Nebraska Football Recruiting: What You Need to Know for National Signing Day
In his first six years as Nebraska's head coach, Bo Pelini has signed 132 players to scholarship. As Sam McKewon of the Omaha World Herald pointed out, 43 of those players, or 32.5 percent, committed after Jan. 1.
Needless to say, Nebraska is far from completing its 2014 class as of now. It will be an eventful January for the Huskers.
The new dead period rule has made things more difficult. Pelini is a big fan of the face-to-face and in-home visits. However, coaches are not allowed to do so from Dec. 16 through Jan. 15 under the new rules.
That isn't stopping Pelini though. His staff currently has nine players lined up for official visits once Jan. 15 hits, as McKewon reported. That number will likely grow, too.
As Pelini looks to sign as many as 25 players to the 2014 class, fans will be waiting to see who will fill the final spots. Nebraska currently has 23 known commitments.
Here is everything you need to know leading up to the big day.
Note: All 2013 stats via 247Sports unless otherwise noted.
Top Remaining Targets
Kalen Ballage, 4-star ATH; 6'2", 215 lbs.; Peyton, Colo. (247Sports)
Kipp Adams of 247Sports has compiled a new list of recruits that may flip decisions prior to national signing day. Kalen Ballage is one of those players. While Ballage plans to visit Arizona State on Jan. 17, the Huskers are still in the running for the 4-star athlete.
He committed to Arizona State a few days prior to visiting Nebraska in December. With I-Back Ameer Abdullah staying at Nebraska for his senior season, Ballage could view it as an opportunity to learn. If so, Ballage could be headed to the Cornhusker State.
It has been confirmed that Ballage took an official visit to Washington, making his interest in Nebraska less than before. He's still on the target list at this time.
Kenyon Frison, 3-star OT; 6'5.5", 290 lbs.' Salt Lake City, UT (247Sports)
OT Kenyon Frison visited Nebraska on Jan. 24. Since then, his interest has been marked at "warm" by 247Sports.com.
This could be an interesting commit, as Nebraska is currently competing with Oklahoma for Frison. He would definitely add value to the Huskers' offensive line but the Sooners are thinking the same thing for themselves. This will be an interesting one to watch as national signing day draws near.
Zack Darlington, 3-star dual-threat QB; 6’3”, 200 lbs.; Apopka, Fla. (247Sports)
Larenzo Stewart, 3-star APB; 5’6”, 170 lbs.; Spring, Texas (247Sports)
Mikale Wilbon, 3-star RB; 5'9", 195 lbs.; Chicago, Ill. (247Sports)
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Monte Harrison, 4-star WR; 6’3”, 200 lbs.; Lees Summit, Mo. (247Sports)
Robert Lockhart, 3-star WR; 6’1”, 185 lbs.; Raymond, Miss. (247Sports)
Freedom Akinmoladun, 3-star TE; 6’5”, 238 lbs.; Hillsboro, Mo. (247Sports)
Demornay Pierson-El, 3-star WR/ATH; 5'9”, 171 lbs.; Alexandria, Va. (247Sports)
Jariah Tolbert, Not Yet Rated WR; 6'3", 185 lbs.; New Orleans, La. (247Sports)
Glenn Irons, 2-star WR; 5'10", 170lbs.; New Orleans, La. (247Sports)
Tanner Farmer, 4-star OG; 6’3.5”, 302 lbs.; Highland Park, Ill. (247Sports)
D.J. Foster, 3-star OG; 6’1”, 300 lbs.; Lincoln, Neb. (247Sports)
Nick Gates, 4-star OT; 6'5", 270lbs.; Las Vegas, Nev. (247Sports)
Joe Keels, 4-star DT; 6’4”, 274 lbs.; Highland, Kan. (247Sports)
Peyton Newell, 4-star DT; 6’2”, 285 lbs.; Hiawatha, Kan. (247Sports)
Mick Stoltenberg, 3-star; 6’6”, 250 lbs.; Gretna, Neb. (247Sports)
Sedrick King, 3-star WDE; 6'3.5", 250 lbs.; Plant City, Flor. (247Sports)
Jaevon Walton, 2-star ILB; 6’0”, 230 lbs.; New Orleans, La. (247Sports)
Byerson Cockrell, 3-star S; 6’2”, 185 lbs.; Scooba, Miss. (247Sports)
Luke Gifford, 3-star S/ATH; 6,3”, 195 lbs.; Lincoln, Neb. (247Sports)
Joshua Kalu, 3-star S; 6’0”, 171 lbs.; Houston, Texas (247Sports)
Trai Mosley, 3-star CB; 5’10”, 171 lbs.; Pflugerville, Texas (247Sports)
Chris Jones, 3-star CB; 6')", 175 lbs.; Jacksonville, Florida (247Sports)
Drew Brown, 2-star K; 5’10”, 160 lbs.; Southlake, Texas (247Sports)
Players Who Could Contribute as Freshmen
Tanner Farmer is expected to make an early impact for Nebraska as an offensive guard. After a season plagued by injuries, the Husker offensive line will be rebuilding. Due to this, Farmer will have an opportunity to step up early in his career.
Both DT Joe Keels and S Byerson Cockrell are already enrolled at Nebraska. Due to this, both will have an edge up with the team. Cockrell will likely step up to help at corner and nickel to start. Nebraska is in need of help at both spots. Cockrell will help fill the void of losing Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Andrew Green, Ciante Evans and Mohammed Seisay.
Keels will also make an early impact. Having switched his commitment from Wisconsin to Nebraska, Keels is "big enough to slide to an interior tackle spot if necessary, but he can also play a big base end, much like current Husker Greg McMullen does," as reported by the Omaha World Herald.
Storylines to Watch
Rumor has it that CB Trai Mosley is looking around at in-state schools, as reported by Sam McKewon of the Omaha World Herald. The Huskers need Mosley to stay committed, as Nebraska is in need of cornerbacks. With Terry Joseph's departure, there is a chance that could sway Mosley elsewhere. Nebraska will need to stay diligent to make sure Mosley signs his letter of intent with the Huskers.
The recent coaching changes at Louisville may have helped Nebraska out. Michael Johnson, currently committed to Louisville, may just become available again. If so, Nebraska will be on his short list. Could make for an interesting final few weeks of the recruiting season as Pelini aims to snag the safety.
In addition to recruiting, the Nebraska walk-on program is being closely watched. Pelini has begun to fill out the class with LB Garrett Poppen. The Giltner, Neb., native is set to accept a preferred walk-on spot, per 247Sports.com.
Per Sam McKewon of the Omaha World Herald, Bo Pelini adds roughly 32.5 percent of his commits after Jan. 1. Among those late adds have been Alfonzo Dennard, Ameer Abdullah and Kenny Bell. Based on those players alone, January seems to be Pelini's month.
In addition to football and baseball, it appears that Monte Harrison can also play basketball. Nick Clouse of Rivals.com provided a glimpse at his dunking abilities on Twitter. Too bad Harrison can't also play basketball for Nebraska. He looks like he'd be a triple threat for the Huskers.
It appears that Pelini's biggest commit this year is already a player for the University of Nebraska. That player is Ameer Abdullah. The Omaha World Herald's Rich Kaipust summed it up best on Twitter, "Bigger than any recruiting score, Nebraska getting back I-back Ameer Abdullah for his senior season #Huskers."
Which high school in Nebraska has produced the most Cornhuskers since 1984? According to the Omaha World Herald, the honor falls to Lincoln Southeast with 33 players.
Drew Brown is looking to keep the family tradition going. His brother—Kris Brown—was a kicker for Nebraska in the mid-90s. Drew plans to follow in big brother Kris's footsteps and carry on the tradition in 2014 at Nebraska, per the Omaha World Herald.