Last night, you heard about Joe Dailey's commit to Nebraska. Well, this was a decision that wasn't quite that new. We had talked to Joe days prior to this and his decision was all but made. He knew where he was going. The only problem is, it put him in a position he didn't want to be. So, he fudged a little, hid a little and tried to quietly do something he knew had to be done if he was going to be a Husker in the end. Our quotes from him are prior to it ever being announced that he was officially a Husker and it's what Joe had to go through in making this final decision.
The decision that came to Joe didn't come easily. Having already committed to a school, someone like Joe isn't prone to whimsical changes of the mind. There are consequences, not just from others, but from himself as he didn't see that going back on your word was a good thing. And people should know that the finality on his decision this time didn't come without some serious research and soul searching on his part.
"I traveled this summer to a whole bunch of schools and didn't feel quite at home." Dailey stated. "I went to Virginia and didn't feel at home there, went to Maryland and it just didn't feel quite right."
"I took a trip to Syracuse and camped up there for two days and had a great time. I had a good feeling about it. At that time, I thought that was the best place for me.
"I didn't think people got up there (Jersey) to look at me, so I figured Syracuse was the place, but after I got back from my (official) trip to Syracuse, it didn't sit well. I wasn't feeling too good about it and I got on the phone, got in touch with Nebraska and decided to take a trip back there."
At this point, Joe opened himself up to a school that he had been eyeing ever since NU started recruiting him late. It was a school that he couldn't help but follow because of those New Jersey stars like the Peter brothers and most recently, Jammal Lord to come out of his home state. To Joe, he didn't know what to think of his up-coming trip to NU, because to him, it wasn't Nebraska, it was NEBRASKA."I didn't know what to expect." Dailey stated in reference to his pending visit to NU. "That place is a legend."
"I never thought someone like myself would be considered upon to go to that school."
Considered he was and though Nebraska got into recruiting Dailey late, it was convenient timing as it was obvious, Joe was looking in other directions. All he needed was, was a direction to look to and UNL caught his eye more than anyone else. "When I got there, it was great." Joe said of his visit to NU. "I have never felt so near heaven."
"Football is my life. I eat, breath and sleep football and anytime you come across something that gives you that warm feeling like home, you just go crazy. I felt great when I got there and felt great when I got back."
What Joe feels is what most kids feel after most of their official visits. They feel invigorated to an extent, excited to an extent and each school has done what they can to leave an indelible impression. It's those times that a recruit is the most vulnerable as that is when emotional decisions are made. Emotional decisions always come back to haunt a recruit, but this was something Joe wasn't going to have to worry about. "I look at everything and every time I go on a trip, I have a spreadsheet where I type the pros and cons of every school."
"Nebraska topped out, except in one category and that's sending quarterbacks to the league as quarterbacks and that kind of bothered me. But now, everything is a little strange."
A little strange basically meant for Joe was that Syracuse wasn't anymore the cut and dry team where he was supposed to be. In fact, the tables had turned significantly in Nebraska's favor. It wasn't something that he was about to let on though, because there was much to do before his official decision could ever happen. "I've been telling reporters and papers that I am high on Syracuse, but I know that pretty soon, things are going to get interesting, but the thing is, I don't want to be the bad guy."
"I understand that this is the most important time to be selfish, but I still don't like being the bad guy. After you have made a promise and you are now going to hurt someone's feelings, it doesn't sit too well with me. I don't like that."
What Joe felt in our conversation as he was deciding that NU was the place for him was simply a matter of having a conscience. If Dailey could have easily swept aside his previous pledge to Syracuse, some might have wondered at his motivation and especially, his character. With the battle that Joe has had in making this decision, you can be rest assured that character is something Joe has in abundance. "It sucks being the guy to tell someone no." Dailey stated. "I like being the good guy."
"I just got done a few hours ago saying I was going to Syracuse, but I have to be truthful to myself, because I don't want to go somewhere for four years and say to myself, I could have done this."
What ifs, what might have beens and what could be. All these are questions that no recruit wants to think he will be asking himself, two to three years down the road. They are questions that simply make you look back when you had a chance to make the choice and wonder what it would be like if it was a different choice altogether.
That brought Joe (once again) back to Nebraska. "I'm a business guy." Joe said. "I'm not a big fan of partying and I don't like to go out unless it's something special. I am a big weight room guy, a big film guy and that's what they (Nebraska) preach."
There's also another reason that Joe, as prolific a passer as he is a rusher, decided that NU was worth a very, very hard look. "They (Nebraska) haven't had a guy yet that can really throw the ball." Dailey stated. "When you look at a guy like Eric Crouch, he won the Heisman and he couldn't throw."
"I say to myself someone that can run, throw and do it all, just imagine what a guy could do at Nebraska. If a guy like that comes in there, he could open it up and Nebraska would be that much harder to stop. They have the athletes, they just need that one thing to bring it all together."
And without trying to be egotistical about it, Joe thinks he is that one guy. He is that one guy that could bring something special to the table and as he stated, help to bring it altogether. "I want to be the one that can change it." Dailey stated about NU's reputation with sending quarterbacks to the league. I think that would be a great opportunity for me to exploit."
But again, it's about saying "No", but Joe knows that all those things he said of what he wanted to do wouldn't be possible unless he actually does it. "You make a promise early and you feel bad about hurt feelings." Dailey said. "But I have to and I am on the verge of doing that."
And with that, you know the rest of the story as Dailey did indeed win his inner-battle and commit to Nebraska. It was a commit that Joe said was what was made for him and Husker fans will be glad to know that what Dailey brings to the table is not only prolific, it's exciting. Great speed, great quickness and of course, he can throw that ball.
Dailey's physical prowess aside though, for such a short journey in terms of time, this has been a long journey for him in regards to effort, mental that is. Back and forth, to and fro, Joe battled and fought to be the good guy, but it was better to be right in the end. For Joe, Nebraska is most definitely the "right" place to be.
Steve Ryan can be reached at email@example.com or 402-730-5619