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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8 thoughts on “A quick take on Nebraska’s NSD”
I am drunk on the Kool Aid! I know we have been through this before (with the examples you mentioned), but I like the new blood in the coaches room, and I like the new blood being brought in to try and take the existing positions (RB and WR specifically). Good rebound and honestly, with the coaches that were brought in and the players that were brought in during this cycle, I dont see how the Huskers could (realistically) have done any better. GBR!
I don’t know how it will translate in 2022. The key pieces such as OL and QB are massive unknowns, but we have some talent at least in the WR and RB room.
Yes, without OL improvement it won’t matter who’s in the backfield
And can Thompson be effective with a “lesser” OL? Lots of question marks.
After reading all of your recent articles, i also believe we have different approaches to coaching. An upgrade? only time will tell right, if you read some on the other site, it’s all Frosts fault.. I think our OL coach and ST coach is going to be big for us.. How much of a difference we shall see.. i like the additions, how they were recruited seems different than some of the guys you mentioned in your article..
I think just having a dedicated special teams coach that can be on the field is huge. That has to make us better there, right? In regard to offense, we just needed a change. For whatever reason, it wasn’t working.
Not sure if you remember this, but on the other site I used to say if our defense was our best unit, we were in a load of trouble. Our team and philosophy was built to be an explosive offense and our defense just needed to hang on while we outscored people. You saw what I was talking about in 2021, our defense was actually pretty good and respectable nationally. But it was our best unit and we finished with the worst record since the 1950s.
Regarding your question on a message board, I think that would be great, but the problem is monitoring it. There are always rumors flying around the program…some true…most exaggerated. If I had $1 for every time I heard a rumor from the cable installers board that was complete BS, i could retire and monitor your board full time. 99.9% of people are also going to be civilized, but what happens when the 0.1% says something racist on there? I don’t think you should have to have the responsibility of monitoring that. Selfishly, since I don’t have to be the hall monitor, I think it’s be great because I think there are the right people hanging around here, and I enjoy reading the comment section. Appreciate what you have cultivated here.
Well, that’s really where my issue is. One of the reasons I couldn’t commit to the other site is because I wasn’t sure if I would be able to write frequently enough for them since I wasn’t sure what the expectations were. With a message board, things ramp up a bit. He has some moderators on his site that quite frankly I wouldn’t be able to pay to do that.
I really don’t have a problem with rumors being posted, if people are talking about it i’m not sure a message board should disallow it. I would probably go in and say “i haven’t heard that” or “ya may be something to watch here”.
I am trying to figure out the pros/cons. I have trips for work, vacations with family, which mean I couldn’t get on it every single day to “clean things up” if need be. But I am hoping to be pretty hands off if it goes up.