We all know the gravity of the game that is happening on Saturday night. The Michigan Wolverines vs. The Nebraska Cornhuskers, with first place in the B1G West Division on the line and the inside track to Indianapolis for the conference title game. However, as much as the Huskers and Bo Pelini need a victory on the field, they could also use a good weekend off the field too.
Right now, Nebraska is scheduled to host as many as seven non-Nebraska commits this weekend for their official visits. Along with Nebraska commits, the total number could creep up to 13 by the end of the weekend. But the guys who aren't committed to playing ball in Lincoln next fall is the big story here.
Lets start with Priest Willis, the 5 star corner out of Arizona that many schools have talked to. Simply put, outside of Toby Johnson, this is the guy who could make Nebraska's `13 class shine hard. Impressing him would go a long way, although some say just getting him on campus for the visit would be a victory in itself. Impressing him is vital, as his next visit is to LSU and former Neb secondary coach Corey Raymond.
As big of a target for the simple need of him, Randy Gregory will also be taking a OV to Lincoln. He's a current verbal to Purdue, however the thought is to get the coaching staff to sell how much immediate time Gregory could get starting immediately if he came to Nebraska instead.
Third on this list is Demorea Stringfellow, a fairly tall WR out of California that is currently committed to Washington. While it will be a mountain of a job to get someone out of Steve Sarkasian and Tosh Luopi in Seattle, Stringfellow is a guy that will love to see the play of Kenny Bell, Jamal Turner and Quincy Enunwa and realize that he could be paired up with Jordan Westerkamp in 2 or so years.
Even thought he's fourth on this list, don't count out Mackensie Alexander who could also make a difference in the secondary. While Alexander's list of offers is fantastic, this weekend is listed as only his second OV after being in College Station last weekend. (Edit: as of 3:25, I have been told Alexander is no go for this weekend. Drats)
Simply put, if Nebraska could get at least two of the above on this list, it will go a long, long way to solidifying the `13 recruiting cycle and put the Huskers EASILY into a top 15 class across all the major recruiting services. That would also kickstart a class that hasn't had anything added since a August 9th commitment by Jonathan Cook. Cook is taking his OV to Lincoln and Nebraska needs to keep selling and closing the program to him, as he's taken 2 unofficials to Alabama in the last month. Cook's list of offers isn't really fantastic now, but if Nick Saban gives him one, you have to think the Huskers will not only have to fight the Crimson Tide for him, but to others that will notice.
Many people have taken issue that Nebraska recruiting coordinator Ross Els is the third different one in as many years, and the result has gotten better but also hasn't been the ideal way to go with a big lack of in-season commitments. We've discussed before how Nebraska's "soft close" may be part to blame here, but this weekend has got to have a better result than the Wisconsin game, where Nebraska is currently 0-fer on any commitments and probably will be going on. So why so much more emphasis on this weekend?
Willis, Gregory, Stringfellow and Alexander are in the top 150 nationally as far as total prospects go. That doesn't even add in the other non-committed visitors in Jamone Boyd, Aaron Cochran, or current Nebraska commits Johnny Stanton, Zack Hannon or A.J. Natter in who is visiting. There may be another OV this weekend, one Drake Martinez, yes the brother of QB Taylor Martinez. However, it's up in the air at this point, so don't be shocked either way on that one.
To whiff on this weekend will make the last two plus months of this cycle have a lot of pressure for Nebraska's staff to perform. Considering also that Nebraska has used less than 30 total OV's (out of an allotted 56) and outside of current commits, NONE have pulled the trigger since the season started, it makes this weekend just that much more important.