The Nebraska football program may not be a recruiting powerhouse like USC, Texas, Notre Dame, Florida, Florida State, Ohio State or Michigan, but the recent pick-ups of Wisconsin defensive end AJ Natter and Ohio linebacker Courtney Love suggest that the Huskers will be able to hang with the big boys under head coach Bo Pelini.
The Huskers have just five players in their class, compared to 17 for Michigan, 15 for Florida, 13 for Ohio State and Texas, 11 for Notre Dame and 9 for Florida State (USC has just four, but two are 5-stars according to Rivals.com).
But while that may seem to suggest the Huskers are lagging behind, it actually shows that the Huskers are still in contention for the pledges of some of the more highly coveted players in the nation.
And even if Nebraska doesn't land any of the guys on top of their wanted list, the commitments of Natter and Love are proof that Husker recruiting is headed in the right direction.
Natter, a three-star player from Milton, Wisc., chose the Huskers over an in-state offer from the Badgers as well as in-conference offers from Michigan State, Iowa, Minnesota and Purdue. And while pulling him from Wisconsin was impressive enough, the pick-up of Love proved that the Huskers will be able to compete with most anyone.
Love was thought to be a heavy Ohio State lean before his trip to Nebraska, and although his remarks on the visit were glowing, it was hard to imagine Urban Meyer losing a recruiting battle for an in-state kid. However, Love decided to join his teammate, Marcus McWilson, at Nebraska. Granted, being from Youngstown High School, Pelini probably had a leg up that he normally wouldn't have, but pulling any kid from Meyer's grasp is impressive nonetheless.
These recruiting victories are coming on the heels of some major speculation about top prospects such as Su'a Cravens, Kenny Lacy, Priest Willis, Mackensie Alexander, Joe Mathis and Aaron Bailey and should only add fuel to the excitement.
Though landing players like Cravens, Lacy and Willis are still dream scenarios, the possibilities of getting Mathis, Bailey and other high-caliber players remain legitimate.
2013 will be one of Nebraska's largest classes since Pelini took over, and if the momentum continues, we could end up labeling it Pelini's best.
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