It's a two-horse race

It's a rebuilding process, of sorts. In light of recent defections from the 2008 recruiting class, the Husker coaching staff has found the need to reload. Being a native of Ohio , it's not a surprise to see Bo Pelini had back to his native state to help in doing just that. Zach Domicone is one of the latest to make the list as recruit. Can they make him a commit?

It was around three weeks ago and Beavercreek , Ohio resident and high school star Zach Domicone had a few written offers thus far. Arkon had offered him as did Ohio , along with Air Force and Big East upstart UCONN.

All very good offers, but despite his existing popularity, when the offer from Nebraska came, this two-way standout was a little surprised. "It was pretty surprising, to be honest. I hadn't heard a thing from the staff before this one and it really kind of came out of the blue," he said. "I got a call on a Wednesday, and it was just a few days after that and I got the offer,"

Nebraska might have gotten in late, but when you look at Domicone's numbers, both physically, and what he produced on the field, it might be more surprising that Domicone doesn't have more offers than he does currently.

Standing 6-2, Zach weighs right around 215 pounds, while running in the consistent 4-5-range. However, a couple of times during camps he attended before his senior season, he reeled off a couple of jaw-droppers. "I ran a 4.47 at the Akron camp and then I did it again at the Ohio State camp," Domicone said. "So, it's pretty obvious that I consider my speed to be a strength of mine."

That speed helped his Beavercreek team to a 6-4 record, which is actually the first winning-record for the Beavers football team since 1991. Point of fact, according to Domicone, winning there was something that prior to his freshman year, this team didn't do at all. "We were on a losing streak of like 30 games in a row or something, going into my freshman year," Zach said. "We haven't won a state title or anything, but compared to where we were, we have a lot to be proud of."

As with any program, progress can come frustratingly slow. But for a team which had lost so many games in a row, some is better than none. Starting with the 2004 season, Domicone's squad won two games his first two years, five games his junior year and six games this last season.

For Domicone's part, as it is with many small schools, he was workmen-like on both sides of the ball. But it was on offense where his impact was really felt. "I had over a thousand yards rushing last year playing quarterback, and I had 1,111 yards this year, along with nine touchdowns. I had five touchdowns throwing," he said. "I was pretty involved on the defense early on, but after I separated my shoulder about midway through, they only used me on defense in third and long or passing situations."

The Beavers ran the spread offense, but it was a West Virginia-like spread, utilizing the quarterback more as a runner and pitchman than someone who was going to hurt a team throwing the ball down the field.

As you would figure, though, that's not the position he's being recruited to play. "Pretty much everyone is looking at me to play defense, some at safety and others see me as a linebacker," Domicone said.

Nebraska has told Zach that either is an option for him. "I guess it depends on where I fit in best, but they are recruiting me to play either safety or "WILL" linebacker," he said. "I don't mind either, because the way it sounds like they use them, I'll get a chance to get out there and make plays."

For Husker fans who can remember the 2003 season when Bo Pelini was the defensive coordinator for the big red, they can recall quite happily the impact of one Demorrio Williams. Playing the WILL linebacker position, Williams spent almost as much time with his hand on the ground getting penetration up-field as he did making plays on his own side of the line.

Zach looks at Pelini's philosophy and the rather urgent need Nebraska has at linebacker, stemming from the loss of four linebackers, all who had starting experience – as a great situation for him. "There's definitely an opportunity to play early and that's at either safety or linebacker," he said. "They lose four starters at LB and at safety, I think they said they have two scholarship players right now.

"Honestly, I'd play either position, whatever they needed me to play, just so I can get on the field. I just want to play."

Zach is sitting on five offers right now, but said that this is currently a two-horse race. Nebraska enters the mix based on their recent offer, and the other team he's seriously considering is UCONN.

Zach said that he'll be visiting both in January, but even though he's tentatively set up visits with the Huskies and Huskers on the 11th and 18th of January, he's not completely sure as to which school gets which visit. "That's still in the works right now. I'm not exactly sure which school I am visiting on which date, but the 11th and 18th look like the dates," he said.

UCONN is a school which has become familiar to Domicone as the recruiting process has gone on, and he's watched the Huskies go from obscurity to prominence during the 2007 season. Much of the reason for their success has come on the defensive side of the ball. For the 2006 season, Connecticut ranked 93rd in the country in scoring defense, allowing 27 points per game. In 2007 they finish ranked 16th, allowing almost a full 10 points less.

Nebraska ? In scoring defense, they finished 114th in the country, allowing just a tenth of a point shy of 38 per game.

So, is one sense you see that UCONN might have a little more to build from than the Huskers, which in football, I don't know how many times in one's life you could say that. Even so, Domicone says that Nebraska obviously has something UCONN doesn't. "They've got tradition. They've been a pretty big-time team for a long time, and they are just going through the same kind of stuff every other team goes through. But with the new coaching staff, especially on defense, I think that's going to change," he said.

With just over 36 days before Letter of Intent Day, where preps around the country will sign to their college of choice, Zach said that he knows these two visits are going to be key. With this being a two-horse race, at least right now, what he sees and experiences will more than likely determine where he's going to go.

Furthermore, he isn't looking for anything fancy. He just wants to feel the way many recruits hope they feel when they visit a place and it just feels like the place they should be. "Yeah, that would be nice. It would be nice to just be there and know that's where I should be. I hope it works out like that," he said. "But I will take my visits and if that doesn't happen, I'll just sit down and go over what I know.

"It's going to be a tough choice, no matter what I do, but both are great programs. I know between either one, they will be great opportunities for the future."


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