Nebraska Football Recruiting: Cornhuskers Hoping for a Big Finish on Signing Day

Mike WehlingAnalyst IJanuary 26, 2012

LINCOLN, NE - OCTOBER 16: The Nebraska Cornuskers run through a gauntlet of fans as they take the field against the Texas Longhorns at Memorial Stadium on October 16, 2010 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Texas Defeated Nebraska 20-13. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Eric Francis/Getty Images

With less than a week until National Signing Day on February 1, Nebraska's class is the second smallest of its Big Ten peers—with just 13 recruits. Only Wisconsin has less recruits with 11.  The ranking of Nebraska's class ranges from 59th on to 36th on Rivals.

Needless to say, some in Husker Nation are feeling anxious about this class. While Nebraska does contain several top players, like Quarterback Tommy Armstrong, Receiver Jordan Westerkamp, offensive lineman Paul Thurston and linebacker Michael Rose among others, some feel it lacks the pizzazz or feeling that this class is one of the top classes in the country—filled with recruits ready to help bring a championship to Lincoln.

There is a reason why Nebraska's class is small: It has a limited number of scholarships.  Nebraska originally only had 16 scholarships to hand out, but after Lester Ward and Collins Okafor left the team the number went up. 

The coaching staff has had to be selective in who they gave scholarships to. And with the team sitting currently at 13 commits, there is room for a big signing day featuring some top-caliber players.

Nebraska is hoping for players like offensive lineman Andrus Peat from Arizona, who is also the cousin of Nebraska's commit Avery Moss and brother of Todd Pear Jr, a Nebraska defensive tackle. Nebraska wants Peat badly. At a recent basketball game of Peat's, Bo Pelini brought the entire offensive staff.

While Nebraska has young offensive linemen, this is a guy you hope you can anchor your line on.

Other players like defensive back Raymond Ford, the cousin of former Husker Rickey Thenarse and defensive tackles Aaron Curry and Vincent Valentine, are players Nebraska needs to fill immediate needs on the defense.

Other players like running back Imani Cross and Athlete/QB Devin Fuller are in positions where Nebraska has plenty of personnel, but are great players that can boost Nebraska.

Most of these players still have multiple schools trying to get a commit. Nebraska is competing against USC, Stanford and Florida State for Peat, and battling neighboring schools Iowa and Missouri for Curry and California and Utah for Raymond Ford. 

Nebraska is not a state with an abundance of in-state talent, so they must play a national game in recruiting instead of regional. Also, Nebraska must really wow over recruits in order to convince them to leave the region and their regional schools—which can take a while.

Most of the recruits Nebraska is targeting have either made up their mind and are waiting to announce, or are still debating the positives and negatives of each school and will not decide until they need to sign on the dotted line. The Nebraska coaches have been hitting the recruiting trail in force to convince the recruits that Lincoln is the place to be.

In order to compete in one of the top conferences, you need great athletes. Nebraska is lined up to have a Signing Day jump in the recruiting ranks with commits from some great recruits. They could easily become one of the top classes in the Big Ten. 

If they don't get a Signing Day bump, they will still have some great players already committed. But it will not look good for Nebraska and the future of the program.