The only thing you know is that you don't

There's an old saying about substance over style. It is in recruiting terms, basically a reminder that no matter how good something looks on the outside, it's what is inside that counts. With this class there is certainly a substance over style philosophy. But regardless of how much needs were addressed versus wants, how much does it really mean?

I have heard people throw around numbers trying to quantify by percentage just how much of each recruiting class will pan out. 33 percent seems to be a popular number, one-third panning out, while two-thirds end up not meeting expectations.


First of all, there's no way any class will ever meet expectations, and we know that. The expectations, especially with how much recruiting is covered nowadays, are unrealistic to say the least.


Let's look at it instead as performing to their ability. That's probably just as speculative, but hey, it sounds better.


I guess if you are going to figure out this class, without breaking it down player-by-player, let's look at Bill Callahan's best class, at least as far as style goes:

With the class of 2005, you had some big names. Marlon Lucky, Zack Bowman and Ndamukong Suh are just a few of the names thought to be major impact players once they had some time in the system. Yeah, some thought all of them would be Heisman contenders their first year, but let's go with the more objective outlook.


Out of the class of 31, this is how things currently break down:


QB - Harrison Beck - Transferred toN.C. State after freshman season


CB - Zack Bowman - Missed all of last season with an injury.


WR - Chris Brooks - Has been slowed by injury. Redshirted last season


K - Jordan Congdon - Started the entire season as a freshman field goal kicker, and as a sophomore. After going 19-23 his freshman year, Congdon was just 5 of 7 as a sophomore.


LB - Nick Covey - Has not played due to a series of injuries


DT - Barry Cryer - Played a key role as a back up to Titus Adams his first year withNebraska, and started the entire year as a senior.


DT - Ola Dagunduro - Played a key role as a back up to LeKevin Smith his first year and was a solid contributor as a senior.


LB - Phillip Dillard - Played sporadically as a freshman and missed almost all of last year due to a season ending injury


WR - Wallace Franklin - Had to attend Butler Community College due to grades


RB – Cody Glenn – Was a solid short yardage back his freshman year. Had off and on season as a sophomore, seeing limited duty. Was injured late in the season.


WR - Frantz Hardy - Had monster first game in career as Husker against Maine. Has been sporadic in his progression, lacking physical ability to get off the line and has had issues with catching the ball


TE - David Harvey - Moved from tight end to defensive end and has yet to play


OL - Jacob Hickman - Has served duty at center and guard, and looks to be progressing nicely in Dennis Wagner's system


WR - Brodrick Hunter - Had to attend Butler Community College due to grades


RB - Leon Jackson - Transferred to Hawaii after freshman year


RB - Marlon Lucky - Contributed his freshman season, but got considerably more time his sophomore year. Was hampered some by injury late in the season in 2006, but returns as the leading running back for the big red.


LB - Dontrell Moore - Contributed in sparse duty at linebacker and defensive end, while serving mostly on special teams before leaving the team.


LB - Steven Octavien - Has had a few good games, but his career has been marred by continuing issues with staying healthy


OL - Brock Pasteur - Left the team after his first year


OT  - Jordan Picou - Played some at center last year, but has contributed little thus far


OL - Rodney Picou - Left the team due to academic issues


DE - Zach Potter - Has been developing at the defensive end position, and has proven to be a force in field goal blocking.


CB – Robert Rands - Left the team to continue his outstanding career in track and field


OL  - Craig Roark - Moved to defensive line and has yet to play for the big red


LB - Jeff Souder - Left the team after his freshman year for personal reasons


WR - Tyrell Spain - Moved from receiver to defensive back after his first year and has since left the team.


DT  - Ndamukong Suh - Played in the first two games as a freshman, but saw considerably more time as a sophomore, backing up Ola Dagunduro. Has proven himself to be a force and one of the true rising stars on the team.


QB - Zac Taylor - Broke a slew of passing records and really advanced the progression of this team from the option to the west coast. Led Nebraska to a division title and to two consecutive bowls.


TE - Justin Tomerlin - Departed the team after his first year


DE - Barry Turner - Had a stellar freshman campaign, ranking as one of the most prolific sackmasters out of all freshmen in the country. His sophomore year saw significantly decreased production, but Turner is still one of the most athletic players on defense


CB - Bryan Wilson - Has changed positions, going from corner to safety, and has yet to contribute significant minutes at Nebraska


The first statistic you have to look at is obviously the one which says that out of the 31 kids who committed, whether it was due to academics, discipline or transfer, 12 are no longer with the team.


That's not 33 percent. It's closer to 39, and that's not including the players who haven't made a significant impact as a player since they arrived.


We'll omit those that haven't played a down, because that's either due to injury, changing position or both. That list would include Nick Covey, Craig Roark and David Harvey.


Out of those remaining, you have to say that Bryan Wilson, Chris Brooks and Jordan Picou, while all still having a lot of potential, haven't done much up to this point.


That puts us at 12 who aren't Huskers anymore, three who haven't played a down because of injury, position move or both, and three more who just haven't lived up to what we believed to be their projected ability.




So, that leaves you 13, and out of those 13, there are some riding the fence, because we know they have ability. We might have seen it at some point, but probably more to do with injuries, they just haven't gotten to show just what they can do:


Phillip Dillard

Steve Octavien

Zack Bowman


I know some will say that Bowman has shown plenty. I would disagree there. He didn't start until the Oklahoma game his first year with the program, and what people seem to be hinging on as to him being this NFL first round pick are essentially two games, the last two of the season. Bowman is an incredible athlete, but until he proves it for an entire year, what's he really proven at all? We could have seen that last year, but obviously the injury kept him out, thus Andre Jones being thrown to the fire for his first season with Nebraska .


It's killing everyone not to see Phillip Dillard out there, because you see glimpses of what he can do when he's healthy. The expectations are, and I would agree with them, that when this kid actually does gets his time in, and can hopefully stay healthy, he'll be a good one for the blackshirts.


You can say the same about Steve Octavien, but his injury situation has seemingly followed him since his last year of high school. There's a hope he'll stay healthy for a season, but right now that's just what it is……..hope.


That leaves you 10 guys left, that being less than a third of your original class:


Zac Taylor

Ola Dagunduro

Barry Cryer

Zach Potter

Jacob Hickman

Barry Turner

Frantz Hardy

Ndamukong Suh

Marlon Lucky

Cody Glenn


In fairness, we should take the junior college players into account, because the class of 2005 was laden with JUCO transfers. So, let's break it down as far as how many are left and of those left, how much they have played:


Nebraska got 12 junior college transfers for the class of 2005. Of those 12, four are no longer with the team. Of the eight remaining, whether it was due to injury or just not being able to crack the depth chart, two (Wilson, Picou) haven't contributed much in regard to actual game reps.


Out of the six remaining, Octavien and Bowman stands as players who have performed well at times (especially Octavien) when healthy, but health has been the issue. It's hampered Octavien his entire Husker career and kept Bowman out all of last year.


So, that leaves you with four guys (Taylor, Cryer, Dagunduro, Hardy) Nebraska has gotten considerable playing time out of, and out of those four, Cryer, Dagunduro and Taylor proved to be consistent players for the big red.


Three out of 12 give you what you hope to get when you recruit junior college players. And out of the 19 prep players, six have given you a considerable amount of quality minutes. You should call that seven, as Congdon proved to be a major impact player for Nebraska , especially his first year.


If you transfer those figures to this year, out of the six junior college players Nebraska has, two will pan out. Out of the 23 prep players, at least in the first two years, Nebraska will get considerable minutes out of approximately seven. And if you want to take that comparison down even farther, 11 won't even be with the team in two years.


It's just too bad you can't pick which of those players it will be, eh?


There is some good news though. Nebraska 's lone five star according to (Lucky) is still on the team and is projected as the starter next year.

And out of the 11 four stars Nebraska had pledged to them for the class of 2005, only four are no longer with the team, and you could say Nebraska actually got a lot out of one of those, because there are a lot of four year players who in their entire career never have the impact that Jordan Congdon had when he kicked the game winner against Kansas State.


We'll call that one a push. So, seven out of 11 of your so-called "major" commits are either still on the team or just graduated and of those, few are going to argue with the value of much of that contribution. Heck, even the ones who haven't played all that much (Brooks, Dillard, Roark) all still have a ton of time to prove just what they can do.


They won't all work out though. As with anything, you reach for the sky, but take whatever you can get. You can't choose who shines, nor can you choose those who will simply not pan out. You can only wait for the inevitable end to see which player you might remember forever, and which ones you might have already forgot. That's the interesting part though. You get to watch it as it happens, and one day you will look back on this class much like we have looked back on 2005 and see just how everything broke down.


But the only thing definite that will happen when you do that, in two years, four years or even 10 years from now is that some of the so-called stars were anything but, some of those unknowns were stars who never really got their due, and some gave you exactly what you expected. That's this recruiting class, the recruiting class from two years ago and every recruiting class since or from now on.


That's why I love it. You just never know until it's all said and done.


The countdown to signing day continues

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