Nebraska Football Recruiting: Fans' Role in Salvaging 2014 Recruiting Class

Erin Sorensen@erinsorensenContributor IDecember 17, 2013

LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 29: The Nebraska Cornhuskers take the field before their game against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Memorial stadium on November 29, 2013 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Eric Francis/Getty Images

When it comes to recruiting, a lot falls on the Nebraska football coaches' shoulders.

They're not the only ones who play a part, though.

Fans have their own role in salvaging the 2014 recruiting class.

Bleacher Report's Andrew Kulha took a look at how Nebraska's annual spring game affects recruiting, which is something fans play a major role in.

For Nebraska, the spring Red-White Game provides a lot of good press for the Huskers.

After all, how could anyone forget Jack Hoffman's 69-yard touchdown run in the 2012 spring game? It also doesn't hurt that Husker fans show up big for the annual scrimmage.

However, the role fans play in the recruiting game expands beyond just the spring game.

That's been a challenge over the last couple of months for Nebraska fans, too.

From head coach Bo Pelini's leaked audio tapes to his angry fit on the field against Iowa and in the post-game press conference, fans have had a lot to talk about.

Unfortunately, not a lot of it has been good.

Many fans have been vocally upset since Nebraska's loss to Iowa. Some were upset before that point.

After Pelini's rant and hat swing at a referee, it was assumed by many that he would be fired. Then athletic director Shawn Eichorst stepped in to say Pelini has his full support.

When rumors surfaced that Pelini's job would be taken by former Texas head coach Mack Brown, Eichorst only had one word. "Deny!" Eichorst texted the Omaha World Herald.

Just a few short days prior to the Brown rumors, Nebraska senior Jeremiah Sirles had told the Lincoln Journal Star he was happy the speculation around Pelini's job had subsided:

I came out and I wore my heart on my sleeve and I told everyone how I felt about it. And then when administration came out and said the same thing, it was nice to have answers. It was nice to have a base and a foundation moving into this bowl game that people don’t have to worry about anything. We just have to worry about going out and winning football games. That’s the way it should be. That’s the way it should be for kids 18 to 22. We shouldn’t have to worry about other speculation or rumors going around. We should just have to worry about going out on the field and practicing hard to go win a game.

Despite Sirles' confidence in the speculation subsiding, it was clear it hadn't just yet.

The reality is that while the coaches and players are doing their best to move forward, the social environment surrounding college sports has made it difficult to completely ignore speculation and rumors.

That social engagement doesn't just affect current players, either. It also affects recruits.

On December 9, wide receivers coach Rich Fisher tweeted about a message that was sent to one of his recruits. As reported by Tom Fornelli of, the alleged Husker fan warned the recruit about the Nebraska environment.

The message rightfully upset Fisher. It also upset many fans.

It was likely not a Husker fan, either. However, it reflected back on the Nebraska fanbase.

Fisher deleted the tweet the same day.

The problem with all of this drama is that recruits are paying attention. It may not be a top priority on their list, but they are likely seeing the tweets and comments.

It's the blessing and the curse of social media.

This means that there is a certain responsibility to fans.

That doesn't mean that fans cannot question when things don't seem right. Fans had every right to be upset after their head coach acted inappropriately on Nebraska's sidelines.

However, Eichorst has made it clear that for the time being, Pelini is and will remain the Husker head coach.

It is now the responsibility of fans to play their role in salvaging the 2014 recruiting class.

That means sending messages to any recruit is likely inappropriate.

It also means that while some fans may not support Pelini, that doesn't mean the overall team cannot be supported.

After all, college football is about the players.

While it's sometimes hard to put focus there when a fanbase is unhappy with a coach, it's imperative Nebraska fans try for the sake of recruiting.

The recruits that have committed seem to like Pelini.

“Man, Coach Bo is going to fight to the death for his team,” said Terrell Clinkscales, a 6'3", 317-pounder from Dodge City (Kan.) Community College, to the Omaha World Herald. “He doesn't take any BS.”

Whether or not fans agree, what truly matters is supporting the young men committing to Nebraska.

A majority of the responsibility to recruit does fall on Pelini's shoulders.

That doesn't mean fans don't have a role, too.