Nebraska Football Recruiting: Ranking the 2013 Recruiting Class so Far

Mike WehlingAnalyst IJuly 26, 2012

Nebraska Football Recruiting: Ranking the 2013 Recruiting Class so Far

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    We are at the halfway point for the recruiting season, and six months away from National Signing Day for the 2013 class, and Nebraska is already making strong headway in the recruiting world. So far, Nebraska has landed 12 recruits from eight different states: Ohio, Indiana, Nebraska, South Dakota, Texas, Maryland, Wisconsin and California. 

    Since the last edition of the rankings, Nebraska has gained two recruits in QB Johnny Stanton, and LB Marcus Newby. But the Huskers also lost athlete/defensive back Trevell Dixon, who decommitted but has not committed anywhere else yet.

    These 12 recruits are good for the 25th-best class on Scout and the 28th on Rivals. But which recruits rank as the best in Nebraska's class? 

    This will be a monthly segment ranking of Nebraska's recruits, so check back at the end of each month to see updated rankings with hopefully more recruits added to this list.

12. Gabriel Miller

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    Position: Long-Snapper

    From: Penn HS, Mishawaka, Indiana

    Stars: Scout 2, Rivals 2

    Last Month: 11th

    Gabriel Miller is part of a growing trend in college football of using scholarships to get long snappers. Both Alabama and Michigan have also used scholarships to get long snappers. 

    But Miller is not just a random player Nebraska found to snap the ball: He currently ranks as the third-best long snapper in the nation. He has good size and is fast out of the snap. 

    Unfortunately, you will most likely not hear much about Miller during his time at Nebraska, as the only time you hear about long-snappers is when a mistake happens

11. Dan Samuelson

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    Position: Offensive Line

    From: Plymouth HS, Plymouth, Indiana

    Stars: Scout 3, Rivals 3

    Last Month: 10th

    Dan Samuelson was originally committed to the University of Pittsburgh, but he received an offer from Nebraska less than a month later, took the visit to Nebraska and the rest is history. 

    He loved the facilities and the small-town feel of Lincoln. I love the fact that Nebraska's facilities keep drawing recruits here. 

    Dan's video shows that he likes to pancake people. This is a guy that comes in and knocks people on the ground. 

    He has good length, but he is currently a little small. His weight is about the size of one of Nebraska's smaller offensive linemen, but that really isn't a big deal, as strength coach James Dobson will get his in shape and bigger than he currently is. 

    It will be interesting to see if Samuelson gets to play early with the loaded number of offensive linemen Nebraska currently has.

10. Kevin Gladney

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    Position: Wide Receiver

    From: Firestone HS, Akron, Ohio

    Stars: Scout 3, Rivals 3

    Last Month: 9th

    Kevin Gladney is a receiver out of Ohio and could be an underrated receiver, as seen by the fact that Michigan, Michigan State and Iowa wanted him. He runs the second-best 40-time of all Nebraska recruits at 4.53 and is elusive after catching the ball. He can make great plays and should be an exciting player to watch.

    Gladney committed to Nebraska after seeing Nebraska and its great facilities. As Gladney said to the Lincoln Journal Star, "Everything was just better compared to the places I've been to visit." 

    That includes Michigan State and Iowa. Did I mention how much I love Nebraska facilities?

    Gladney might take a while to see the field, though. Nebraska is loaded at receiver, and almost all of them are young guys too. Only five of Nebraska's 14 players at wide receiver are upperclassmen. This most likely means Gladney will redshirt his first year. 

    One other thing I really like about Gladney is that he is a team player. According to Omaha World Herald, Gladney sees himself as a mismatch and a decoy so others can get open. 

    With Gladney's commitment, it seems like Nebraska is committing even more to developing a passing game, which is good news.

9. Nathan Gerry

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    Position: Safety

    From: Washington HS, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

    Stars: Scout 3, Rivals 3

    Last Month: 8th

    Nathan Gerry is a safety, linebacker and wide receiver from Sioux Falls and ranks as the No. 1 recruit from South Dakota. Nebraska beat Michigan State, Iowa, Iowa State and Minnesota for Gerry's commitment. 

    Gerry is currently being called an underrated prospect, with Omaha World Herald columnist Sam McKewon calling Gerry "one of the best safety prospects in the country."

    He certainly does look like a great safety. He has the speed and arm length to match up against receivers and intercept the ball. He played receiver in high school as well, so he knows how to get the ball. 

    Also, his speed allows him to get the runner. He is really fast, running a  4.42 40 time, which makes him the fastest recruit Nebraska has so far. He could be this year's under-the-radar recruit that turns out big. 

    But Nebraska has the services of another safety recruit (who will show up later in this list; hint hint), so Gerry is going to have to fight for playing time. With two senior safeties graduating this year, though, Gerry could see the field soon rather than later.

    He played both safety and linebacker in high school and might be a player like Eric Hagg who is too good to keep off the field.

8. Greg Hart

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    Position: Tight End

    From: Archbishop Alter HS, Kettering, Ohio

    Stars: Scout 3, Rivals 3

    Last Month: 7th

    Greg Hart is a tight end from Ohio and a player I am really high on for two reasons. One is that Nebraska wants to utilize tight ends more on offense, and they need tight ends. Second, this guy is a playmaking tight end. 

    He is more of a Kyler Reed tight end then a Ben Cotton tight end. For those who don't follow Nebraska, this means Hart is more of a receiving tight end than he is just a blocking tight end. 

    But that doesn't mean he can't lay people out. He is fast and can get open and provides a great mismatch against linebackers and cornerbacks. Great pickup.

    According to the Lincoln Journal Star, Hart liked the fact Nebraska is now in the Big Ten. His uncle lived in Omaha, and that showed him that Nebraska football was a way of life.   He also likes what the coaches have shown him about the offense, and he could be a great playmaker.

    Hart could have a shot at immediate playing time, as Nebraska is thin at tight end, and both starters will graduate this season. If so, he will make an immediate impact.

    One final note: Bo told Hart he was Nebraska's No. 1 tight end and H-back recruit. H-back is a combination of fullback and tight end. Interesting.

7. Courtney Love

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    Position: Linebacker

    From: Cardinal Mooney HS, Youngstown, Ohio

    Stars: Scout 3, Rivals 3

    Last Month: 6th

    Courtney Love is a linebacker from Cardinal Mooney High School. If that high school sounds familiar, it's probably because it's the alma mater of head coach Bo Pelini, offensive coordinator Tim Beck and graduate assistant/tight end coach Vince Marrow, as well as current Nebraska players Bob Stoops, Mark Stoops and Carl Pelini.

    Love is a very good linebacker who ranks between the 31st and 21st linebacker depending on who you want to believe. Either way, Love is fast and hits well. He reads plays and can get mobile QBs, which Nebraska has had a problem with the last few years. 

    He is a very good pickup and shows Nebraska can recruit against some of the best programs in the country for recruits out of Ohio. Here's a small list of programs interested in him: Notre Dame, Michigan State, West Virginia and Ohio State. The fact that Nebraska got one of the best recruits from Ohio despite Ohio State wanting him is big.

    Love will compete for fighting time against other linebackers that Nebraska has landed.  But Nebraska is light on linebackers after not recruiting many during its time in the Big 12. 

    Nebraska will have youth at its linebackers corps, but Love should compete for playing time and could be a big star.

6. AJ Natter

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    Position: Defensive Line

    From: Milton HS, Milton, Wisconsin

    Stars: Scout 4, Rivals 3

    Last Month: 5th

    A.J. Natter is a defensive end from Milton, Wisconsin who committed to Nebraska despite offers from Wisconsin and several other Big Ten schools. 

    Natter is a fast lineman and hits hard as you can tell in the video. Nebraska needs some dominant defensive ends that can lay the wood and catch runners, and especially mobile quarterbacks. That has been a source of frustration over the last two years.

    If you watch the video, you may notice something: Natter lines up quite a bit as a linebacker or a defensive end that drops back to a linebacker with the defense in a 3-4 front. 

    This is a common trait he shares with another recruit on this list and could be a sign of things to come for Nebraska's defense. Nebraska could be changing the defense to a 3-4, which would make Natter even more valuable then he already is.

    Nebraska has defensive ends, but most are upperclassmen. Starters Cameron Meredith and Jason Ankrah will be gone in a year and two years respectively. 

    Nebraska needs defensive ends, especially playmakers like Natter. He will most likely be a name you will hear in future years.

5. Marcus McWilson

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    Position: Safety

    From: Cardinal Mooney HS, Youngstown, Ohio

    Stars: Scout 4, Rivals 4

    Last Month: 4th

    Marcus McWilson is a safety out of Cardinal Mooney...wait a minute, two prospects out of the same high school Bo Pelini is from and are two of the top prospects in the state?  That's impressive. Pelini beat out teams like Michigan State, Illinois and West Virginia for McWilson. 

    McWilson plays safety, which is a position that Nebraska needs, as both starters will graduate this year. And it is easy to see him making an instant impact. 

    I cannot find his 40 time, but he just seems faster than most other players. He reads plays very well, and once he recognizes the run, his speed allows him to get in the backfield or across the field to make the stop. 

    He is a playmaker. His high school team also used him as a special teams player, where he was a return man that out ran everyone else on the field. Great pickup by the Huskers.

    McWilson will most likely be a starter sooner rather than later. Once he gets on campus, there will only be three safeties with more than a year of experience, and they will be two juniors and a senior next year. McWilson should be a multi-year starter for the Huskers.

4. Christian Lacouture

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    Position: Defensive Line

    From: College Station Consolidated, College Station, Texas

    Stars: Scout 4, Rivals 3

    Last Month: 2nd

    Christian Lacouture might be my favorite recruit. First, his last name sounds cool, and second, it sounds like he will be an instant playmaker at Nebraska. Nebraska landed the highly-touted recruit from former Big 12 rival Texas A&M's home city. 

    Lacouture once was committed to TAMU, but decommitted following Sherman's firing.  Nebraska then landed him, facing stiff competition from Michigan, LSU, Oklahoma State and TAMU.

    Lacouture can play both defensive tackle and defensive end. He is fast enough to chase down running backs and get into the backfield, and strong enough to bust up the offensive line and get into the backfield. He looks like a future star for the Huskers. 

    Plus there is this scouting report following his commitment, courtesy of SB Nation:  "However, Nebraska recruited him as a 3-4 defensive end and outside linebacker. On the field, his motor consistently runs hot, which allows him to run down plays some defensive linemen would not be able to make."

    He is also the second defensive lineman that can play a 3-4 defensive end linebacker, Natter being the other. This could lead to a change of defense from a 4-3 to a 3-4, which would be interesting. 

    Either way, Lacouture looks like a great player and has great skill. He might be the next great Bo Pelini defensive lineman.

3. Josh Banderas

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    Position: Linebacker

    From: Lincoln Southwest HS, Lincoln, NE

    Stars: Scout 3, Rivals 4

    Last Month: 1st

    Josh Banderas is a linebacker from the home city of the Cornhuskers, Lincoln, NE.  And he also goes to my high school alma mater, which is awesome. Go Silver Hawks! 

    Banderas is a legacy recruit. His dad, Tom Banderas, played for Coach Osborne from 1985 to 1987

    Josh Banderas started as somewhat of an unknown recruit but has picked up steam. He started to receive interest from Oregon, USC and Wisconsin, but has remained faithful to Nebraska. 

    This weekend, he attended the Rivals 100 5 Star Challenge, and because of that performance, this Sunday, he received his official invitation to the US Army All-American Bowl.

    I apologize about the lack of video highlights, but I could not find any that were free to watch. But if you watch the video, you will hear Banderas' stats, and you'll see why he is a great linebacker. 

    This is a player that Nebraska fans will love. He can diagnose the offense and make great plays. He has speed, he won the class-A hurdles and his stock has not finished rising. 

    He will continue to get more and more national attention.  Rivals already has him as the 13th-best linebacker, and odds are, he will continue to rise. 

    It will be interesting to see if he can fight for playing time against the other young linebackers Nebraska has, like Rose, Brown and Afalava. But Banderas has star written all over him.

2. Johnny Stanton

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    Position: Quarterback

    From: Santa Margarita Catholic HS, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA

    Stars: Scout 3, Rivals 3

    Last Month: N/A

    Johnny Stanton created immediate buzz when he committed to Nebraska this month, and with good reason. First, he is much better than what the recruiting services say as only a 3-star. Stanton was recently named an Elite 11 QB, so he is one of the best in the nation.  ESPN also has him as the 234th-best player in the country.

    Stanton is a natural leader and has great work ethic. Watching his video, he has a strong arm, and while he isn't the fastest runner, he can run and plow over opposing players.  Stanton works really well at play-action pass, which fits in perfectly to Nebraska with the Huskers' strong running game.

    According to the Omaha World Herald, Stanton threw for 2,439 yards and ran for 1,428 while leading his team to a state title. I don't know about you, but I would love for a Husker quarterback to put up those kinds of numbers every year. Those kinds of numbers, plus the hopeful increase through experience, could help Nebraska move from great to elite.

    Bo Pelini and Tim Beck are clearly focusing on improving the passing game, and Stanton shows it. Add in the young but talented receivers Nebraska has, plus 2013 commits Hart and Gladney, and Nebraska's offensive future looks bright.

    Stanton will have to battle for the starting spot. Most likely, he will redshirt in 2013 as Martinez goes through his last year. That will leave 2014 with senior Brion Carnes and redshirt sophomore Tommy Armstrong to battle for the starting spot. It will be interesting to see if he can beat them out or if he will have to wait his turn to start at Nebraska.

1. Marcus Newby

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    Position: Linebacker

    From: Quince Orchard HS, North Potomac, MD

    Stars: Scout 3, Rivals 4

    Last Month: N/A

    Taking the No. 1 spot is linebacker Marcus Newby.  Newby comes from the same high school as defensive coordinator John Papuchis and starting defensive end Jason Ankrah.  That connection, plus academics, helped pull in Newby to Nebraska. Newby is also ranked 297th in the ESPN 300, joining Johnny Stanton as the only two Husker commits.

    Newby is someone I see as starting almost from day one. When Newby enrolls, Nebraska will have some good but not great depth at linebacker. With the continued increase of linebackers role under Pelini's defense, Newby will be greatly needed. Newby's coach at Quince Orchard said that Newby has the potential to be great and may be the best player he has coached.

    Nebwy is fast, strong and is a playmaker. He rips the ball away from opponents, recognizes the pass or the run quickly and runs down the runner or passer. Love and Banderas are both very good linebackers, but I feel Newby might be the best of the three. 

    He just feels like a Big Ten linebacker. Big and strong and likes to knock people over. Just watch his video; he has all the tools to become a great Husker linebacker. This is my opinion, but regardless, Nebraska is slowly building up great depth at linebacker.

    That is the end of the rankings. If you disagree, let me know, and hopefully, next month will see the addition of even more Huskers. Go Big Red!