The second national signing day has really turned into a dud the last few years ever since we added the December date. Typically you would get one or two things that you knew about, and that’s it. But let’s give Nebraska credit here, they hired a new RB and WR coach and they are showing us what good/elite recruiting can do, and quite frankly that is needed at Nebraska.
Nebraska was somewhat stuck at RB with Held. While I give him credit for his JUCO connections and bringing in multiple four stars and great pieces, they just never really clicked. The culmination was Ashton Hayes decommitting. Nebraska was a bit in scramble mode, and takes a commitment from Emmett Johnson. In comes Coach Applewhite, and he immediately gets a Texas A&M transfer to come take a visit, and commit. Unfortunately he wasn’t eligible to enroll in the spring. What I like is Applewhite had multiple backup options, he goes out and signs Anthony Grant when he hears the A&M transfer can’t get here right away. Grant is the #1 JUCO RB in the country and JUCO player of the year. But that’s not all he does, he then solidifies Ajay Allen to come take a visit who was a TCU commit at the time. Allen then flips to Nebraska today, adding more competition to the RB room that is much needed. This might be the most skill we’ve seen in the RB room for close to a decade.
Joseph was no slouch either. While Nebraska was treading water a bit with WR recruiting, having Victor Jones committed and then another player who was out all year with a torn knee. But really nothing happening on the recruiting trail. In walks Mickey Joseph and he quickly gets two impact transfers in Isaiah Garcia-Castaneda from New Mexico State, and former five star Trey Palmer who followed him here from LSU. Not to be outdone on the trail, he then flips Decoldest Crawford from LSU to Nebraska on the first signing day. An impressive haul before what happened today. Nebraska has now flipped Janiran Bonner from Georgia Tech, who is a four star prospect. Bonner didn’t have a massive offer list like many four stars do, but he increased the competition in the WR room much like what happened with RB.
I’ve said it already but i’ll say it again, this is the kind of recruiting we need to get back to the top part of the division. You can’t just become complacent with who you have or get lax. No disrespect to the players that we had committed in October, but the upgrade is massive. And sometimes what is needed is fresh eyes on a room with no ties to who is already there.
With that said, I always caution about kids that commit late in the cycle. They typically have a higher bust rate at schools. Just think back to 2020 when guys like Greene, Francois, Gray, Fleming, and Cooper, they all committed somewhat late to us. Many times when kids are still making a decision this late, there’s a reason for it. But with many of these names I just mentioned, the reason of the late commitment was due to the addition of our staff members.
I put the caution just like I do for transition classes, a great example is 2018. New staff with renewed energy, it’s not like Ryan Held hadn’t done this before. In 2018 he inked the #1 JUCO RB in Greg Bell just like Grant is and signed Mo Washington who is rated like Allen. He followed that up with another #1 JUCO RB in Mills, four star Rahmir Johnson, and also took a flyer on Ronald Thompkins. Our WR room also was changed quickly in 2018 when we signed four star Dominick Watt and Miles Jones, and landed JUCOs like Mike WIlliams and Jaron Woodyard.
My point is, we’ve made hauls like this before, now it’s time to get the most out of them. But these two coaches got the first part out of the way that was needed, signed more pieces to create competition and up the skillset on the field. We will see 1-2 transfers minimum out of each of these rooms in the spring, but that will be a good thing.
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