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Nebraska Football Recruiting: Why Huskers' Class Is Better Than You Think

JACKSONVILLE, FL - JANUARY 1: Zaire Anderson #13 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers celebrates after tackling Brendan Douglas #22 of the Georgia Bulldogs in the first half during the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl at Everbank Field on January 1, 2014 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Erin SorensenContributor IFebruary 5, 2014

On paper, the 2014 Nebraska recruiting class looks average at best.

The class finished fifth in the Big Ten, per the Omaha World Herald. It also finished 35th nationally, according to 247Sports.

In his time as head coach, these rankings are pretty standard for Bo Pelini. This class may even be ranked just a little lower than those in the past.

According to HailVarsity.com's Brandon Vogel, the average star ranking for the Huskers' 2014 class (per Rivals.com) is a bit lower than previous years. That's no reason to give up hope on this class just yet, though.

After all, plenty of people don't put as much stock in star rankings anymore. A player's true potential is usually not seen until the end of his career with a program.

That's been true for many players at Nebraska.

As an example, both I-Back Ameer Abdullah and wide receiver Kenny Bell were both 3-star recruits out of high school. Heading into their senior years, it would appear that both were significantly undervalued, especially Abdullah.

There are likely plenty of undervalued players in the 2014 recruiting class. The important part is how they are developed.

Pelini has always been a big believer in the development of players. It's that belief that keeps him from fully knowing what to expect from a class right off the bat.

"How people are going to develop, who knows? I'll have a better idea of how this class was three or four years from now," Pelini told reporters during his national signing day press conference, via Huskers.com.

A majority of fans seem to agree with that approach.

Another aspect that is not taken into consideration is the walk-on list. A big tradition in Nebraska, the 2014 official walk-on list, via the Lincoln Journal Star, is full of potential beyond those who signed.

Taking that group into account, the Huskers filled many gaps this recruiting season. By doing so, the class may not be ranked the highest, but Pelini and his staff added depth to positions that needed it.

Both the offensive line and defensive line needed attention. Both got it during this recruiting season. That's what Pelini was aiming for.

It's definitely difficult to judge a book by its cover on national signing day. Some of the best recruits may end up as busts, while some of the more underrated players may end up shining more than expected. That's why it takes time to truly determine the success of a class.

In Nebraska's case, this class met plenty of needs. It may look average at first glance, but it's filled with potential.

It's what is done with that potential that matters now.

 

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