Nebraska Recruiting: Grading The '14 Recruiting Cycle

Eric Francis

The Huskers signed 24 players through the cycle, but there were many aspects that bring out their final grade.

Nebraska finished out their '14 recruiting cycle yesterday, getting a class of 24 to put pen to paper to fax machine.

While there are a few groups that stand out in this class for good reasons, there also were a few misses that would have helped made this class one of the elite ones in the Big Ten. Lets go over everything.

Quarterback

Signed: Zack Darlington, AJ Bush

Missed: KJ Carta-Samuels, Jerrod Heard, Quinton Flowers, Coltin Gerhart

This was interesting to see develop the last three or so weeks of the cycle. It became obvious that the staff wasn't just sitting on Darlington with his concussion issues the last couple of weeks. This was the time that Gerhart visited, and Carta-Samuels decommitted from Vanderbilt. I guess I just wonder why it took so long in the cycle to realize that a second QB was needed. Bush will do well in that aspect, but I just wonder if something could have been done earlier.

Grade: B

Running Back

Signed: Mikale Wilbon, Larenzo Stewart

Missed: Madre London, Corey Avery, Kalen Ballage

Pretty well done here. Wilbon is the prototypical back for this offense, while Stewart is fast and raw enough to take a chance on. Missing on London didn't help in November, but replacing him with Wilbon is pretty good.

Grade: B+

Wide Receiver/Tight End

Signed: Monte Harrison, Freedom Akinmoladun, Demornay Pierson-El, Jariah Tolbert, Glenn Irons

Missed: Desean Blair, Dallis Todd, Thaddeus Snodgrass, TV Williams, Deandre Goolsby, Eric Lauderdale

(not including Robert Lockhart till he actually signs)

I suppose this grade on this class really depends on two things. One, if Monte Harrison ends up playing in Lincoln instead of taking the Bubba Starling route, and two, how much of a impact players like Pierson-El and such make on a special teams group that could use a spark. Interesting how Goolsby visited Lincoln twice on his own dime, but never got an offer. Nebraska took a lot of time trying to flip Todd from Oklahoma, and in the end lost out on Blair to Missouri but not for a lack of effort. The NOLA gang better show something in this group if Harrison leaves, or else this is not going to look good in a couple of years.

Grade: C+ (B if Harrison ends up staying)

Offensive Line:

Signed: Tanner Farmer, Nick Gates, DJ Foster

Missed: Frank Ragnow, Ross Pierschbacher, Kenyon Frison

It's almost hard to really complain about the OL haul. Frison would have completed the class perfectly. I still wonder what would have happened if Nebraska hadn't told Ragnow to hold off on the visit he wanted to take. Pierschbacher being taken from both Nebraska and Iowa by Alabama cause LOL SABAN just shows how hard it is when the big boys really want someone in your backyard. But overall, well done here.

Grade: A

Defensive Line:

Signed: Peyton Newell, Mick Stoltenberg, Sedrick King, DeAndre Wills, Joe Keels

Missed: Spencer Williams, Harrison Phillips, Blake McClain, Darius Slade, Abu Lamin, Terrell Clinkscales, Claude Pelon, Dalvon Stuckney, Ricky Walker, Rohan Blackwood

OHHHHHH the first group of what could have been here. King and Wills will be good DE's, but I'm unsure where the staff is going to put Stoltenberg, and if the class could have been finished by McClain it would have been fantastic. On the inside, Newell and Lamin would have been devastating inside, but Abu was another case where the staff did everything and it just didn't happen. Keels should do well, but who knows on Clinkscales to be quite honest. As I said before, it would have been nice to at least have him sign and keep him from other teams. And who knows what happens if the staff doesn't slow roll Phillips? This will be the group to watch inside and outside Lincoln to see what goes down in a few years.

Grade: C+

Linebacker:

Signed: Jaevon Walton

Missed: Elijah Lee, Devante Bond

Bond was the original one that the Huskers wanted, but when they missed, Walton became the only target. Lee would have been nice, but in the end, LB wasn't that big of a need in this class.

Grade: B

Secondary:

Signed: Byerson Cockrell, Josh Kalu, Trai Mosley, Luke Gifford, Chris Jones

Missed: Naijiel Hale, Chris Hardeman, Jason Hall, Raymond Wingo, Kweishi Brown, Josh Keys, Danzel McDaniel, Deandre Scott, Chance Waz

Here's your other big what-if group. Kalu and Mosley should be good cover guys, and I'm alright with losing Jason Hall. However, I remember Keys and McDaniel wanting to come to Lincoln big time, and Nebraska cooled on them when they would have committed. Chance Waz, I'm unsure if the staff should have even taken his commitment. Kinda surprised that Hardeman didn't give Lincoln more of a chance before committing to Oklahoma State. It'll be another group to watch in the future, as soon as probably 2 years down the line, to see how this ended up.

Grade: C+

Special Teams:

Signed: Drew Brown

Offered one person, signed one person, and it's a legacy. Boom, we're done here.

Grade: A

Numbers of the class (according to our friends at 247):

Offers: 305 Official Visits: 49 Visits used on current or eventual commits: 25

There's no way that Nebraska ONLY gave out 300 offers, unless that number is confirmed offers, which I guess I believe. I still lament the fact that Nebraska didn't get more people into the August 31st game vs. Wyoming, as that was one of two later kicks at home that Nebraska didn't get later on in the year. Nebraska did well getting offers out there, and quite honestly, did alright getting kids who were truly interested in Lincoln into town for visits. I just wonder if those earlier visits would have helped.

Grade: B

A few interesting facts about this cycle:

- Everyone that visited for the Iowa game on Thanksgiving weekend were commits to the Huskers at one time (Newell, Clinkscales, Slade, Farmer, Cockrell, Stewart, Freedom)

- Everyone that visited on December 14th either ended up or still lean to Arizona State (Ballage isn't signed, and that isn't happening)

- 19 of the 49 used visits were used after the regular season finished.

Overall Grade: B to B-

The grade honestly depends on whether Harrison stays in Lincoln or not and whether Darlington can play his entire eligibility. If it both happens, the class looks a whole lot better. However, if Monte leaves or Zack goes on medical, you'll wonder if the Huskers will regret in the short term not filling the class with a couple more spots. It would help in the long run, however, as you could have more spots for a '15 cycle that does not have a lot of spots available.

Welcome the kids who came to Lincoln, wish the ones who didn't well in their careers, and realize we'll be doing this all over again next year at this time.

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