Off to a great start

Nebraska recruiting this year has been a lot of fun to track. More than Nebraska just being off to a high quality start, they are off to a high quantity start. Nebraska isn't known for fast starts on it's recruiting classes like Texas, and they'll never be, but Nebraska is out of the gate faster then they have ever been.

There is really only one word to sum up Nebraska's recruiting effort and success to this point: impressive. The Cornhuskers are off to a fast start and a quality start.

The Huskers last year, at this time, had only one commit. That sole commit was Niles Paul, an in-state product who dreamt of being a Husker.

This year, Nebraska has locked down the majority of the in-state recruits and also hit up the neighboring states for their top prospects. The idea here is to extend the state border.

Nebraska has had success dipping into neighboring states like Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and the Dakota before in the past. This idea could counter what Texas enjoys when it comes to recruiting.

Roughly, if you took the combined populations of the aforementioned states and put them together you would still only have a little more than half of the total population of Texas.

While Texas can just go look in their own back yard for 20+ commits, Nebraska needs to look outside the state for 20+ of theirs. Extending their borders is a place to start.

It's been said, time and time again, that recruiting is about relationships. Maybe a school doesn't have a player this year, but if you are the only coach to stop by this year maybe you get the call next year about a player.

It's these types of efforts and relationships that the Nebraska coaching staffs seem to be building. It's these types of efforts that will help Nebraska extend their state border.

Nebraska has nailed down three of the four recruits that they have extended in-state offers to. The in-state commits consists of Collins Okafor, Baker Steinkuhler and Trevor Robinson.

If there was a commitment that seemed inevitable it might have been Steinkuhler this year. His father, Dean, lettered at Nebraska from 1981-1983 and became standard at Nebraska for how offensive lineman are measured.

Steinkuhler also has a brother, Ty, that is currently on the team. Nebraska fans have been aware of Baker for years now. Baker could fit on either the offensive or defensive side of the line at Nebraska.

Okafor, the second in-state commitment for Nebraska is a little over-shadowed by the other two, in-state commits, but is deserving of attention. Last year he ran for 1,870 yards and 16 scores.

Okafor has a rare size and speed combination. The 6-foot-1 and 210-pound running back from Omaha (Nebr.) Westside still has 4.5-second speed in the 40-yard dash.

The last in-state commitment is most definitely the most contested. Robinson was considering offers from Notre Dame and Michigan before pulling the trigger on a commitment to Nebraska a week before the spring game.

Robinson is what Nebraska needed this year in it's class. Robinson has the size and the feet to play either inside or outside at the next level. He also has the mean streak that you like in your lineman.

The outstanding offer to an in-state player is Sean Fisher. Fisher, a 6-foot-5 and 210-pound athlete from Omaha (Nebr.) Millard North is now holding other offers from Iowa, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Like Steinkuhler, Fisher has ties to the Nebraska program. Todd Fisher is Sean's father who lettered at Nebraska in 1983. The top five for Fisher are Nebraska, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Iowa and Iowa State.

To go along with in-state commits Steinkuhler and Robinson along the offensive line are Dan Hoch and Bryce Givens. Hoch and Givens are both considered one of the best players in their respective states and at their positions nationally.

Hoch has become a pretty popular man since his commitment to Nebraska. The 6-foot-7 and 290-pound Hoch was Nebraska's third commitment to the 2008 class.

Hoch hails from one of the most successful programs in Iowa in Harlan (Ia.) Harlan Community. Last year was the first time in four years that Harlan Community failed to win state. As a junior, Hoch was all-district, all Southwest Iowa and all-state.

Three days following the commitment of Robinson, Givens followed suit bringing Nebraska's commitment total to five with four being offensive lineman. As a group, Steinkuhler, Hoch, Robinson and Givens will be considered one of the best nationally.

Givens, individually though, is one of three, four-star commitments at the offensive line position for Nebraska. Givens comes in at 6-foot-6 and 270-pounds with very good athleticism.

The offensive line is then one of the biggest reasons that Nebraska received a commitment from Blaine Gabbert. Gabbert, a 6-foot-5 and 235-pound quarterback from Ballwin (Mo.) Parkway West, chose Nebraska.

Gabbert is larger now then most of the starting division one quarterbacks. He is also as fleet of foot as any current quarterbacks in Lincoln. It's this combination of size and speed, not to mention the intelligence and arm strength, that make Gabbert a great prospect.

While all of the aforementioned commitments have been on the offensive side of the ball, Nebraska has actually received the commitment from one defensive player. A player that addresses a serious need.

David Whitmore, a 6-foot-2 and 185-pound defensive back from Port Arthur (Texas) Memorial, has the height that college coaches are looking for in cornerbacks. The additional height doesn't take anything away from Whitmore's 4.5 speed either.

Whitmore's commitment actually came two days before the spring game and was officially number six for Nebraska. His commitment could be what the doctor ordered to get commitments rolling on the defensive side of the football.

While Nebraska only has commitments from one defensive player there are a host of defensive players that seem close to deciding that have Nebraska listed among their favorites.

Nebraska is currently listed as the leader or high on the lists of Arthur Brown, C.J. Cox, Ethan Davis, Steve Filer, Sean Fisher, Stephan Hicks, Simi Kuli, Brandon Leslie, Kyle Prater, and Josh Williams. Many on that list plan on committing in the coming months.

Don't rule out Nebraska being active trying to find a fifth lineman for this class and it's obvious that Nebraska wants to bring in a tight end or two to this class. You need to only look at the quantity of offers to tight ends to realize this.

It's May, you're bored and you wish that recruiting would take off. While you think that now might be slow just consider where Nebraska was at last year and where this year's class seems to be going. Patience, Husker fans, patience.

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