Nebraska Cornhuskers' 2015 National Signing Day Wish List
National signing day will be here before we know it. For the Huskers, these final days are make-or-break for the 2015 recruiting class. No pressure, right?
If head coach Mike Riley is feeling the pressure, he sure isn't showing it. Riley and his staff have been making the rounds to ensure Nebraska ends with not only the best recruiting class possible, but one that will fill the needs at key positions.
The focus is definitely going to be on the linebacker and defensive end positions, which are areas that both will need help in 2015. Can Riley and his staff fill those voids? Little time is left to find out.
In the meantime, the Huskers' wish list is growing. There are plenty of players fans would love to see play for their team. However, there are key targets Nebraska should be going after.
The Huskers are currently sitting at No. 36 on 247Sports' 2015 Team Recruiting Rankings. At this point, the final ranking means little as long as Riley is able to secure commits from the most needed positions. Who are those players exactly?
Here are the players on Nebraska’s wish list as national signing day approaches.
All player statistics via 247Sports unless otherwise noted.
LB Mohamed Barry
Mohamed Barry has been committed to Kansas State since Nov. 10. That's not stopping the Husker staff from pursuing the linebacker.
After visiting Nebraska, it seems like Barry just might be interested in making the switch too.
“Taking the visit I thought it’d be another place—cornfields and all that stuff,” Barry told Huskers Illustrated, per Sam McKewon of the Omaha World-Herald. “I’ve never been so surprised. I didn’t expect none of this—I just thought it’d be Nebraska. I didn’t think anything of it and then when I came here I was blown away.”
The 3-star recruit from Loganville, Georgia, would easily fill a need for Nebraska quickly. The linebacker position is one of definite concern for the Huskers. That's why getting a commit, as well as a signed letter of intent, from Barry would be huge.
He's 6'1" and 210 pounds with impressive highlights. It's clear why so many programs are interested in Barry, especially Nebraska.
He's set to make his decision this week, as he announced on his personal Twitter account. Will he pick Nebraska? Fans are hoping so.
LB Kaiwan Lewis
Nebraska needs help at the linebacker position. Brian Bennett of ESPN.com mapped out exactly what the problem is and how the Huskers can fix it. Part of the solution? Nebraska needs linebackers recruits to commit.
If Barry chooses another program, the Huskers will definitely be hoping for Kaiwan Lewis. After all, Lewis could make an immediate impact for Nebraska. He doesn't have much eligibility left, as Sam McKewon of the Omaha World-Herald noted, but what he could bring to the table is worth his commitment.
Lewis will graduate from the University of South Carolina in May. According to Todderick Hunt of NJ.com, he plans to transfer to either Nebraska or Rutgers for his final season of eligibility. Rutgers may be closer to home for Lewis (he's originally from Hammonton, New Jersey), but Riley and his staff are hoping Lewis sees the immediate playing time he could get with the Huskers.
What will matter most to Lewis as he makes a decision?
"A good fit, networking," said Lewis, per Hunt. "I'm trying to just come in and start, make plays on the defense with a good D-line and things like that. Just looking for a good coaching staff, people who will treat you right. People who've got your best interests at heart. Anything that's going to benefit me playing and taking a shot at the league, accomplishing my goals."
Linebackers coach Trent Bray has done all he can to convince Lewis. Now it's all on the 6'0", 228-pound linebacker to make a decision. Regardless, there's no denying he's on many Husker fans' wish lists for national signing day.
DE Alex Davis
Nebraska got one verbal commit from a defensive end. That's Omaha Central's Daishon Neal. However, the Huskers desperately need to find more defensive end recruits before national signing day.
A possible good fit? That would be Georgia Southern commit Alex Davis. He just received his offer, but the Huskers are hoping for a last-minute switch.
The 6'5", 220-pound Davis could make an immediate impact for the Blackshirts. Nebraska needs depth at defensive end, and Davis would provide that. Neal reaffirming his commitment was a good start, but defensive coordinator Mark Banker and defensive backs coach Charlton Warren are likely feeling the pressure to find additional guys.
How did Nebraska end up here? "A series of recruiting misses and slow-plays by the previous Husker staff left the new staff in this spot," Sam McKewon of the Omaha World-Herald wrote.
Alongside the linebacker position, the defensive end position is one that should be on every Husker fans' wish list for national signing day. Can the Huskers staff secure the much-needed commits, especially from guys like Davis? We'll know soon enough.
WR Lavan Alston
Mike Riley got 4-star wide receiver Lavan Alston to commit once. He just needs to do it again.
At 6'0" and 170 pounds, Alston has plenty of interest from many programs. One disadvantage for Nebraska is that Alston's relationship was strong with Oregon State's wide receiver coach, Brent Brennan. As Andrew Nemec of The Oregonian noted, "that relationship is one of the key reasons why Alston could become the first 4-star Beavers pledge in two years."
On the plus side, Alston did decommit after Riley's departure. That says something in the big scheme of things.
Huskers Illustrated's Mike Schaefer even made a point of putting Alston on his list of recruits who could commit next. Riley's relationship with Alston should help.
With little time left, will Alston officially commit and sign a letter of intent? Riley has as good of a chance of any to make it happen, and it would be great for the future of Nebraska's wide receiver position.
TE Matt Snyder
Michigan's new head coach, Jim Harbaugh, likes a lot of Nebraska's recruits. In fact, he likes them so much he's been doing his best to steal them away. One of those players is tight end Matt Snyder.
Curious what 6'5", 245-pound Snyder can bring to the table for the Huskers? Just watch his highlights (via Hudl), and you'll get a good idea pretty quickly.
It's obvious why Harbaugh would be interested in Snyder. It's also obvious why the interest goes the other way.
"He said he's running the same type of offense he ran at Stanford with the tight end," Snyder said, per Allen Trieu of The Detroit News. "He talked about the tight ends he sent to the NFL and how he's trying to build up a tight end army again. That's very intriguing and good thing to hear."
The Huskers could use a good tight end, so this should be an interesting one to watch play out. Could Michigan steal Snyder away? The Wolverines absolutely could. As of now, Snyder is still committed to Nebraska, but it's hard to tell if it will remain that way.
Nebraska fans better keep this one on the wish list because it looks like it's one that could come down to the wire.
QB T.J. Green
T.J. Green has lived in his father's shadow for a long time. The quarterback for Rockhurst in Kansas City is hoping to change that, though.
At 6'1" and 185 pounds, there's not a lot on Green. His profile on 247Sports is even pretty bare. Nebraska doesn't see that as a reason to overlook the quarterback.
On top of that, McKewon pointed out that Green also boasts a 4.21 grade-point average. For the Huskers, academics are just as important as talent on the football field, so Green earns bonus points for that.
The Huskers want Green as a walk-on for the 2015 class. He'll make his decision over a grayshirt from Wake Forest and a walk-on spot with Stanford, as McKewon noted.
Snagging Green would be a huge benefit for the Huskers. While there's likely going to be a battle for the starting quarterback role this spring, Green could still make an impact. Especially in a couple of years, Green could emerge from the shadows at Nebraska.
That would likely make his father, former Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Trent Green, and Husker fans happy. With all of that said, he's definitely worth hoping for a commitment from on national signing day.