When I started doing the report card for the Nebraska Cornhuskers 2015 Recruiting Cycle, it was evident that it was a split grade. You'll say that because, of course, there were two almost completely different coaching staffs recruiting these kids, one for a blistering two months, the other had nine plus months on the job.
Then I figured that, in the end, the end product was a fair and accurate statement of the effort of both staffs combined, and decided to grade them, while split, with a combined effort. The reason? Because while Mike Riley finished off the class, Bo Pelini's crew did give them a moderately decent start. However, as the case with Bo seemed to always be, glaring deficiencies with his crew both helped and hurt Riley's gang in the end.
So in the end, when I explain each group, hopefully I'll have painted a picture of what I saw when you combined 3/4 of a season with Bo with a frantic 60-ish days with Riley. Here we go.
The recruits I have listed at certain positions is where 247 believes Nebraska wanted them to play.
QUARTERBACK: D -
Recruits: NO ONE
I guess I got to be the one to come out and say that the way that Pelini treated the Burrow recruitment was the biggest glaring issue in this whole cycle. You have a kid who was Mr. Ohio AND a legacy inside the Nebraska program... and you "needed to see him throw" before you offered him? You didn't seem to know about him before then? Maybe I'm being harsh here, but there's no reason for Nebraska to not battle with Ohio State for him and just depend on having Kevin Dillman as your QB recruit when he 1) had transfer issues and 2) couldn't play Varsity for his HS.
Lamar Jackson was a kid who many thought was a target for Nebraska, but he committed to Louisville on Labor Day weekend and never flipped. Sheriron Jones was a Florida verbal for a while, and there seemed to be interest between Nebraska and he, but when the new staff came in, that went away. Jones signed with Tennessee yesterday. Kevin Dillman should have probably been cut when the staff realized they were going to take him as a Athlete/Tight End and not a Quarterback.
The only reason this isn't a F is because Riley still has the chance to get TJ Green, the son of former NFL Quarterback Trent Green, on campus to walk-on. I buy the statement that Riley couldn't get enough evaluation of a QB to take one as he & Offensive Coordinator Danny Langsdorf weren't comfortable. However, it shouldn't hide the fact that Pelini and Beck flat out botched this.
Running Back: B -
Recruits: Devine Ozigbo
Misses: Kendall Bussey
Nebraska seemed to be okay taking one Running Back in this class with both staffs. The Bussey commitment got really odd when he started to shop himself around for other offers. It seemed like he was trying to convince Nebraska that he wasn't going anywhere while visiting "just to see what was around". Well, when that BF/GF tells you that they are committed with you while taking other dates, eventually they find someone they'd rather date. Ozigbo will be a very serviceable back. However, I always wonder what would have happened if Bussey was being pushed by a second verbal in the class.
Wide Receiver: B
Morgan and Alston have a chance to develop into pretty good Wideouts for Nebraska. The Huskers set a big net abound looking for wideouts in this class, but couldn't seem to get someone to commit till Morgan did in November. I would bet that the previous staff wishes they didn't take the Damore'ea Stringfellow verbal if they knew Spencer Tears was going to bounce the second he found out about it. Overall Nebraska gave a lot of effort in this part, but seemed to miss more than they hit early on. Morgan and Alston are good players, however.
By the way, Nekyle Lundie did not sign with Nebraska yesterday. He's probably not going to academically qualify, therefore his options will probably be limited.
Tight End: B
Recruits: Matt Snyder
Snyder is probably a kid that I wouldn't have gone nutty for, however the fact that Riley's staff not only got him to sign with Nebraska AND have the relationship help them keep him from Jim Harbaugh at Michigan bumps this grade up a little bit. Pickard was a thought early, but didn't visit after committing to Wisconsin. I'm kinda surprised Moore wasn't very interested in the previous staff, but he would have been a big time commit. However, I'm alright with Snyder.
Offensive Tackle: B
Recruits: Christian Gaylord
This would ahve been a straight A if Nebraska could have landed Paulo, however getting Gaylord, the #1 player in Kansas, was pretty good considering what Nebraska has redshirting. There was a lot of interest in both Milo, Applegate and Megginson early, but Nebraska couldn't get them to visit. Overall, not too bad with Gaylord.
Offensive Guard: A
Not often do you get a kid who decommits from a team and you UPGRADE by looking where someone hadn't, but that's what Nebraska did with Mirko Jurkovic and Barnett. Mirko is going to be good for Ohio State. However, and yes I'm biased, but I think Nebraska got the better of the 2 here. I thought the staff had a chance with Robertson when he visited, but that wasn't the case moving on from then.
Nebraska didn't seem to target a lot of true centers, only having 2 offers out there.
Defensive End: B
You can't be really upset at this haul, but there could have been a little bit of a better finish. Davis could be a very good player, but I wonder if they took his commitment after missing on some others to come in at the end. The reason I put Christian Bell in there is because word on the street is that Nebraska was interested in him in the final weekend (old staff had offered him) and wanted a visit. Saban, however, probably discouraged that and Bell never visited. Which really sucks, because after taking 11 unofficials to Alabama and committing before Memorial Day, Saban grayshirted Bell.
As far as Reuben Jones is concerned, there's nothing Nebraska could have done when Rich Kaczenski was let go for him to stick. Therefore, don't sweat him being gone.
Defensive Tackle: B
Recruits: Khalil Davis
Misses: Jackson Perry
No real issues here as Nebraska is set at this position. Perry wouldn't have been bad to pick up due to the Gorman feed, but he lost interest when Nebraska moved on from Barney Cotton.
Linebackers: B +
It seemed like both staffs at Nebraska knew the need for Linebackers this class. Young could very well be the keeper of this group, however there should be a lot of talent able to play. The Garbutt situation was kind of foggy and Hall could have helped Nebraska, but it's not a bad haul at all. Wish Cole would have listened a little more, but that's just my hope.
Misses: Deshawn Raymond
Nebraska had two of the best ones they were going to get in Lee and Anderson, so Raymond would have been icing on the cake. Didn't happen, but that is alright because it's not too bad to begin with.
Safeties in this class was kind of a odd little project. The whole Dale recruitment/verbal/decommit was very odd in itself. Williams and Talan should be very good players. That being said, I wonder if Charlton wishes he had gotten Will Sunderland on campus so that he would have gotten a commitment. The Sykes decommt hurts because he's a kid who is probably way better than his ranking due to eschewing all Texas schools while living in Houston. Dale, FYI, hasn't signed yet. Kinda surprised by that.
Recruits: Jordan Ober
Missed: Grant Gluhaich
Nebraska needed a Long Snapper. Reason? Gabe Miller sounds like his career is done due to a Medical Redshirt. I'd listen to the argument on putting Josh Faulkenberry on scholly, but right now, Bruce Read needed a LS.
Official Visits used: 41
Total Offers Extended: 248
That's a fair amount of offers, which is much less than last year when Nebraska offered that tree over there and that sign around the corner (it seemed like). As far as OV's used, Riley's gang used 17 after losing the first weekend after the bowl dead period being out on the road recruiting & getting to kids for visits. Bo Pelini used 24 visits during game weeks this year, and that seems to be an odd number, especially when 11 of them came on one night (September 20th vs. Miami). That being said, the Miami game was the prime candidate for OV's to come.
OVERALL GRADE: B
Bo Pelini & his staff did have a decent start in the summer with commitments. However, his season lull when he didn't have that many verbals, as before, kinda made the class lag. His trust in Dillman being his only QB verbal really bit the class in the butt in the end, and really is the only (but glaring) black eye.
Mike Riley & staff did a fantastic job not only keeping this class from falling apart, but re-recruiting almost all of Nebraska's commits and landing kids like Barnett and Young helped him get a solid start. I do wish in a small way he could have gotten back in with Burrow, but it just didn't happen in the end.
In the end, this class stayed at it's rank of a late 20's-30's through a complete overhaul of the coaching and support staff. There's no doubt that Nebraska now has gotten a group of staffers that are willing to go after who they want and put themselves out on both social media and such. But, how they are doing that and what the effect is vs. the previous staff is for another discussion.
... and now, we're on to the 2016 cycle. It never ends.
We'll talk about that soon, but for now, how would you grade the class?