The Cornhuskers received an invaluable gift when cornerback Alfonzo Dennard decided to return for his senior season.
But once he leaves for the NFL, then-second year secondary coach Corey Raymond will have his work cut out for him.
Raw talent is available in the form of cornerbacks Antonio Bell, Dijon Washington, Ciante Evens, newcomer Charles Jackson, and others. Regardless, a school can never stockpile enough athleticism to soften the blow of losing a veteran like Dennard.
Raymond is getting an early start on making things easier for himself come the 2012 offseason.
Dwayne Thomas, a 6’0” 170-pound cornerback prospect out of New Orleans’ O. Perry Walker High School, appears to be high on Nebraska’s list, and more specifically Raymond’s.
Thomas has a number of offers, but according to 247sports.com, he already has a final four lined up. “I would have to say my top four is LSU, Nebraska, Arizona and Pittsburgh,” Thomas said.
Working the cornerback’s interest early in the year may be what it takes for Nebraska’s first-year coach to gain a commitment, as he has a very difficult fight ahead of him.
Raymond has to battle LSU’s running backs coach and recruiting coordinator Frank Wilson for Thomas’ signature. Wilson secured 10 commitments during the last recruiting cycle including three 5-star and five 4-star-rated* recruits. Four of those commitments were from his native New Orleans alone.
The Cornhuskers' coach isn’t without some serious ammunition in this fight, though.
He played for LSU from 1987-1991, later returning to work as an intern and assistant strength and conditioning coach. Raymond also had a six-year NFL career playing for both the New York Giants and Detroit Lions at the cornerback position.
Finally, he would be Thomas’ position coach at Nebraska—something that LSU’s Wilson cannot claim.
“Frank [Wilson] was like, I’m going to be at LSU,” Thomas told 247sports.com. “Your offer is here. I’m going to get you up here and you’re going to play with Anthony Johnson. With Nebraska, they were like, ‘You’re number one on our board. I want you bad.’”
Johnson, an O. Perry Walker alum and 5-star-rated* prospect, committed to LSU last year thanks to Wilson.
If Raymond can pull Thomas away from the SEC, it will be nothing short of a major recruiting upset in the Big Red's favor.
*Rankings by Rivals.com
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