Nebraska Huskers Targeting High-School Hot Beds for Recruiting Gems

Bugeatersteve StuchlikCorrespondent IDecember 22, 2008

This past weekend saw the high school powerhouse states of Texas, California, and Florida crown their champions, and Bo Pelini and the Huskers had a stake in each contest.

Although not by design a large portion of this years Husker’s recruiting class are from these states championship  teams, it isn’t totally by coincidence either.

"We're not targeting guys only from great teams," NU defensive coordinator Carl Pelini said. "But we put a strong emphasis in our recruiting on character. And it's amazing, when you zero in on character, you're finding kids who are winners and who are winning championships."

If you follow the bouncing ball so to speak, it is an easy theory to follow. Players from dominate high school programs understand the work ethic required to succeed, both on the field and in the classroom.

Having that mentality in high school hopefully will translate more easily at the college level. This hard work will be required not only on the field, but in the classroom, where college will require a balance of hard work in both areas to succeed. 

Plano High school coach Jaydon McCullough agrees with this thought process. McCullough, whose team plays in a highly competitive 5A district in North Texas is sending Rex Burkhead, who played running back as well as receiver and defensive back during his four years in high school agrees.

"I've had that experience against top-notch talent," Burkhead said, "and it will probably help me when I get to college. It definitely lets you know where you stand and the type of atmosphere you're going to face."

In high-level programs such as these, football is a “year round” sport. As soon as the football awards banquet is finished on Saturday, winter conditioning begins that following Monday.

Current Husker red-shirted freshman Tim Marlowe was one of the 2008’s top signee’s won the scout team award for offensive player of the year. He came from Youngstown Cardinal Moody high, one of Ohio’s best, which by the way is where Bo and Carl Pelini graduated from as well as running back coach and top recruiter Tim Beck.

Defensive back DeAndre Byrd of Tallahassee Lincoln played for the Florida 4A title game on Saturday.

Also on Saturday, cornerback Lazarri Middleton, another Nebraska commitment, helped unbeaten Long Beach (Calif.) Polytechnic to an 18th section title and a spot in the state's open division bowl game Saturday night.

Recently signed NU recruit Taylor Martinez quarterbacked Corona (Calif.) Centennial to a 15-0 season. Centennial capped it with a 21-16 win Friday over Concord De La Salle —the nation's top high school program over the past 20 years—in California's Division I bowl game.

Martinez was recruited to Nebraska as a receiver or defensive back, completed over 60 percent of his passes this season, while winning his leagues MVP award. His coach feels that Martinez could play quarterback at Nebraska, but says that he will contribute to the Huskers regardless of the position he plays.

Cody Green, a five-star quarterback from Dayton Texas finished his season with more than 4,600 yards passing with 37 touchdown passes to go with almost 1,500 yards rushing and another 25 touchdowns.

In the Texas state championship game on Saturday, Green accounted for more than 400 total yards and six touchdowns in a losing effort in a game that set the Texas 11-man record for combined points scored, 118.

If you are from big time programs such as these, it gives you an advantage when coming to a school like Nebraska, where 300 straight sell-outs are the norm and expectations for championships are huge.

You’ve already experienced the pressure, maybe at a lower level, but still facing the pressure to perform every day. GBR!