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Nebraska Football: What Gator Bowl Victory Means for Recruiting

Jan 1, 2014; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers head coach Bo Pelini celebrates with his staff in the final seconds of the fourth quarter of their game against the Georgia Bulldogs at EverBank Field. The Nebraska Cornhuskers beat the Georgia Bulldogs 24-19. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports
Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports
Erin SorensenContributor IJune 26, 2016

Defeating Georgia in the Gator Bowl was more than just a moral victory for Nebraska. In fact, it may have just been what the Huskers needed on the recruiting front.

With National Signing Day only a little over a month away, head coach Bo Pelini is in the home stretch of securing his 2014 recruiting class.

The difference between this year and last is that the Huskers have a bowl game win to boast. That was something that couldn't be said in 2013.

In fact, losing 45-31 to the Bulldogs in last year's Capital One Bowl likely hurt Nebraska more than anything. It didn't help that the Huskers also gave up 589 yards during that game.

What a difference a year can make.

The 2013 regular season wasn't exactly a perfect one for Nebraska, though. The Huskers recorded more losses than countless pre-season predictions had suggested. By the end, Nebraska had lost to UCLA, Minnesota, Michigan State and Iowa.

The losses to the Golden Gophers and Hawkeyes especially stung.

Beyond that, the Huskers had plenty of off-the-field drama to deal with. From Pelini's leaked audio tape, to a tumultuous day against Iowa (both on the field and off), Nebraska provided potential recruits with plenty of reasons to choose another program.

Despite it all, plenty of recruits hung in there. A few even publicly supported Pelini, including defensive tackle Terrell Clinkscales.

"Man, Coach Bo is going to fight to the death for his team,” Clinkscales told the Omaha World Herald. “He doesn’t take any BS."

With the support on his side, Pelini needed the bowl game win.

While recruits don't make an entire decision based on the outcome of a bowl game, it can definitely help those on the fence.

That's why Nebraska's 24-19 Gator Bowl victory is just what Pelini needed.

The Husker coaching staff plans to hit the recruiting trail hard once again come January 15th. Those final days have always been key for Pelini.

In fact, as reported by the Lincoln Journal Star, every Pelini class (with the exception of 2009) has added three recruits in the final two weeks.

The 2014 class currently has 19 commits. Pelini hopes to make that 25 when it's all said and done. According to the Omaha World Herald, cornerback Byerson Cockrell and defensive end Joe Keels could count toward the 2013 class if need be.

That means Pelini is still on the hunt for up to eight additional recruits.

If history proves anything, it's possible he'll secure those spots in January.

As the Lincoln Journal Star’s Brian Christopherson noted, a dozen of Nebraska’s 26 recruits in 2013 committed after the Huskers lost to Georgia in the Capital One Bowl.

If Nebraska was able to secure 12 recruits after a loss, a win should make things a little bit easier.

There's still a long road ahead for Pelini on the recruiting front. However, the Gator Bowl victory definitely doesn't hurt things.

Instead, it makes the 2014 recruiting more promising than ever.

 

For information and updates on Nebraska's 2014 recruiting class, click here.

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