Nebraska football fans have been watching the 2015 class take shape as national signing day on February 4 approaches. Currently, the class sits at 14 and is ranked No. 36 nationally and No. 5 in the Big Ten by 247Sports. New Nebraska head coach Mike Riley is working hard to get his first class in Lincoln filled.
While the ranking is alarmingly low, the small number of commits (no school ahead of Nebraska has fewer than 16) should help boost the number by the end of the process. But what shouldn’t be lost in the worry about the overall ranking is the quality of prospects already in the class. Here are three that haven’t received the attention they deserve.
Daishon Neal (Defensive End, 6'7", 250 pounds, 3-star, 89 247Sports rating)
It might not be entirely fair to list Neal here, as there has been much real and virtual ink spilled about Neal’s flirting with other programs (such as this article from Sam McKewon of the Omaha World-Herald discussing Michigan’s overtures to Neal).
But it’s big news for a reason. Check out this scholarship distribution chart done by the Omaha World-Herald, a phenomenal resource you should have bookmarked. After 2015, Nebraska will only have three (!) scholarship defensive ends. Other than Neal, Nebraska only has one defensive end commit in Carlos Davis (3-star, 89 247Sports rating), so a second defensive end commit is a must-have for NU to fill out its class.
The down-to-the-wire chasing of recruits happens every year, but given Nebraska’s lack of depth at the position and how slim the pickings are if Neal decommits, it’s almost hard to overstate the importance of Neal for this class.
Jalin Barnett (Offensive Guard, 6'4", 315 pounds, 4-star, 92 247Sports rating)
Why is the second-highest rated prospect in Nebraska’s 2015 class considered underrated? Well, it’s not because we don’t know about his skills and how he projects at the next level.
What’s underrated about Barnett, at least to this point, is when he was signed. Barnett wasn’t a Bo Pelini recruit whom Riley has held onto. Barnett signed for Riley, not for Pelini, a sign that the man from Corvalis, Oregon, is able to convince top-flight talent to come to Lincoln.
Whether a flow of 4-stars to Lincoln under Riley will continue is a question that will be answered in part this February and in more detail with next year’s class. But the fact that Riley was able to land one so quickly after taking charge bodes well for his future.
Stanley Morgan (Wide Receiver, 6'0", 185 pounds, 3-star, 87 247Sports rating)
Nebraska’s senior-laden defensive end class has been well documented, but less attention has been paid to 30 percent of NU’s scholarship wide receivers being seniors in 2015. After this year, though, Nebraska will be down to seven scholarship wide receivers, two of them (Alonzo Moore and Brandon Reilly) having a history of injuries.
Which makes having just one wide receiver in the 2015 class (at least to this point) a bit of a gamble. Morgan looks to be a good addition to Nebraska’s wide receiving corps, with the potential to fight for playing time right away. But given Nebraska’s impending lack of depth at wide receiver, coupled with a likely shift to more of a passing attack under Riley, Morgan’s addition to the class becomes incredibly important.
All measurables and rankings from 247Sports.
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