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Nebraska Football: The 2016 Recruiting Cycle Report Card

How did the Huskers do, what did they do well and what can they get better at? Let's talk here.

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Well well well, here we are Willy Wonka.

The 2016 recruiting cycle has ended for the Nebraska Cornhuskers as all 21 verbals that the Huskers had at the beginning of the day sent in their Letter of Intent to North Stadium.

It was a year that the Husker staff, the first full cycle under Mike Riley and their staff, spent a lot in evaluation and going from coast to coast to get their men.

The highest ranked recruiting class in the Big Ten West was done well by the Huskers, and a Top 25 class or thereabouts at the end of the day should be lauded. However, there are things that the Huskers can do better.

As always, I'll be using the notes offered by 247 when it comes to offers, targets and such.

Quarterback: A-

Signed: Patrick O'Brien
Missed: Terry Wilson

Well, it's hard to be upset with getting POB on campus and in time for Spring ball, but the depth of the Huskers would have been helped with Wilson. Alas, he's going to Oregon where he'll have to learn a new OC and having another Grad Transfer battle for the job next year. It's not bad, but with the depth that Tanner Lee is going to help with, it's not a bad area.

Running Back:  B+

Signed: Tre' Bryant
Missed: Beau Bisharat, Aphonso Thomas

Again, same theory here as QB where if you signed Thomas or Bisharat, it would have made a good haul even better. Bryant is going to be someone well, but Bisharat would have helped. I still don't think Thomas had a committable offer, so it's not that much of a loss.

Wide Reciever: B

Signed: JD Spielman, Derrion Grim
Missed: Dez Fitzpatrick, Steven Smothers, Isaiah Simmons, Zach Farrah, Kalija Lipscomb

Well, this would have been a big class had Simmons or Fitz pulled the trigger, but you can't really complain about JD or Derrion. I do wonder if Lipscomb commits to Nebraska had he been able to visit last weekend instead of being told no thanks because Nebraska thought they had gotten Simmons or Fitz. Not terrible at all, but missing "something".

Tight End: C+

Signed: Jack Stoll
Missed: Noah Fant, Chase Allen, Jared Bubak

Well, if you're going to fault Nebraska for both Fant and Bubak, that's fair. With Fant, if Nebraska offered him initially as a TE instead of a DE, they get him. As far as Bubak, he wants to be a split out TE instead of doing much blocking, so that's nothing Nebraska did wrong there. Stoll will work out well, but Nebraska needs Matt Snyder to come out of his redshirt year and show he can take over for Cethan Carter and be better.

Offensive Tackle: A

Signed: Matt Farniok, Bryan Brokop
Missed: Alaric Jackson

Nebraska got their top targets in Farniok and Brokop, and that's basically how they wanted it to go down today. Top grade there.

Offensive Guard: B+

Signed: John Raridon, Boe Wilson
Missed: Michael Eletise, Tremayne Anchrum

So close to being a good haul here, if Anchrum signed with Nebraska here it would have been A++. Nebraska had a good look at Eletise back in the early part of the year, but that didn't happen. Hard to be upset about Raridon though, so that's why it's a good grade.

Defensive End: B -

Signed: Ben Stille, Quayshon Alexander
Missed: Xavier Kelly, Mykell McDaniel, Tramal Ivy, Amani Bledsoe

If Nebraska got Xavier or Amani, this would have been a A as well. Good job by the staff to keep Quayshon Alexander to stick, but at the same time, it's could have been better.

Defensive Tackle: F

Signed: No one
Missed: Everyone

Nebraska only offered 17 players at Defensive Tackle, and landed not a soul. With losing Vince Valentine and Maliek Collins leaving school, there are now THREE Defensive Tackles on the roster, not on just scholarship. THE ROSTER. Either Nebraska is going to move some folks over there, or the Huskers are seriously looking at a 3-4 move. That is supported by the numbers at the next position.

Linebacker: B

Signed: Pernell Jefferson, Collin Miller, Greg Simmons
Missed: Jaleel Laguins, David Reese, Mique Juarez, William Johnson, Cameron Goode

The Huskers did alright here, the only one that would have made this group a WOW would have been Juarez, who I don't know if he really wanted to come to Lincoln. With the way that the Huskers have stockpiled LB's and such, the move to a 3-4 front has got to be on the mind of the coaching staff.

Cornerback: A

Signed: Lamar Jackson, Tony Butler, DiCaprio Bootle
Missed: KJ Sails, Markell Simmons, Maurice Chandler

Jackson in this class & wanting to start out at Corner helps you live with the reach that is Bootle, even though Bootle is about as educated of a guess as you can make. Nothing to have an issue here, and there's some depth being built here quickly.

Safety: B

Signed: Marquel Dismuke, JoJo Domann
Missed: Eric Burrell, Isaiah Simmons, Demetric Vance

The fact that Jackson can fall back to Safety helps this class, as well as the youth that has redshirted. Dismuke should be a player, and if Domann can figure it out, that helps this group get even better.

Special Teams: A

Signed: Caleb Lightbourn

Signed a punter that I've read is really good. Alright? Alright, we're done here.


Number of total legit offers at the end of the cycle: 279
Number of Official Visits used by Nebraska: 39 of 56

I'm still kind of taken aback in the way that the staff didn't use Official Visits to get kids into Lincoln, ESPECIALLY two of the three dead weeks that Nebraska had along with every other school in FBS after the bowl season. I don't think that helped in the end, considering that it didn't seem to be a good job of the Plan B kids that were around.

That being said, Nebraska has never spent as much as they did in this past recruiting cycle, dropping over $1 million dollars on the effort, 66% of that alone on evaluating kids and such. if there is something that you're missing about feeling good on the class, take in the aspect that the Huskers did their work and went after the kids that checked out for them. There's no higher compliment (although it pisses you off) when other schools depend on Mike Riley to offer and get kids interested. Arizona State made a living on this, and yet who has the better class at the end this year?

Now, this is a good class for Mike Riley, as it's one of the better (if not the best) class ratings he's ever had under his watch. Is this good enough for Nebraska, however? Well, getting him and his staff to work at higher levels is a start for sure. However, Nebraska needs to get more refined on the final 3-4 weeks of the process.

There was zero momentum from the time around the Iowa game till almost 2 weeks to NSD. That's something that a school spending money and resources on getting the best class in America can't have happen too much. It does happen to most schools, so understand that. However, it's few and far between for those that have their recruiting game up in the rankings.


There was much to this, and Nebraska worked well to get a class that seemed to be not only tight but full of kids that want to be in Lincoln and around the UNL campus. Nebraska needs to keep aiming high & not be slighted by the races for hats and videos. Not only that, the fanbase needs to realize that the whole spectacle of recruiting has it, and if you want to be involved, you take the good and the bad with it.

But, I can't fault Riley and their staff badly. They went in and was probably laughed at by many coaches for being there. They went coast to coast looking for kids and got their name out. Yes, a 30-year streak of a kid from Texas was broken, but it's not like they didn't look at every nook and cranny for a kid. They didn't bitch about what they couldn't do, but they went out and did what they knew they could do and did it well. No grumbling about how to make it easier, just get out there and do it.

The Huskers did well, they should have done better, but no real issues with the class save for the Thanksgiving swoon. Guess Mike Riley needs to be credited for saving that huh?