This week in Nebraska football has been one of a lot of discussion. From the loss to Ohio State to the hiring of new Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst, many people have had a lot of theories about what is or has gone wrong and many, MANY theories are abound on how to fix things.
One of the bigger issues that have come along with the defensive issues is quite simply that Nebraska lacks talent across the board. Many people have realized this, including the staff at times. Corey Raymond, after a game last year, made his point well when he was asked about what the problem was with the defense last year after the Capital One Bowl.
The most interesting interview after the game was with Corey Raymond. The secondary coach wasn’t convinced Nebraska had enough talent to beat South Carolina, especially in the secondary.
"Just be honest," Raymond said. "Look at them, look at us. It’s pretty obvious."
What did Raymond mean? He didn’t spell it out, but he made veiled criticisms of Nebraska’s personnel. For instance, what did he take from this game going into the offseason?
"Hopefully it helps recruiting. Get athletes."
Bo and staff, no matter who's been the recruiting coordinator, has been tepid at best. Last season, even with only 18 spots available in the '12 cycle, Nebraska only had 11 spots filled by the end of the regular season. Furthermore, with the way Andrus Peat left the Huskers at the altar as he ran off with Stanford, Nebraska didn't seem to have a good plan B just in case.
Fast forward to this year, as Nebraska got off to a fairly decent start this summer for their '13 cycle. It started with grasping Marcus McWilson and Courtney Love from Cardinal Mooney out of Ohio. It was kept going by nailing two 4-star in state talents in Josh Banderas and Christian LaCouture. And then, Elite 11 finalist Johnny Stanton was hauled in from California and committed to Nebraska. On August 8th, Zach Hannon committed from Rockhurst in Kansas City.
As a Nebraska fan, there was no better start realistically you could imagine for the '13 cycle. Thirteen commits, and then a 14th in Jonathan Cook, a cornerback that originally went to Auburn committed as a JUCO transfer. So, only 11 spots to fill, that's not too hard to do right? Of course not....
... and then the season started.
It's October 11th, a full two plus months since the Huskers have gotten a verbal from anyone. That's a long time when you've had a lot of official visitors and non-officials going to your games. Furthermore, what happened or didn't happen on the weekend of the Wisconsin game makes you wonder even more.
For the Wisconsin game, Nebraska hosted 8 kids that were making official visits that were either uncommitted or committed to other schools. The biggest targets were CB Dashon Hunt, RB JoJo Kemp and OT's Kenny Lacy, Christian Morris, J.D. Hinnant and David Knevel. Hunt, Hinnant and Knevel are uncommited while Lacy and Morris are UCLA verbals while Kemp is a USF commit.
The Badger game is seen, by this staff, as the best case scenario for recruiting. A night game that gives recruits time to see the atmosphere and campus during a gameday, the ability to see both the stadium pregame as well as the locker room post game, and the new alternate uni's this season. What had to be a even better issue was how the team came back to win the game and sell kids on the excitement.
After that weekend, all you could hear from recruiting pundits was how several kids thought everything went well, gave the trip a "10" and thought that Nebraska could be the right fit for them. Okay then... where were the commitments??
Now, yes, I get that these are 17-19 year old kids that are making a life altering decision and such. However, Nebraska has seemed to whiff more times than not on commitments during OV's. I once read where since 2009, the percentage of kids committing to Nebraska on their OV's are less than 10 percent. Considering that there has been about 100 or so official visits in that time, that isn't even tolerable.
There are a few things that some have stated are issues. While I don't buy much of the things Bo have brought up (flights, timing and such), one thing I keep hearing is how Nebraska's staff tends to do the "soft close" very well. At the end of the visit, it's closing time. You have given all you can to make the "sale" and close up on a kid to get his word. Maybe the staff doesn't want kids who may decommit? Maybe the staff tells the kid "take a look around and if you're sure, call us back". Whatever it is, right now it's not helping.
As much as I would like to end this piece with some #TEAMSUNSHINE things to cheer you up, I really can't. With the uncertainty of the season right now, not many kids are going to consider a school that may not have their head coach at the end of the year, whether the new AD fires him, he quits, or something else. It may not be a nice thing to bring up, but you better be sure other schools are using that against Nebraska, especially on current commits.
And, quite possibly, maybe a Beau Sandland or a Priest Willis may surprise us and tag along. Dashon Hunt and Dominic Walker could surprise us. However, in the end, it may be another "diamond in the rough" finding or 4 that will be squaked about.