I'm not a guy who puts a lot of stock in recruiting analysis. It's not that I don't think that recruiting isn't important; it is. I just don't put a lot of faith in the projections of amateurs. Sometimes they're right...sometimes they are wrong. One thing that is consistent is that many recruitniks are frustrated by Nebraska's recruiting under Bo Pelini. Sometimes they do have a point, but sometimes they complain, well, just to complain.
Take the sad case of Nebraska's pursuit of New Orleans safety Hunter Dale. Last week, Dale tweeted a picture of a brochure that Nebraska sent him, featuring a Photoshopped picture of Dale in his uniform, but in Memorial Stadium.
And the recruitniks recoiled in horror. Some can't imagine why they didn't Photoshop Dale into a real Nebraska jersey. It's probably a fair point. I suspect they wanted to show Dale how he'd fit in as a Husker, so they left Dale's photo intact. They didn't change his helmet (except to erase his high school logo), and covered up the remnants of his high school number with an N. Why not a number? Maybe they didn't want to promise him a specific number? Or maybe, they just want to show Dale what it would be like to be "N"? (We use that phrase quite a bit in our recruiting coverage here at CN.)
And to the horror of some, the N was a takeoff from 2012's Unrivaled uniform from the Wisconsin game. I kind of see their point; I didn't like the look then, and still don't. But the coaching staff wasn't trying to impress me, they were trying to impress a recruit. And as I recall, the players loved the look at that time. So when I read the criticisms of the "fashion police", I keep going back to Dale's apparently positive reaction and remembering that it wasn't sent to me.
In that light, why are some fans obsessing about it? From my perspective, it seemed like a unique way to show a potential recruit how they might fit in at Nebraska. I suspect it's not a new idea, though. Doesn't make it bad. In fact, it's probably a good idea. So what's the problem?
Our Brian Towle, in between banging his head on the desk, turned his criticism to the use of two different N's on the uniform. Does he have a point? Maybe.
Maybe not. Check out this picture of Taylor Martinez from 2011. Look at his shoulders. On his left, the classic Nebraska football patch with a skinny N, somewhat akin to the classic N on the helmet. (You know, the one that stands for Nowledge, as Iowa fans like to remind us.) On his right, there's the "Big Red in the Big Ten" patch with the Iron N.
Oh. So we've used both on a jersey before? Was there an uproar then? No? Then why now?
Maybe it's because it's July. We want football season to be here. We want some sort of controversy to discuss. And without it, we've got to find SOMETHING to argue about. ANYTHING. Even if it's ridiculous.
Man them Nebraska fans really the funniest fans— Hunter Dale (@HunterD_1) July 11, 2014
Hunter's probably got the right idea. Hopefully, we're not scaring him away. I'll get off the recruitniks' lawn now.