OT: Pace of Nebraska Recruiting

Submitted by Coastal Elite on May 8th, 2013 at 5:05 PM

Good article from Rittenberg on the slower pace of Nebraska recruiting due to their geographic isolation and consequent need to rely on official (university-paid) visits rather than unofficial (prospect-paid) visits. I don't know about you guys, but I've always wondered why Nebraska - despite consistently ranking among the top 25 recruiting classes nationally and in the top 3 recruiting classes in the conference - always seems to have such a sluggish start in receiving verbals.

Of course, it will be interesting to see if Nebraska is able to sustain their recruiting success with now even elite prospects feeling tremendous pressure to commit before their senior year of high school.




May 8th, 2013 at 7:57 PM ^

Back in the day, they used to be able to feed their no-name farmboys steaks laced with 'roids. Add some weight training and they had everything they needed to slowly wear down just about any team.

Quite often, the scores of games against Iowa State, Kansas, et al. were 14-0/17-0 at halftime. Check back midway through the 4th quarter (when the other team was completely spent) and it would be 55-0/63-0.

snarling wolverine

May 8th, 2013 at 9:26 PM ^

It's weird to read that the Outland winner only weighed 273 - and bench-pressed 350. And that was an admitted steroid user. Offensive linemen today are routinely 40-50 pounds heavier than that and can bench a lot more than that.  Makes you wonder...





May 9th, 2013 at 4:44 AM ^

I mention this often.  The legend of the 175 pound freshman who turns into a "corn-fed," 325 pound senior starter faded rather quickly once the NCAA started testing for steroids.


May 8th, 2013 at 5:24 PM ^

College football has changed, and Nebraka geographically and demographically is being put behind the eight ball.  Not to mention the recruiting game has changed, and depending on official visits from a prospects senior season is putting them way behind in the race for the best as well.


May 8th, 2013 at 5:33 PM ^

Is Nebraska anymore "isolated" than Oklahoma or Wisconsin? Kansas State put together some pretty decent teams while being "isolated". I'm not discounting the article's points, but the assumption which some people are making is that Nebraska is doomed, and I don't believe that at all.


May 8th, 2013 at 5:40 PM ^

Oklahoma borders Texas, one of the most fertile recruiting grounds in the nation, and gets a lot of prospects from there.  Kansas St popped up the last two years, and did previously during the Sproles years; Snyder is a good coach.  But even they haven't reach the consistancy.  And yes, UW is the exception to the isolated, low "talent", team that everybody always points to (which also plays in the terrible B1G).  But there's a reason they're the exception: it's because they're like the only one whose been able to do that.  I wouldn't want to have to be the exception to the rule if I were Nebraska.


May 8th, 2013 at 10:05 PM ^

Snyder has historically recruited lower rated players.  He's the anti-Urban Meyer, in that he could give a rip how the services rank/rate a player.  He watches in-depth film and evaluates the player's character.  The results have been very good.

He's one of the greatest college football coaches ever.  Doing what he did at K-State (twice) is amazing.


May 8th, 2013 at 5:45 PM ^

The state of OK has way (way) more talent than NE, and they're very close to Dallas which has tons and tons.  Wisconsin is a better example, but they usually start slow as well and don't typically recruit all that well (all four of their recruits right now are in-state).  And Kansas State takes more JUCO transfers than any school in the country, but K-State also doesn't recruit well.  

The article didn't say Nebraksa is bad because they are isolated, just that their recruiting gets delayed.  K-State has a very good coach that makes the most of their lesser talent, and Wisconsin has done a good job of that lately as well.  

Mi Sooner

May 8th, 2013 at 6:45 PM ^

Tulsa and OKC that are producers of D-1 talent along with the talent in military base cities such as Enid. And as already mentioned Dallas and KC are well within driving distance with the St. Louis area not that much farther away. Nebraska is in the middle of nowhere.

Most of the out of state students at OU are from the metro areas of Dallas Fort Worth, Houston, KC and St. Louis. Very few came from the metro Toledo area like me.


May 8th, 2013 at 11:21 PM ^

I live in Omaha, and my positions requires I cover all of the wonderful central states (NE, IA, KS, MO, OK, IL, MN, ND,SD,etc).  It takes about 2.5hrs to get to Kansas City and around 6hrs to get to St Louis from Lincoln or Omaha.  Manhattan KS is about 45min closer to each, but has nowhere near the facilities, funding, tradition or fan support that Nebraska has.  

I think that the big challenge is more around Pellini and his personality/recruiting at the moment than anything else.  I also get the feeling that he is close to being in a position to have a Big Ten Championship or else in Lincoln or he may be out the door.  He was brought in here for his supposed defensive prowess and I think that pretty much began and ended with Suh and now that Osborne has retired and a new AD in place, I can see that changing.  Callahan could recruit but he and the AD at the time were even more out of touch with the tradition and history in Lincoln than Rodriquez in AA.  

If Pellini wins at least a Big Ten Championship, they will most likely at least maintain a battle with Penn State on 3/4 in the conference in recruiting when PSU exits purgatory.  Even last year they had plenty of visits from big talents from CA, TX, etc during the season, so it is definitely possible to recruit to Lincoln, but the fact that Pellini is neck and neck with the doucebag in South Bend for potential to have a sideline aneurysm does not win him any points picking up the recruits.  Winning more games and the backing is there to do well in Lincoln.


May 9th, 2013 at 12:18 AM ^

He was comparing Nebraska to Oklahoma, not Kansas State.  

Nebraska will not win a Big Ten championship anytime soon.  Their shot was last year when everything fell into place for them (which obviously fell way out of place during the championship game).  They'll make their share of championship games, but they will then lose to whoever was better between us and OSU.  

Perkis-Size Me

May 8th, 2013 at 5:48 PM ^

Yes, I'd argue much more so. Oklahoma is very easy for recruits from Texas to come visit, as well as some other close southern states that produce good talent. Wisconsin is very close to the Chicago area, and Illinois in general usually fields good talent.

Nebraska is surrounded by absolutely nothing for hundreds of miles in any direction, and its not like the state produces a lot of top-flight talent anyway.


May 9th, 2013 at 9:35 AM ^

^ This.

I'm not sure that the move to the Big Ten was a good one for Nebraska football.  Actually, I'm pretty sure it was a bad one.

They lose their annual presence in TX which is a key recruiting ground for any Big XII team.  Now they are just an out-of-the-way team that is out of sight out of mind in TX.  They are reduced to having to fight for scraps in OH after OSU, Michigan, and even MSU are done there.

Nebraska must have really hated the University of Texas to put themselves in this postiton.



May 8th, 2013 at 5:49 PM ^

It has been mentioned already but it all depends on where you're recruiting base is. Oklahoma recruits Oklahoma and Texas, Wisonsin recruits Wisconsin, Chicago, and Ohio while Nebraska recruits Nebraska??? They used to draw quite a bit from Texas but with the recent move to the BIG that has changed.


May 8th, 2013 at 6:51 PM ^

Not exactly the same situation. The state of Oklahoma has a pretty solid base of recruits every year, almost comparable to Michigan. Then there's Texas, its border state, which is one of the 3 biggest recruiting states in the country. Texas may be large and spread out, but Michigan's recruiting spread is very comparable to Oklahoma's spread. Nebraska is literally in the middle of nowhere. 

Here's a list of Nebraska's border states:

South Dakota, Iowa, Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming.

You could maybe include Missouri, which is probably the best recruiting state among those remotely close to them (Missouri or Colorado). Not to mention that the state of Nebraska isn't exactly known for it's elite football either. Sure, some eliteish guys can pop up here and there, but not near as frequent as even states like Michigan or Oklahoma. 

Short story: The current recruiting trend does not assist Nebraska in any way.


May 8th, 2013 at 5:34 PM ^

Has Nebraska really been all that successful in recruiting? I've always seen it as one of Pelini's weaknesses (though the article added some additional perspective). Nebraska has the cache and facilities to be attracting top 10 classes every year; if I were a Husker fan, top 25 wouldn't be good enough for me.

Coastal Elite

May 8th, 2013 at 6:16 PM ^

Their aggregate recruiting class ranking to Rivals has put them in the top 3 of the Big Ten for the last four seasons (every year since 2009). So while they might not be recruiting well by historic Nebraska standards, they are still consistently outrecruiting 75% of the Big Ten.


May 8th, 2013 at 7:07 PM ^

Yeah, but that's not saying much. We had uncharacteristically mediocre classes for two of those four years (2010 and 2011) because of [**REDACTED**], and Penn State was running on autopilot for about the last 10 years of JoePa's career.

A program like Nebraska should be compared against the top-recruiting programs nationally, not to the rest of the Big Ten.


May 8th, 2013 at 5:40 PM ^

Recruiting is coaches working their tails off to get into recruits ears, heads and convince them this is the place for them no matter what school they are recruiting for.

Nebraska seems like they are way behind in the evaluation period as well not just sending out offers.  They have litte buzz in recruiting so they are in trouble.  Nebraska used to have the entire state run it's option offense for hs football so they could take walk on's on offense every yr that were tailor made to step in.  That allowed them to focus a little heavier on defense in recruiting.

Nebraska isn't that far from texas, or certainly no further from texas than alabama is and other sec schools tha regularly recruit Texas....they just have to get out and work it., though Pelini has never been known for being a bigtime recruiter.


May 8th, 2013 at 5:56 PM ^

Your last paragraph just isn't true.  Nebraska is certainly much farther away from Texas than nearly every SEC West team, certainly the ones that recruit Texas heavily (and Alabama is really not one of them, 2011-2014 they have 4 guys from Texas, two of which are from Houston which is way closer to Tuscaloosa than Lincoln).  

Plus, the SEC West has the benefit of playing in Texas every other year, and a handful of games very close (LSU, Arkansas) and Nebraska can't offer that.  Nebraska has actually started recruiting Ohio a lot more than Texas because they'll play closer to home (and Pelini is from there).  

Leaders And Best

May 8th, 2013 at 6:06 PM ^

A major advantage Nebraska had in recruiting Texas was that they played in the Big 12 and usually had multiple road trips to the various Texas schools to sell. With Nebraska leaving the Big 12, Texas A&M joining the SEC, and TCU joining the Big 12, Texas will become a very difficult place for them or anyone else outside those 2 conferences to recruit consistently.


May 8th, 2013 at 7:03 PM ^

That's pretty much it exactly.  Most of the top schools, to one degree or another, have both tradition and a rich recruiting base, some more than others in either of those categories, and nearly all of the top top schools have both.  Nebraska is one of the only schools that thinks it should be in that top group that has almost no recruiting base to work with (though Oregon is kind of in that same boat).  


May 8th, 2013 at 7:47 PM ^

It does border CA, but the closest football talent is the Bay Area which is over 500 miles away, and LA is almost 900 miles away.  So although their states border, it's really about the same distance as Nebraska is to Texas (Lincoln to Dallas is about 600 miles).  


May 8th, 2013 at 7:59 PM ^

Yeah, there's not much between Eugene and Sacramento on I-5.  Still, it seems like most of the players on any Pac-12 team are going to be from California. 

Here is Oregon's 2012 roster.  There are a lot of California players but it does appear that they pull from all over.--though I am not familiar enough with Oregon's players to know which of these guys are walk-ons with no realistic hope of playing.

1 Josh Huff WR 5-11 200 JR HOUSTON, TX
2 Bryan Bennett QB 6-3 199 SO ENCINO, CA
3 Dior Mathis CB 5-9 177 SO DETROIT, MI
3 Jake Rodrigues QB 6-3 205 FR ROCKLIN, CA
4 Erick Dargan DB 5-11 208 SO PITTSBURG, CA
5 Issac Dixon DB 5-11 196 FR MIAMI GARDENS, FL
6 De'Anthony Thomas RB 5-9 173 SO LOS ANGELES, CA
7 Keanon Lowe WR 5-9 179 SO PORTLAND, OR
8 Reggie Daniels DB 6-1 185 FR CHANDLER, AZ
8 Marcus Mariota QB 6-4 196 FR HONOLULU, HI
9 Arik Armstead DL 6-8 297 FR SACRAMENTO, CA
9 Byron Marshall RB 5-10 195 FR SAN JOSE, CA
10 Rahsaan Vaughn WR 6-2 193 SR OAKLAND, CA
11 Bralon Addison WR 5-10 185 FR MISSOURI CITY, TX
12 Devon Blackmon WR 6-1 194 FR FONTANA, CA
12 Brian Jackson DB 5-10 202 JR HOOVER, AL
13 Troy Hill DB 5-11 167 SO VENTURA, CA
14 Ifo Ekpre-Olomu CB 5-10 190 SO CHINO HILLS, CA
14 Dustin Haines QB 6-3 208 JR EUGENE, OR
15 Colt Lyerla TE 6-5 238 SO HILLSBORO, OR
16 Daryle Hawkins WR 6-4 198 JR OMAHA, NE
17 Jeff Lockie QB 6-2 180 FR DANVILLE, CA
17 James Scales III DB 5-10 184 SO GREENSBORO, NC
18 Dwayne Stanford WR 6-5 210 FR CINCINNATI, OH
19 Eric Dungy WR 6-1 181 SO TAMPA, FL
21 Chance Allen WR 6-2 191 FR MISSOURI CITY, TX
21 Avery Patterson CB 5-10 185 JR PITTSBURG, CA
22 Derrick Malone LB 6-2 205 SO COLTON, CA
23 B.J. Kelley WR 6-2 179 FR FRESNO, CA
25 Boseko Lokombo LB 6-3 225 JR ABBOTSFORD, BC
26 Ben Butterfield WR 6-0 193 JR SHERWOOD, OR
27 Terrance Mitchell DB 6-0 185 SO SACRAMENTO, CA
28 Eric Amoako DB 5-11 190 FR ARLINGTON, TX
29 Stephen Amoako DB 5-11 190 FR ARLINGTON, TX
30 Dylan Ausherman K 6-3 180 JR VISALIA, CA
30 Ayele Forde RB 5-7 177 SO VICTORVILLE, CA
30 Bronson Yim DB 5-10 181 FR HONOLULU, HI
31 Kenny Bassett RB 5-9 176 SO BEVERLY HILLS, CA
31 Oshay Dunmore DB 6-2 195 FR NEWPORT, OR
32 Evan Baylis TE 6-6 232 FR CENTENNIAL, CO
32 J.R. Maffie DB 5-11 193 JR DIAMOND BAR, CA
33 Tyson Coleman LB 6-1 217 FR LAKE OSWEGO, OR
34 Rahim Cassell LB 6-0 215 FR LAKEWOOD, CA
34 Lane Roseberry RB 6-1 230 FR --
35 Anthony Wallace LB 6-0 231 SO DALLAS, TX
36 Carlyle Garrick LB 6-2 221 FR CASTRO VALLEY, CA
36 Jennings Stewart TE 6-3 225 SR GRANTS PASS, OR
37 Michael Manns WR 5-11 165 FR MOLALLA, OR
37 Jordan Thompson RB 0-0 0 FR --
38 Bill Chimphalee RB 6-0 210 JR --
38 Mike Garrity LB 6-1 222 SO SAN CARLOS, CA
39 Drew Howell LS 6-2 218 JR TEHACHAPI, CA
39 Jimmy Musgrave TE 6-0 220 FR VICTORVILLE, CA
40 Brett Bafaro LB 6-2 225 FR HILLSBORO, OR
41 Alejandro Maldonado K 5-10 190 JR COLTON, CA
41 Blake Stanton WR 5-11 210 SO LOS ANGELES, CA
42 Cody Carriger DL 6-6 230 FR BUTTE, MT
43 Keloni Kamalani LB 5-11 208 JR KIHEI, HI
44 DeForest Buckner DL 6-7 230 FR HONOLULU, HI
45 Austin Daich DB 6-3 185 FR --
45 Terrence Daniel TE 6-6 230 FR OAKLAND, CA
48 Rodney Hardrick LB 6-1 237 SO COLTON, CA
48 Eric Solis K 5-10 192 SO SHERMAN OAKS, CA
49 Jackson Rice P 6-3 223 SR MORAGA, CA
50 Ryan Hagen DT 6-3 292 JR BREA, CA
51 Isaac Ava LB 5-10 243 SO EWA BEACH, HI
52 Dawson Housley LB 6-3 200 FR --
54 Hamani Stevens OL 6-3 305 SO HEMET, CA
55 Hroniss Grasu OL 6-3 284 SO ENCINO, CA
56 Alex Balducci DL 6-4 275 FR PORTLAND, OR
57 Trevor Fox OL 6-5 280 JR TEMECULA, CA
57 Ryan McCandless DE 6-2 213 FR SANTA ROSA, CA
58 James Euscher OL 6-7 291 FR ALOHA, OR
59 Jeff Palmer LS 5-10 187 SR DANA POINT, CA
59 Grant Thompson LB 5-11 220 SO COTTAGE GROVE, OR
60 Ryan Clanton OL 6-5 296 SR BAKERSFIELD, CA
61 Nick Cody OL 6-5 309 SR BRUSH PRAIRIE, WA
62 Matt Pierson OL 6-6 251 FR WEST LINN, OR
63 Mana Greig OL 5-11 297 JR KAILUA, HI
64 Tyler Johnstone OL 6-6 271 FR CHANDLER, AZ
66 Taylor Hart DT 6-6 289 JR TUALATIN, OR
68 Jamal Prater OL 6-4 278 FR ETIWANDA, CA
70 Matthew McFadden OL 6-4 303 SR --
71 Everett Benyard OL 6-7 319 JR SAN DIEGO, CA
72 Andre Yruretagoyena OL 6-5 264 FR SCOTTSDALE, AZ
75 Jake Fisher OL 6-6 279 SO TRAVERSE CITY, MI
77 Carson York G 6-5 293 SR COEUR D ALENE, ID
78 Karrington Armstrong OL 6-3 286 JR RENO, NV
80 Koa Ka'ai TE 6-4 249 FR HONOLULU, HI
81 Aaron Lee WR 6-1 195 SO --
82 Christian French DE 6-5 231 FR CEDAR RAPIDS, IA
84 Stetzon Bair DL 6-9 265 SO SAINT ANTHONY, ID
84 Chad Delaney WR 6-0 181 JR ELMIRA, OR
85 Pharaoh Brown TE 6-6 230 FR LYNDHURST, OH
86 Brian Teague TE 6-3 267 JR PORTLAND, OR
87 Nick Morrison DL 6-4 258 JR EVERETT, WA
88 Jeff Bedbury WR 6-0 195 SO EUGENE, OR
89 Will Murphy WR 6-2 186 SR ALBANY, OR
90 Ricky Heimuli DT 6-4 321 JR GLENDALE, UT
91 Dane Ebanez WR 5-9 178 JR NORTH POLE, AK
91 Tony Washington DE 6-3 252 SO RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA
92 Patrick Acosta WR 5-8 167 JR --
92 Wade Keliikipi DT 6-3 300 JR WAIANAE, HI
93 Rob Beard K 6-0 218 SR FULLERTON, CA
94 Axel McQuaw OL 6-6 275 JR YACHATS, OR
97 Hayden Crook K 5-10 155 FR BEND, OR
97 Jared Ebert DT 6-5 267 JR IOWA CITY, IA
98 David Kafovalu DE 6-3 250 SO RIVERSIDE, CA
99 Sam Kamp DL 6-4 236 FR MESA, AZ



May 8th, 2013 at 10:16 PM ^

I have a theory that Oregon and Boise have risen as Washington collapsed in the wake of the Don James scandal. I'm pretty sure they used to compete with USC/UCLA as the dominant school in the Pac 10 by getting the highly ranked kids from SoCal that USC/UCLA didn't have room for and filling in from the PacNW.

It does seem pretty clear that the rise of Oregon and the decline of Washington are pretty closely linked. Boise may be a different story.


May 9th, 2013 at 6:37 AM ^

They very well should be in that top group. Nebraska's geographic isolation is nothing new, yet they were borderline invincible in the mid-90's. Between '93 and '97, Tom Osborne went 60-3 or something and came within a missed field goal of three consecutive perfect seasons. Though it might be unrealistic for them to expect to duplicate that level of dominance now, there's no reason why they shouldn't be competing for national championships. Given the resources and tradition of that program, it's hard not to think that Pelini has underachieved, geography notwithstanding.