When a school brings in a player from a community college with only two or three years of eligibility left, it’s usually meant as a stop-gap measure.
Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini has recently dipped into Fort Scott, Kansas’ community college and found four players that have made an immediate impact.
Coaches can often make the mistakes of using junior college players, or JUCOs, far too often. Kansas State’s Bill Snyder has used this method to the extreme having not only erected an unstable program once on a foundation of these players and seems to be doing so again. The Wildcats signed nine such prospects during the last recruiting cycle alone.
Bo Pelini seems to be very selective when it comes to picking up JUCOs, and it’s hard to argue with the results.
In fact, Pelini essentially has a pipeline to Fort Scott Community College, where four current Cornhuskers previously played. The most impressive part of the Kansas selections is that all of them look to either see significant playing time for Nebraska in 2011, if not start.
Senior wide receiver Brandon Kinnie led the Cornhusker wide outs in receiving touchdowns last season. Sophomore Stanley Jean-Baptiste will be challenging for one of the starting spots in Tim Beck’s new offensive system opposite Kinnie.
Jermarcus “Yoshi” Hardrick found a home at right tackle sharing time with Marcel Jones last season. Every Cornhusker fan is familiar with the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, linebacker Lavonte David.
Kinnie started 11 games as a junior last year, hauling in 44 passes for 494 yards and five TDs. Hardrick looks to cement a starting role and if Beck’s new system is going to feature a power running game, having a 6’7”, 325-pound mammoth like “Yoshi” would be ideal at right tackle.
His presence would also allow some rotation with Marcel Jones who battled injury repeatedly during the 2010 season.
David’s rise to stardom amongst Nebraska defenders was out of necessity due to the loss of Sean Fisher and Will Compton to injury as the season began. He ended the year becoming Nebraska’s all-time single-season leader in tackles with 152. Another former junior college player, Dejon Gomes, was second with 99 tackles, or 53 fewer than David.
Jean-Baptiste was a rarity: a junior college transfer that was not only a sophomore, but who also had a redshirt year available. Nebraska’s luck doubled since, despite the loss of former offensive coordinator Shawn Watson, he was afforded the opportunity to utilize his redshirt year to acclimate to the speed of FBS football.
Can he step up immediately like his Fort Scott brothers?
Kinnie and Jean-Baptiste share similar size, the former at 6’3”, 225 pounds and the latter at the same height while only five pounds less. These two towering receivers obviously give Nebraska an enviable option of potentially dominating smaller Big Ten defensive backs.
Fort Scott may very well pump more players into the Nebraska system in the near future, as the Cornhuskers will be thin on scholarship defensive ends heading into the 2011 offseason.
At this point, it’s hard to think that any Cornhusker fans would be complaining.
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