrae, just how good will they be?

Certainly not the USC of old when the season just gets going, that's for sure.

As for Texas, it's Texas and while they lost Vince Young, they bring back the best offensive line in the conference, all of their wide receivers and they have some studs returning on defense. They still have some of their most potent offensive weapons and some of the biggest names on defense, are still on the team.

Just on paper Texas will be better, but that's not even the biggest reason why Texas is far more important than USC.


It's been pretty obvious from looking that the coaches have made Texas a priority. They aren't going to sacrifice good connections in California, but the Lone Star state is a must. Why? Because it's easier to get a kid to go from Texas to Nebraska than from California to Nebraska, because of everyone you have to compete with along the way.

Add to that the fact that is a conference game, USC is what it is and it looks good on paper. And beating them this year certainly wouldn't hurt with recruiting. But when you look at what the media is going to do to diminish a win for Nebraska, should they beat both, with USC, there's all kinds of stuff to use and with Texas, not nearly as much.

That makes Texas the most important game of the year.

What will be the biggest disappointment of this year's recruiting year?

Bryan: Call me a pessimist, but I am going to say quarterback. I just don't have a warm/fuzzy here for a number of reasons. Let's start with Jarrett Lee's latest comments about wanting to play in a spread. This isn't the offense that Nebraska runs last I checked. Those were some of the more disappointing words that I had read the past few months.

The other part that has me discouraged is the quantity of the offers that Nebraska has extended to quarterbacks. There aren't many of them and most are committed elsewhere. The only two players, before the recent offer to Logan Gray, that weren't committed anywhere holding Nebraska offers were Lee and G.J. Kinne. Kinne has all but written off Nebraska.

Now, it seems that there are some new offers coming out to quarterbacks and that is good news. I would say that an offer to Heiman hinges on Nebraska getting a pretty highly touted quarterback recruit. Heiman has upside and good athleticism. That can go a long ways.

Steve: I hate to say this, but I think one of the positions Nebraska needs most, will be the one they address the least, at least at the high school level. I don't see this year, at least thus far, as great for interior defensive linemen. You might say there is some cushion, because of guys like Seth Jensen, Ndamukong Suh and Brandon Johnson, but the fact of the matter is, you have two starters leaving after this year. You don't mentally replace them after the season, with two players who aren't even on campus yet.

And when you look at the board, I don't know that Nebraska has a legit shot at any of the higher profile players and there's just not enough known about the guys who exist a little farther down the line. They absolutely have to have at least two defensive tackles this year, as far as I am concerned. And right now, I just don't know who they even have a reasonable shot of getting.

Which state will Nebraska improve their recruiting in the most?

Bryan: That might seem obvious to some how I have been talking about it and all of the recruiting articles I have been writing: Texas. Nebraska is in a very good position to reel in a lot of talent from the Lonestar State this year. Partly because Texas is already full and partly because Nebraska has re-dedicated themselves to making a difference here.

Six coaches recruiting the state give them the coverage that they need to comb the state for talent. The bigger part of this could be the success that Shawn Watson might help bring to Nebraska. He is a big time recruiter and more than that is the recruiting coordinator and will be overseeing operations in Texas as well as nationally.

Steve: With effort comes results. That's simple enough to say and not a lot of science needs to go into it. You have a couple of coaches actively recruiting Texas last year. You have six recruiting the state this year. And with Texas more than likely being filled up before their season starts, Nebraska should be in good shape to get what they can of what's left over.

That's the emphasis for this staff this year and when it comes to recruiting, it would seem that where they absolutely set their mind on accomplishing something, it generally gets done.

What position will ultimately go underfilled at the end of this recruiting year?

Bryan: I'm going to have to say defensive line. Personally, I have been focusing on the need to bring in depth at the DL for years to come. I am just not sure if the coaching staff at Nebraska looks at it the same way that I do. Maybe I am a bit caught up on it too, but I think that there hasn't been enough emphasis on getting high school defensive tackles.

Another position, as you can tell from my other commentary, might be quarterback. I don't think that Nebraska will go after a junior college quarterback. I am not sure of one that suits what Nebraska is trying to do and I am not sure of what the signal might be to Harrison Beck if you go after a junior college quarterback.

Steve: Well, I hate to repeat answers, but I will stick with mine as to the biggest disappointment of the year. But I will add that the quarterback position is on shaky ground. There's no more margin for error anymore and at first, this looked like the year you could have made a few.

This is the year of the prep QB as there are more quality QBs out there than any year I can remember. And Nebraska hasn't gotten even one. That's not good, especially when you got axed by a late changing of the mind by Josh Freeman last year. No more eggs in one basket here. You have to take two and maybe even one more.

That would give Nebraska around six scholarship quarterbacks, which most would say is far too much. Well, it would be if you saw them all as legit starters. But that's obviously not the case. Outside of Taylor, there is nothing known about any other quarterback on the team. What little reps a couple have gotten, haven't shown you anything in regard to saying they can play and succeed an entire year.

They need that. They absolutely have to have that. And if it means having six or even seven scholarship quarterbacks, you bite the bullet and you do just that.

Better to have too many than none at all.

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