On Tuesday afternoon, I took off from South Grand Prairie to McKinney, Texas. On the drive out there, it's wise to take the 161 tollway through the DFW metroplex out to Highway 75 through Plano. It isn't a short drive, as it's a ballpark 60 miles during a metro's rush hour.
On the way, I thought of the reasons that TV Williams, a WR that had basically taken his choices down to Nebraska, Kentucky, Iowa, and Oregon State would eventually end up with the Huskers, even though it was a 1 out of 3 chance in most people's eyes.
Seeing the tape of the Williams shows he's a guy that likes the slot position, obviously. But, when I listened to him talk before his hat pull and after the ceremony, some things stood out.
Now, I've been on the lead of the Vince Marrow hurting Nebraska recruiting train as much as anyone could probably be. Marrow has helped the Wildcats and HC Mark Stoops take what Nebraska has been getting from Ohio the last 2 years and getting them to verbal into Lexington's SEC hype machine, no matter what anyone thinks will happen in 2-4 years, espcially Husker fans it seems like.
However, knowing that Tim Beck has a five star high octane offense that is one of the top units in the Big Ten, much less America, I thought that would be a saving factor for the Huskers and the tipping point that would lead Williams into Lincoln.
So, when I heard him talk on Tuesday night, it was interesting to me what he thought of each offense...
Nebraska: Pass first offense, so much success w running game. Beck after film, slot 1 on 1 a lot, lot of space.— Brian Towle (@btbowling) July 10, 2013
This sounds good off the bat. I mean, TV has to realize how much Nebraska can move the ball and such, right? So that means he knows what Tim Beck is capable of doing with him.
Kentucky: fans are crazy. Staff from Texas Tech that went to UK kept recruiting me hard.— Brian Towle (@btbowling) July 10, 2013
As much as the comment about Beck's offense was telling, so was this one. The Texas Tech staff that went to Kentucky that he speaks of is Offensive Coordinator Neal Brown and Wide Receivers coach Tommy Mainord. Between those two in Lubbock, the Red Raiders had a top 10 national passing offense the last three seasons. Last season, TTU averaged 355 yards a game passing while completing the ball on 70% of all tosses, the most being from Seth Doege.
If you don't think the Air Raid can work in the SEC, go revisit what Texas A&M did last year in Tuscaloosa please.
So, yes, TV is going to play for a guy in Neal Brown that, in essence, has a offense that throws it more than Nebraska's offense.
What else did Mark Stoops, Neal Brown and Vince Marrow sell? The vision of what Kentucky will become.
Williams: Kentucky was frontrunner going to Nebraska/Iowa trip, history says Neb/Iowa they are going to be great with or without me.— Brian Towle (@btbowling) July 10, 2013
TV:I want to be the class to take Kentucky to the next level. Decided before The Opening.— Brian Towle (@btbowling) July 10, 2013
Now, to be clear, we don't know if Mark Stoops will be able to say he has a 9 win team in Lexington in four years or be fired before that. Then again, we don't know if Bo Pelini will be at Nebraska in four years. Or Kirk Ferentz, or Mike Riley, or whomever in any program anywhere in America.
TV realized that Nebraska will probably be the same when he's a Senior,
so will Iowa (LOL). But, to him, it's not about keeping the flame, but rather creating a legacy. To him, that vision isn't in Lincoln, but rather Lexington.
Could Stoops fail at Kentucky? Yes, he very well may. He also may get to bowl games and a stray SEC title game before people like Dan Mullen, Butch Jones, and Bret Bielema even sniff the opportunity to. And that alone is the sacrifice worthwhile for guys like Williams along with Mikel Horton, Thaddeus Snodgrass, and Darius West.
Finally, there is one angle that a lot of schools are dealing with in Kentucky, and that's the conference they are within, the SEC.
It's a big selling tool, regardless of what school you belong to in the conference. The conference that has produced the last seven BCS national champions, along with numerous higher draft picks will make that happen. The whole "steel sharpens steel" thing comes into play, and you end up in something that dwarfs what a lot of other school/conference combo's can offer. And that mattered to the Williams family in their interviews afterwards.
By the way... Horton, Snodgrass and West would be kids that, if Vince Marrow was still in Lincoln, would be possible Nebraska verbals. However, he's not, so they are not. Also, notice what state those three are from. I'll let you draw your own conclusions there.
In the end, losing TV probably won't be a big loss, as Nebraska is fairly stacked on offense. Williams would have truly been a great compliment to what Nebraska could have in 2-3 years on offense, but there are more than enough kids to make it up. Think of him as a Porsche when you have a Ferrari or 4 in the garage already, and you want a different look up the road.
However, there is still an issue losing kids to Lexington, and the problem really becomes how it's not that they are playing in Lexington, or Lawrence, or Ames, or Gainesville, or South Bend, or name city of college here. It's that these kids are not coming to Lincoln to help Nebraska, ESPECIALLY on Defense.
Does it matter? Well, not on the first day of camp, but if you see what these kids do two-three years from now, and wonder what it could have looked like at your campus, it does make you wonder.
Granted, I have said (and keep saying) you can't judge a recruiting class till at least 2 years down the road. So maybe Nebraska's will over achieve at a mid 30's to 40 ranking (assuming that's where it stays). However, there's a reason that some fret over things like this.
TV was one kid, six months before NSD. And there will be others who decide in the coming days, like Harrison Phillps and Peyton Newell. Some will say yes, and some will say no.
Furthermore, I saw a lot of "well he's 143 pounds and too small" complaints too. Well 1) Nebraska's 3 verbals that are 170 or below don't agree with you, and 2) I'm fairly sure all these kids will be getting bigger in college where S&C training and eating will be much more stricter.
There are 22-23 spots available this class, and over 350 offers out to kids from Nebraska right now. That means that, at best, only 7-8% of the kids offered can be taken. Is there a urge to rage on kids that say no to Nebraska? Of course, however there are always other ones that can say yes.
Recruiting isn't for the ones that get bored with it. That's why I love it, because there is always something to wonder about. And as I drove back from McKinney, four hours later as I sat in the parking lot known as I-635 at 10pm on a 90 degree night in north Dallas, I came to one conclusion:
TV left for Lexington. Wish him well, understand why he went, and go on to the next one.