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Round Table: How Did the Recruiting Staff Do in 2018?

Members of the CN Staff Give Their #hottaeks

This is all the round table the CN budget could afford. Pull up a 5 gallon bucket, pass the Coors Banquet, and start jawin’

The Nebraska Cornhusker football staff put together a 24 person recruiting class for 2018. The final ranking was 21 on Rivals, 22 on 247, and 22 on ESPN. Here’s a breakdown of this recruiting class by position, and the thoughts and opinions of various Corn Nation staffers. Give your thoughts in the comments!


Departing: Tanner Lee

Incoming: Adrian Martinez

Jon: I don’t follow recruiting that closely, but.. I know what I want. I want a good decision maker. Look at the last few Nebraska quarterbacks... Tanner Lee, Tommy Armstrong, and Taylor Martinez, and you see guys who were amazing athletes, but who just couldn’t get Nebraska to the next level because of poor decision making.

Scott Frost is going to go fast. That means decision making will be even more important than ever before! Can Adrian make good, quick decisions!?

Nate M: To me, the first time I watched Adrian Martinez’s highlight tape, he looked like T-Magic but with a real good arm. I think he is going to be real good.

Salt Creek: This fall will basically be a repeat of Taylor Martinez’ freshman season, where our young QBs will basically fail their way into success. I look forward to the absolute pandemonium. Adrian is an interesting pick-up, but if he’s starting this fall, we should be docking Riley’s pay.

UNLWiebe: As much as I would like to see what Gebbia can do, I don’t think he’s going to be Frost’s guy. As mentioned above, Adrian Martinez reminds me of Taylor Martinez. Anybody remember when this song came out in 2010? Whoever made this song better make one this fall with A-Magic instead of T-Magic.

Greg: It’s really all about the system and the best player for the job. Tanner Lee would have been a square peg in a round hole. Honestly, I like Gebbia to be given a really good look this Spring. I think much of how the Fall begins will be determined in the Spring. But Adrian will be a better fit for this system.

Uglydog56: Martinez looked very solid in his All-Star game appearance. I think staff did very well here.

Patrick G: Did you guys know that Nebrasketball is the #4 Seed in the Big Ten Tournament?

I-Back/All-Purpose Back

Departing: Harrison Jordan (FB), Luke McNitt (FB), Adam Taylor

Incoming: Greg Bell III, Maurice Washington, Miles Jones,

Nate M: I read some recruiting analyst that Maurice Washington went from a borderline 4 star RB to a borderline 5 star RB. Now we get to find out if that was just one game, or if he has the total package. It is my expectation that Greg Bell is the “bell” cow next year. We need a huge talent upgrade at RB.

Salt Creek: This is what you call flipping a room. With Tre Bryant still recovering from a quantum knee injury, it was absolutely necessary for Nebraska to go out and get some players for this room, and Frost’s staff did a nice job. Washington and Bell are going to play immediately.

UNLWiebe: I don’t know whether the former coaching staff had a problem with Ozigbo, but it seems like he wasn’t getting the reps he deserved. Ozigbo is a bruiser back and Bryant is a shifty back. Bryant is recovering from his injury and Wilbon hasn’t produced as much as previously thought. Bell seems like a guy who can come in here and make an immediate impact. Bell reminds me of a faster version of Rex Burkhead. I’d love to see the coaches can do with this stable of running backs, with that said I love the guys they brought in this class. I think Washington will redshirt unless he can beat out Bryant and Bradley.

Greg: The questions here are “when will Tre Bryant be back” and “how will he be if/when he returns.” I love the guys who have been back there over the years, but the unit needed an upgrade, and it got the necessary boost with Washington and Bell. Bell will play on opening day. Washington may redshirt.

Uglydog56: Everyone is going to know these names in a couple years, maybe in a year. There was a major talent upgrade at running back.

Patrick G: Did you know that Kent Pavelka is the patron saint of Nebrasketball? It was made so back in 2013 during the Indiana game. The ceremony was done under the Devaney Center in an old unused steroid dispensing room. After the 80’s were over it was converted into a sanctuary for the Disciples of Harry Good to worship or do whatever they do. They’re like the Shakers in that they don’t reproduce so I think there are no more than 7 or 8 of them in existence as of this moment.

Wide Receiver

Departing: Gabriel Rahn, DeMornay Pierson-El, Keyshawn Johnson Jr

Incoming: Justin McGriff, Mike Williams, Dominick Watt, Jaron Woodyard, Andre Hunt,

Nate M: Justin McGriff is going to get moved to TE right? If he can put on some weight, he looks like a future NFL TE. The fact that Scott Frost took five WRs in this class really says a lot about a current crop of WRs.

Salt Creek: Remember when people were sad that we didn’t retain Williams? Their recruiting class will bolster Spielman and Morgan in the WR room.

UNLWiebe: These receivers are going to complement Spielman and Morgan Jr. pretty well. I don’t know if anybody will get any significant playing time besides Mike Williams.

Greg: Let us not forget about Javeon McQuitty, whom we hope is healthy and ready to go. I’ll miss DPE. But this should be an upgrade and as stated above, guys that will not only complement Morgan and Spielman, but push them to be their best at the same time.

Uglydog56: There’s a lot of talent and speed at wide receiver now. This is the wr room the last staff was trying to build.

Patrick G: Matt Davison was a better basketball player than football player.

Tight End/H-Back

Departing: Connor Ketter, Tyler Hoppes

Incoming: Katerian Legrone, Cameron Jurgens

Salt Creek: While not neglected under Riley like it was under Pelini, they didn’t exact replace Cethan Carter or the Cottons with equal contributors. Frost did what he could, but this wasn’t as needy as the rest of the roster. Based on 2019 offers, TE will probably be a heavy need.

Nate M: Still think that McGriff makes his way into this room as he puts on weight. But if it is like most things, then I’m probably wrong.

UNLWiebe: I think that Frost will recruit more in the long term, as stated above it wasn’t as pressing of a need. If Nebraska can find another Cethan Carter it should be just fine, that player would complement Frost’s offense very nicely.

Greg: Man, I still want to see Cameron Jurgens on the defensive side of the ball.

Uglydog56: Cameron Jurgens will be good. I also think McGriff ends up at TE. This was an acceptable group.

Patrick G: Barry Collier didn’t actually recruit. He just sent his assistants out to local Village Inn’s to see if there were any busboys who had a decent enough jump shot and were good at cleaning up after the football team.

Offensive Line

Departing: Nick Gates, David Knevel

Incoming: Will Farniok, Willie Canty III

Nate M: Seems like getting Willie Canty was huge for the coaching staff. We could always use some good OL.

Salt Creek: It was a good pickup for a unit that didn’t need much help on the talent front. But now comes the apparent difficult part: coaching them up.

UNLWiebe: I think the Farniok brothers will be a force for this line in the coming years. Canty seemed like a big score for this class. I don’t see losing Gates as much of a hole as some might think. In my eyes he fell off the map when Derek Barnett had his way against him.

Greg: Much needed talent upgrade. Where’s Hoss?

Uglydog56: Ehhhh. Missed on OT in this class, I believe. There’s a reason five JUCO OT’s have already been offered for 2019, along with three 5-star recruits. Major area of focus for 2019.

Patrick G: Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence is actually one of the most impressive venues in college basketball. I’ll remember the first time I saw Nebraska play there back in 2007. I’m pretty sure I was one of only 6 Husker fans in the place. Somehow I scored tickets two rows behind the players bench. Very nice seats. When the Huskers finally scored I jumped up and cheered and immediately realized that the entire gym was staring at me. I had never felt so alone in my life....

Defensive Line

Departing: A.J. Natter



Nate M: I sure hope we get some stud DLs in the next class. Geesh.

Salt Creek: (We didn’t need DTs in this class.)

UNLWiebe: Crickets chirping... Also Damion Daniels


Uglydog56: I wanted Michael Thompson, or Otito Ogbonnia. Have to get a solid NT for 2019, the most difficult position to recruit for in football.

Patrick G.: The Huskers are currently #1 in the Big Ten in 3 point field goal percentage on defense at 31.5%.

Defensive End

Departing: None

Incoming: David Alston, Tate Wildeman, Casey Rogers

Jon: Is there a pass rusher here? Is there a pass rusher anywhere on Nebraska’s roster? Will we be wondering this again a year from now?

Salt Creek: I expect Rogers or Wildeman will make us happy, but there will be more time to address DL issues in 2019.

UNLWiebe: I commend Wildeman for being committed to the University, not the coach...

Nate M: I bet Rogers and Wildeman are real hard workers who are sneaky quick and bring their lunch pails to work. Eh? Eh? I mean Rogers high school was called Old Farms.

Greg: Pass rushers and QB disruptors. Get your arms up and knock the ball down.

Uglydog56: Alston and Wildeman were underrated recruits for this class.

Patrick G: If you do not support Nebrasketball but cheer for the football team, are you even a Nebraskan?


Departing: Marcus Newby, Chris Weber

Incoming: Will Honas, Caleb Tannor, Breon Dixon (transfer)

Salt Creek: Will Honas is great because we basically punked both Wisconsin AND Iowa to get him. Add in Tannor and Dixon, and this is probably the best unit in the 2018 recruiting class. At least two All-B1G guys in there.

Nate M: Agreed this is probably the best unit in the recruiting class. Honas probably starts right away and Caleb Tannor could be one of the most talented players we have had at LB in a long time.

UNLWiebe: I’ve been a Husker fan all my life and somewhere in the middle was LaVonte David. I’ve been waiting for Nebraska to get another David for sometime. I’m excited about Honas more than anybody. Hopefully Honas, Tannor and Roberts (from the 2017 class) will be the anchors of the front seven.

Greg: Definitely added depth and talent. Honas will be a beast, and Tannor will develop into a second-round draft pick. You heard it here first!

Uglydog56: The combination of Honas and Tannor may have been more important than the signing of Washington or Martinez.

Patrick G: I’m just here for the free t-shirt that was promised to me if I added my two cents into this article.

Defensive Back

Departing: Kieron Williams, Chris Jones, Joshua Kalu, Boaz Joseph

Incoming: Braxton Clark, Cam Taylor, C.J. Smith, Cam’ron Jones, Deontai Williams,

Salt Creek: They did a good job of addressing depth, but they’ll all need coaching to elevate our secondary play. But I think we’ll get there. I expect 2019 will bring a few more DBs, with at least one game-changing recruit.

Nate M: C.J. Smith is my favorite out of this group, with Cam Taylor a close second. This all means that Clark, Jones and Williams will probably be the best of the group.

UNLWiebe: Cam’ron Jones is a monster. He is probably the guy I’m most excited for. Remember back in 2010 when our defensive backs would chase down someone and punch the ball out of their hands? I watched him do that to someone in his high school highlights.

Greg: I would have liked to see what Joshua Kalu could do, how much he could elevate with this staff...not that he needed another defensive backs coach. But let’s see what these young bucks can do!

Uglydog56: Cam’ron Jones will be very very fun to watch. The staff still needs cornerbacks for 2019, however.

Patrick G: Anyone on here remember the “Itty-Bitty Committee”? Those were some pint sized receivers I tell you.

Special Teams:

Departing: Drew Brown

Incoming: Barret Pickering

Jon: My impression of Barret Pickering is that he looks like a 35-year old guy in a 18-year old body. Brown was a solid kicker, and a standup guy. I hope we can see the same or better from Pickering.

Salt Creek: We stole a kicker from Saban! But really, with Brown graduating, this was a good pick up. He’ll get a year to acclimate before he becomes the main guy for 3-4 seasons, and we’ll go get our next scholarship kicker in 2020.

Nate M: Pickering is going to be great at Kickering.

UNLWiebe: To be honest I feel like Pickering was the one recruit Riley got that we needed to keep. Obviously Bookie would’ve been nice, but that ship has sailed in September. Pickering will be the starter this year, and hopefully he doesn’t have a rocky first year like Lightbourn did at punter.

Greg: We gave a scholarship to a HS kicker. That should tell you all you need to know. Kicker U continues!

Uglydog56: I don’t understand why Saban doesn’t recruit better quality kickers. How did we steal the #2 kicker in the nation from under his nose? Makes no sense.

Patrick G: Runza needs to bring back the free Runza promotion at basketball games. I have felt that this season has been lacking since they took it away.


Salt Creek: A+. For a transition class built in about seven weeks, damn. We went from being ranked in the 90s to a Top 25 class. Oh, and we had the best class in the Big Ten West (lol Minnesota) and ended up 3rd/4th in the overall Big Ten. Based on their work at UCF, I’m optimistic they can pair recruiting and coaching to get Big Red back to a position of authority. Bring on Wisconsin.

Nate M: Frost did everything he could to capitalize on his national emergence when it comes to recruiting. We will see how his next two classes look when he isn’t winning 15 national coaching awards. So I’ll give this class 3.5 dog wags out of 4.

UNLWiebe: These guys put together an impressive transition class considering Nebraska has a 90 some ranked class when Frost took over. I’m keeping my expectations low for this season, but I would be shocked if more than a few of these guys weren’t starting come Saturdays in the fall.

Greg: This staff split a month between recruiting at a new school and coaching their previous school to a bowl win. Say what you want about high school kids and their decisions. This staff is getting an A from me!

Uglydog56: I’m ranking this class at a solid B+, lacking only a four star OT to make an A, and Javontae Jean-Baptiste from an A+. I see no reason this staff can’t get inside the top 15 next recruiting class, especially with the upgraded talent within the 500 mile radius in 2019/2020.

Patrick G: Now you know what it’s like writing about basketball for a football blog.