Many Nebraska football fans were worried about the Cornhuskers falling behind in recruiting this year.
They saw B1G rival schools like Michigan and Ohio State rocket up the 2014 recruiting rankings. More disturbingly, they saw Nebraska at one point languishing at no. 70 in the 247Sports.com team rankings, wedged between college football luminaries Kansas and Syracuse.
But as many (including one smart and particularly handsome analyst) observed, it’s only June. Recruiting season, while it may seem like it has been going on forever, is still incredibly early in the process. And Nebraska still had its Big Red Weekend upcoming, where prospects could get a chance be blown away by the school, the athletic facilities and the fanbase.
Well, it looks like Big Red Weekend delivered. Nebraska landed six commits during the Weekend and the week leading up to it (all-star rankings and measurables courtesy of 247Sports.com):
- Tanner Farmer, a 6’4”, 280-pound 3-star offensive guard. The offensive line is a position of real need in this year’s recruiting class.
- Zack Darlington, a 6’2”, 207-pound 3-star dual-threat quarterback. The crown jewel of most recruiting classes, Darlington will add terrific depth to a position that will also feature Tommy Armstrong and Johnny Stanton next season.
- Trai Mosely, a 5’10”, 171-pound 2-star cornerback. Even after the departure of Nebraska from the Big 12, the Cornhuskers continue to mine the state of Texas for talent.
- Mick Stoltenberg, a 6’6”, 250-pound in-state commit from Gretna. Stoltenberg is unranked by 247Sports.com, likely due to a lack of offers from other big-name schools. While listed as a defensive end, Steven Sipple from the Lincoln Journal-Star believes Stoltenberg was recruited to play offensive tackle.
- D.J. Foster, a 6’1”, 300-pound 3-star offensive guard. As with Farmer, Foster adds to Nebraska’s talent level at a position of need. Landing an in-state, 3-star prospect (Foster is from Lincoln Southeast) also helps Nebraska secure its recruiting borders.
- Demornay Pierson-El, a 5’9”, 171-pound 3-star athlete prospect. Pierson-El will add to Nebraska’s arsenal of receivers, having excelled in high school both catching passes and returning kicks. Hailing from Virginia, Pierson-El’s arrival may be evidence of the advantages a school like Nebraska gains from the B1G’s expansion to the east coast.
In five days, Nebraska’s haul at Big Red Weekend has vaulted the NU from no. 70 to no. 36 in the 247Sports.com overall 2014 rankings.
Sure, that’s not where Nebraska wants to end up; the Cornhuskers are still behind Western Michigan overall and are sixth overall in the B1G. But it does suggest that getting recruits to Lincoln—letting them see the program, tour the facilities and meet the coaches—is critical for Nebraska’s recruiting success.
Again, it’s June. Big Red Weekend has demonstrated in a splashy way that Bo Pelini and Co. have their recruiting hats on and are able to land prospects. That should help Nebraska fans who look at teams like Michigan, Ohio State and (remarkably, given their sanctions) Penn State and worry that NU will not be able to compete in its new conference.
Following college football recruiting is a bumpy ride, to be sure. We still have an entire season of official and unofficial visits for prospects to see Memorial Stadium on gameday—although the plethora of 11:00 a.m. kickoffs doesn’t help Nebraska from a recruiting standpoint.
Some of Nebraska’s current commits will likely jump ship to another school before signing day in February 2014. Nebraska will probably benefit from a few last-minute flips, like it did with Dimarya Mixon last year.
So the best advice for Nebraska fans following recruiting, particularly in the summer months, came from a very wise man who is no longer with us.
Or, you could always...Follow @patrickrunge.