Nebraska Football Recruiting: Looking Ahead to 2015 Class

Patrick RungeCorrespondent IFebruary 9, 2014

Nebraska cheerleaders and band populate the field prior to the first half of an NCAA college football game against Iowa in Lincoln, Neb., Friday, Nov. 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Nati Harnik/Associated Press

Nebraska just completed its 2014 recruiting class, but in the nonstop world of college football the 2015 class is already under construction. It’s never too early to start thinking about (or, as some might say, worrying about—or even obsessing about) how Nebraska’s recruiting class for next February will pan out.

Sure, lots can happen between now and then. But let’s take a look into that crystal ball and see what the recruiting class of 2015 for Nebraska might look like. After all, you didn’t get enough recruiting to satisfy you yet, did you?


Biggest Needs

Nebraska’s biggest needs going into the 2015 recruiting class will likely dovetail from the unmet needs coming out of the 2014 recruiting season. The biggest area of concern will be on the defensive line. Both defensive end and defensive tackle are positions that look now to be Nebraska’s greatest need next season. With defensive end Randy Gregory the only on the roster who looks to be a true difference-maker, Nebraska’s focus in 2015 needs to be an impact player on the defensive line.

Quarterback may be the next position of true need for Nebraska’s focus in the class of 2015. While Nebraska signed two quarterbacks in 2014, the facts could very well play out that neither will be able to protect NU with the depth needed for protection at the most critical of positions.

Winning a recruiting battle over Ohio State to get Zack Darlington is a big deal, and if he is able to remain healthy then Nebraska’s quarterback situation is in great shape. But Darlington’s history of concussions has to give Bo Pelini and the rest of his staff concern that Darlington may not be able to contribute at all for Nebraska.

LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 16: Wide receiver Jamal Turner #10 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers watches during their game against the Michigan State Spartansat Memorial Stadium on November 16, 2013 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Eric Francis/Getty Images

AJ Bush, the second 2014 quarterback, certainly looks to be a talented athlete. But he also looks terribly unpolished and unprepared to step into a quarterback role. While he could get pressed into service if Darlington is unavailable and injuries strike sophomore Tommy Armstrong or freshman Johnny Stanton, his skill set looks a lot more like a player that would benefit from a position change—akin to Jamal Turner.

So while Nebraska at least has options in place if injuries strike, NU would be much better served if it was able to land a top-flight quarterback prospect in the 2015 class.


Current 2015 Class

Yes, amazingly enough, there is a current 2015 class. Indeed, Nebraska has done well with early recruiting, currently holding the No. 14 class nationally and No. 1 (!) in the Big Ten, according to 247Sports.

All of Nebraska’s four current commits are exciting prospects. Nebraska has two defensive backs in Eric Lee (6’0”, 175 pounds, 4-star, 93 composite) and Avery Anderson (5’11”, 165 pounds, 3-star, 88 composite). Lee seems certain to play cornerback, while Anderson’s size would suggest he would slot in at safety.

Christian Gaylord (6’6”, 275 pounds, 3-star, no composite yet) seems tailor made for an offensive tackle spot, a position that is always of need and one of the more challenging to full. But the most exciting prospect might be Kendall Bussey (5’9”, 192 pounds, 3-star, 87 composite), who has the potential to compete for time at I-back right away, particularly with the graduation of Ameer Abdullah after the 2014 season.


Biggest Targets

(In fairness, the subhead probably should have read “most important” targets. Listing the “biggest” targets in terms of size and weight doesn’t take a lot of analytical chops. Then again, it’s not like the guys on this list are tiny…)

Of course, this early in the process Nebraska will have a huge number of targets on its board, and those names will change rapidly and frequently between now and signing day 2015. But here are three to keep an eye on as the early recruiting process unwinds.

Martez Ivey—Offensive Tackle (6’6”, 280 pounds, 5-star, 98 composite). Nebraska has the attention of one of the most coveted offensive linemen in the 2015 class, in part due to the relationship with Zack Darlington, who went to the same high school. Nebraska is in Ivey’s top five schools, and landing him would be a huge feather in Pelini’s recruiting cap.

Kevin Dillman—Dual-Threat Quarterback (6’4”, 220 pounds, 5-star, 98 composite). Landing Dillman could make a huge difference on Nebraska’s roster, giving tremendous cover if Darlington was unable to play and allowing Bush to change positions without concern. Nebraska is high on Dillman’s list, and if NU’s offense is able to shine in the first post-Taylor Martinez season, that could make a big difference in landing his signature.

Adam McLean—Defensive End (6’3”, 282 pounds, 4-star, 93 composite). At a position of critical need, Nebraska is on the short list for McLean. Nebraska will compete with a number of B1G schools, including Ohio State and Maryland (don’t laugh, he’s a native of the Old Line State), but NU’s current recruiting momentum could help land the defensive end.


All measurables and rankings from 247Sports.

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