Well, the world done gone topsy turvy and what in the heck is going on here? Ok, I have no idea what I just said, but I'm confused. Yeah, I am confused. Nebraska is the one that loses commits to other schools. Nebraska is the one getting jilted in the end. But, looky here boys and girls, Chris Patrick from Purdue, Joe Dailey from Syracuse and now, Ryan Schuler from Oklahoma. The new coaching staff has made one heck of an impression and they haven't even stepped on the field or called a single play. Not bad. Not bad at all.
Oh yes, there's the slight matter of the recent de-commit of linebacker, Lance Broadus. Nebraska is still in there, but it seems distance is the factor and Oregon is on him more than there is make up on Zsa Zsa Gabor. According to Lance, it's all a little too much. "One school calls me and talks to me and I am leaning to them and then, another calls me and I am leaning to them. I just want to get away from it and make this decision on my own."
Again, Lance said if distance does become a defining factor, Oregon is the favorite, but if not, NU is right back in the mix.
Not to put a tear in your beer as the old song says, but de-commits aren't famous for re-committing. Just so ya know.
The recent change of heart by offensive lineman, Ryan Schuler has some people in shock. You just don't see NU pulling commits from prominent Universities, especially their most notorious rival, the Oklahoma Sooners. The significance here isn't just the fact that Schuler is a helluva player, it has more to do with symbolism.
You have a brand new staff that has barely had a chance to acclimate themselves to NU, but already they have made certain recruits so comfortable with them and their plans for Nebraska's future, they aren't just signing on, but signing off other schools to join the Big Red. Ryan admitted as much saying that he didn't feel the connection with the old staff, but this Barney Cotton offensive line suits him and his goals just fine.
Just imagine what this coaching staff is going to do with a full year to research, analyze and recruit. It does make you wonder if NU will find it's way into being one of those recruiting "powers", now doesn't it?
Due to the fact that Ryan Schuler left OU for NU, there's been a lot of hub bub about other recruits doing the same. Let me clue you in on something folks. You could say that is accurate with every single school out there. I would hazard a guess and say that there is not one school in all of Division 1-A that doesn't have at least one recruit wondering if he made the right decision. It happened to Purdue, Oklahoma and Syracuse, thus favoring NU and it just happened to NU, favoring possibly Oregon. It's news when it happens, yes, but it's not news that it's happening. This is the way it is every single year. As they say, until that LOI is signed, nothing is for certain.
This is how your Nebraska recruiting class looks right now.
He's solid. Don't let anyone else tell you different.
He would appear to be a future Husker, but how far into the future, that's the question. Grades appear to be an issue once again, so Antwon could be planning on class for his immediate future, but not at NU.
Because of the success of Matt Herian, many speculate as to the need for any one of these guys to move over to the RE position possibly. I wouldn't be banking on that one. NU needed all three of these guys. Heck, they needed one more really to break even on the total loss of tight ends. As it is though, Herian's success does offer NU a small comfort zone at that position, especially if Herian can add some muscle without losing any of that oh-so valuable speed.
Andy is a great athlete and that's what NU is always looking for at the wideout position. In the new system of Cotton, these receivers might become more than the perceived glorified blockers they are. Andy's size doesn't lend itself to a consistent ability to create separation, but it's Tim Albin's new job to mix up passing routes enough so that no one receiver can be considered the true target for whatever QB is at the helm. Andy should prove a very effective route runner and again, in the new offense, that should prove more and more valuable as the year and years progress(es).
NU is still probably looking for one more lineman, but they got themselves a very solid group of four. Ryan Schuler coming over from OU is huge for a lot of reasons, but his size and speed make him an instant plus to keeping the pipeline tradition going and going strong.
Much speculation will be as to whether any of these guys can get to the field either as true freshman or redshirt freshman, excluding of course Darin Delone. I wouldn't assume that to be the case as except for Schuler, each is projected at the guard or center position and based on what Richie Incognito decides to do and the health of some linemen that missed last year, this should be an area that "could" be relatively deep, at least for now.
Darin Delone being a junior college transfer is expected to make an immediate impact. But, also, the "Big Smooth", Jemayel Phillips is expected to make his presence felt as well. Just from a purely theoretical standpoint, seeing Phillips and Delone as the bookends isn't out of the realm of possibility. Both have the size and perhaps in Jemayel's case, a little too much size, but he's 6'6" for goodness sake and I mean, he's ALL of 6'6". I think the tackle position could be one of the more interesting positions to develop over the Spring.
This kid is a flat out stud. Size, speed and an aggressiveness you can feel when you talk to him. Even at his size, this is another player that has been speculated some as to his potential at RE. I don't think that's going to materialize, because the interior line on the defensive side may appear deep, but if Bo Pelini does indeed decide to incorporate a 5-2, using a lineman rather than bringing a linebacker up to the line of scrimmage, a deep position suddenly needs bodies. Teamer should end up staying at DT.
It wasn't that long ago when the secondary recruiting was looking desperately thin. With Keyou Craver's brother, Steve looked at as a linebacker instead of his listed position of safety, Kade Pittman was the only real serious commit NU had. Now, all of a sudden, they got a JUCO stud in DeFrand who is expected to make a very hard push to start across from Fabian Washington and Titus Brothers, who was the best cornerback on the best team in the toughest class in all of Texas football. Don't let his size fool you. Titus is considered a solid "lock-down" cover guy, which is what any "man-to-man" system has to have.
Adrain Turner is considered a "soft verbal", though I think he'll stick his pledge to NU out. He's also a very good cover corner and let me tell you, this kid isn't lacking for confidence. "I know I am going to be a freshman coming in, but after I get my feet wet, I'm going to be one of the best in the country." Turner said. That's the attitude you love to see. Now, if his physical skills match, NU got themselves a gem.
With the commit of Lance Broadus, Bo Ruud's future was starting to look like a RE in the making. Yeah, back to that position we go. But, if Broadus ends up going elsewhere, Bo could indeed be backing brother, Barrett Ruud up at MLB. Craver isn't expected to qualify unfortunately, but Corey McKeon will make a great OLB or SLB, depending on what NU needs when he hits the field. Because of Corey's size though, SLB seems the early bet.
Also, don't count out Mr. Muhammad, whom we will cover next, because his "tweener" label makes him an ideal candidate to play either RE or MLB. He's got the athleticism to do it and this guy is a pure animal on defense.
When you lose your starters at one position, if you weren't deep, you got issues. Well, NU wasn't deep, so yeah, they got issues. Issues that were addressed at least in part with the commit of Wali and were definitely helped by the change of heart from Chris Patrick. Wali comes in sporting some serious stats, boasting 22 sacks this last year at junior college. Chris Patrick boasts some pretty fair potential himself, pushing 6'5" and weighing in at 240lbs.
Wali is expected to hit the field running, anticipated by many to start this year opposite "CRUNK JUICE", Benard Thomas. Get ready folks, because if this combination pans out the way it at least appears on paper, the quarterbacks facing these two are going to get a fast lesson on what A Wali Muhammad sandwich tastes like, chased by a huge swig of the JUICE. As for Chris, he expects (as do we) to redshirt and come in physically ready for his step up to big time football.
As for what NU has left to give, if Broadus goes someplace else, NU is looking at around 4 ships left to offer and obviously, 3 if Broadus comes back into the fold.
With those ships, I would say that 1-4, we will list them in priority of need as we see it.
1 - LB - this is of course based on Broadus going to Oregon which he says is his other choice. There's a lot of expected movements to take place over the off-season at the linebacker position, some speculation as to Lannie Hopkins moving to LB and T.J. Hollowell and Demorrio Williams being moved around to the extent that both would be on the field at the same time. Regardless of this movement though, there will be a lack of depth at the MLB position especially.
2 - Secondary - Recent commits have given the coaches some breathing room, but in my estimation, this position is a lot like the offensive line. You simply get whatever you can get and the best that is available. Trouble is, out of what NU is still vying for, their chances at one more premier prospect are getting slimmer by the day, if not the hour. Lionel Green is the best on the board right now in terms of being the closest thing to a realistic get as they have. That's not saying that it will happen, but as it would appear that Mike Jenkins could end up at Auburn, he's the best choice of what little choices they have left.
3 - OL - At NU, you always need great offensive linemen and you need them every year. In recent years, NU hasn't been able to get that across the board like they were accustomed to, at least to an extent. Some definite gems have come out of the classes they have had, but the consistency through numbers, that's what has been missing. NU would appear to be doing a lot to rectify that with this current class of "bigguns", but they could use one more solid contributor to make this O-Line class complete.
4 - RE - Just because the starters are considered potential stars, depth always remains an issue and it's certainly an issue here. J.C. Braker keeps coming up in conversations as to NU's last hope at one established RE prospect that can (if needed) make an immediate impact. He's real tall, real lanky and as you would expect from a guy of his stature, he's a speed-rusher by nature. Getting to the edge and turning to the QB, using those long arms as grapplers and yes, weapons if needed.
I don't have a feel on just how realistic this kid is for NU, so let's just keep him on the board as a possibility, but he's looking to be the only big-timer NU has left on the board at this position.
With just about a week to go, one of the biggest themes has been something we touched on more than a few times during this write-up. It's the de-commit. I'm sure that this year isn't significantly any better or worse in regards to the total number of them around the country, but when it comes to NU pulling them out, I think it has to be. It's a good trend for NU in that players are willing to say no after they have already said yes, just to be playing for the Big Red.
The downside to that though is that it has people now worrying how much it could happen to them, even with so little time left to go before signing day. Lance Broadus certainly didn't help alleviate anyone's tension and now, signing day won't bring anticipation completely as now, it could bring a little anxiety as well, just praying to hear each and everyone of the above-listed names as guys that were officially signed.
Out of the remaining class, I think NU fans can breathe a little easier though. Though Turner is considered a soft verbal, I think his chances at doing something at NU are good and as you saw, he's not lacking for confidence.
Chris Patrick, also no worries for people as in this case, the third time is definitely the charm. And as for Joe Dailey, the de-commit from Syracuse, why there has been so much speculation as to his not being solid I will never know. He's solid, solid, solid. Forget about it.
Other than that, I don't see that NU fans have anything to worry about, at least in regards to who else they might lose, rather I think they should look forward to who else they might get. The list of names has dwindled, but as you saw, there's still some names out there and pretty good ones at that. And, as one guy said in that movie, even if it's a million to one shot, that still means there's a chance.
Well, that winds this edition of TAKE ONE up. Hope you got something out of it and if you had to take a nap before you got through it all, don't feel guilty, so did I. Stay tuned for our final TAKE ONE of THIS recruiting season, because it's going to be the mother of all TAKE ONES. We'll take you down this entire class, one by one. Bring out some old quotes, some old notes and we'll even throw some new ones in there for ya. Also, we will throw a lot of other stuff as well, about this class and some thoughts about their future, immediate or otherwise.
Make sure to be here on signing day. I'll be at the press conference coach Solich is holding in the early afternoon, giving some play-by-play through someone on the board. Plus, we will have quotes and notes about comments Solich had on the entire class, one-by-one and at 8:00 central time, we will have our LOI chat, open to all that night. Make sure to be here as we talk about everything that went on and we will share a few stories here and there about some of the things you didn't hear as this prep-recruiting season moved along.
Thanks again, take care and we will see you one more time for this season's last edition of TAKE ONE.
Steve Ryan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-730-5619