State of Recruiting: Defense

If there was a need for Bill Callahan and his staff to address in his first couple of recruiting classes it was offense. It was a square peg into a round hole with the personnel that were left by Frank Solich and the option offense to be thrown into the West Coast Offense. The defense was a little neglected, in terms of recruiting, but had a good haul last year and will again this year.

Yesterday, Big Red Report broke down the offensive side of the ball, here, and will now take a stab at the defense. The thing that you will notice about the defense is that like the offense there are only a few spots left, but you will note that there are a lot more names to consider for those few remaining spots.

DEFENSIVE LINE - Nebraska graduated all four across the defensive line last year and is looking to bring in at least one at each defensive line position this year to continue the re-building process. The Huskers first got Eric Harper who will more than likely end up being an open end in Nebraska's defense, potentially a base end given his height, and could also play tight end possibly. Also with Harper is Josh Williams from Denton (Texas) Ryan who is a prototypical open end at about 6-foot-3.5 and 225-pounds today. Williams has the "pin your ears back and get the quarterback" mentality and is Nebraska first, true open end recruit since Barry Turner. WOW! To the inside, Nebraska found a gem in Darius Parish from Kansas who is a bit of a project, but has tremendous upside given his size, 325-pounds, and tremendous strength.

The remaining spots along the defensive line seem to be the most flexible, based on who Nebraska still has considering them, and because the defensive line needs some depth. Now, Joseph Townsend will figure into the 2008 class probably counting against the 2007 class, but there is still a need at base end and at the defensive tackle position. Cameron Meredith seems like a highly likely candidate to join the 2008 class as a base end. Another base end that is favoring Nebraska is Simi Kuli from Torrance (Calif.) El Camino. Nebraska is also after a defensive tackle from El Camino in Justin Thompson. There are only a couple of other high school defensive tackle names to throw out there such as Jerel Worthy, Vaughn Dotsy and Stacy McGee all of which Nebraska is not the leader with either of them.

LINEBACKER - The linebacker position is a huge need position for the 2008 class and Nebraska has some solid names there already on their commitment list. Sean Fisher is a little bit responsible for the success that Nebraska has enjoyed on the defensive side of the ball in this class. His commitment really got the ball rolling for Nebraska and it really hasn't stopped since. Fisher is joined by fellow linebackers Shaun Mohler, Doug Rippy and Will Compton.

By all means, this is a great class already for the Huskers and the current linebackers that they have committed. However, there is still a spot out there, it seems, to grab one more linebacker. Nebraska has been considered by so many great linebackers up to recently, but now there seems to be just one big name that is still out there, Kenny Demens. Demens is a tough, physical linebacker who could really add even more to this class and this group of already fine linebackers. If Demens chooses Michigan or Michigan State, Nebraska may not take another linebacker or you could see one of the current commits potentially slide to this position somewhere down the line (I will mention him later in this article).

SECONDARY - Nebraska picked up a commitment from, at the time, little-known cornerback David Whitmore. Whitmore has burst on the scene now following his tremendous performance in College Station for 7 on 7. A taller, longer cornerback, Whitmore could potentially put some size on that tall frame and could potentially play safety. Speaking of safety, the Huskers are sitting on a couple of commitments from offers extended at summer camps in Lincoln.

The first to bite on the Nebraska offer was Nebraska born and raised, John Levorson. Levorson, actually viewed more as an athlete, projects to play safety initially at Nebraska, but has been told that his real future might be at the linebacker position in Lincoln. The second to take up the offer from Nebraska following a strong summer camp is Keelan Johnson. Johnson, a standout running back from Arizona, projects to also play safety in Lincoln and he, along with Levorson, add a lot of athleticism and big-play ability to the secondary.

Nebraska is still looking to probably one more cornerback and one more safety. At cornerback, Marc Anthony and Leonard Johnson appear to be the top targets. Another name that will pop up again on Nebraska's radar will be D'Anton Lynn and he could play any position in the secondary, but he will be a tough pull. Keelan appears to be a strong safety and with the loss of Tierre Green and Brian Wilson at the end of the season to graduation there is a need for a free safety. Maurice Harvey and Victor Johnson appear to be the top targets to fill the hole in the class at free safety followed by Brandon Leslie and possibly C.J. Cox or Stephen Hicks.

In comparison to the offense, the defense is awfully tough to project how the class could finish up. It seems to have the most flexibility in terms of numbers and more often than not a player could play a number of positions on the defense either initially or even potentially. Expect this list to change, more so than the offensive list, as people commit or look elsewhere. This should be a "defense heavy" class and as you can see from the remaining targets that the defensive side of the ball should equate for more than 50% of the class and will be full of quality recruits at need positions.


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