College Football Recruiting 101

Here is an update on recruiting from rivals.com and scout.com on a few Big 12 teams. I’m not hitting the panic button quite yet, but I am starting to get just a little antsy. The most alarming thing about all of this is the fact that we are getting out-recruited by Kansas and Missouri at this point – and it’s not looking like it is going to change. If both of these programs continue to win, it is going to be painfully difficult to get recruits out of places where they were once almost automatic for us.

The biggest question is where to even start. You’re out of your mind if you think we are going to Texas, California, or Florida and plucking out 4 and 5 star recruits when we need the next Tommie Frazier or Lawrence Phillips. That was the talent that Osborne went 60-3 with in his last five years. Recruits from the south aren’t going to be passing on programs such as Texas, Oklahoma, USC, UCLA, Florida, Florida State, LSU, or Miami anytime soon. At this time, we are more likely to be competing with schools like South Florida, Texas Tech, and Fresno State for the best of the rest. What we need to have happen is to strike gold on one player and then have others follow. A guy like Cody Green (4 star QB from Dayton, TX who has us at the top of his list) could be one to help, but then again I don’t see others following the #10 ranked dual threat QB by rivals across the country to Nebraska.

Anyways, here are the current classes of Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas for a quick comparison.

Nebraska

5 commits with four ‘3’ star recruits and one no star.

Kansas

11 commits with one ‘4’ star recruit, 7 ‘3’ star recruits, and three no stars.

Missouri

11 commits with one ‘4’ star recruit, 9 ‘3’ star recruits, and one no star.

Oklahoma

15 commits with four ‘4’ star recruits and 11 ‘3’ star recruits.

Texas

19 commits with one ‘5’ star, 11 ‘4’ stars, and 7 ‘3’ star recruits.

The fact of the matter is, when you look at the talent Texas and Oklahoma already have, it’s almost not fair. You can have a Super Bowl caliber coaching staff but it’s not going to matter when you are putting fullbacks from an Omaha Catholic high school out there against blue chips from Texas. Talent matters. Unfortunately, the internet isn’t helping teams like Nebraska that already have little to no talent to choose from. With the introduction of rivals.com and scout.com, it is impossible for any player to go unnoticed. It is also impossible for a player not to be well informed about the schools that recruit him.

Another thing you have to look at is that rookie coaches face an uphill battle already when other coaches can sit a kid down and ask them why you would want to go play for someone with no head coaching experience. Furthermore, when you have the argument that you already have a BCS Bowl caliber program established it’s not going to help us. And obviously, whether you want to think about this or not, our program is down.

Like I said, I am not panicking this early, but I’d be lying if I said I’m not worried. Unfortunately, most of that worrying is coming from Tom Osborne. Reestablishing the walk-on program is the least of my worries. I am hoping he knows it is 2008 and driving to places like West Point, NE to sign kids like Micah Kreikemeier is not exactly the same as flying to Pennsylvania to sign kids like Terrelle Pryor. Even worse, Bo Pelini hasn’t done either.

DT, who has given us some of the most insightful commentary (and lengthy commentary :)), recently provided us some great info on recruiting. This info from ‘darthhusker’ he gave us says it all. Osborne and his staff might have developed talent, but he surely didn’t start with scrubs. Check out our recruiting classes (’85-’96) from darthhusker’s site.

Look at these recruits below and their stars (in the pre-era of the internet recruiting services) and then decide on the importance of 4 and 5 star recruits.

Derek Brown: Rated #1 “speed” Back by Max Emfinger (5*)
Will Shields: Top 13 OG by Super Prep (4*)
Trev Alberts: #33 ILB by Emfinger (3*)
Johnny Mitchell: #9 TE (4*)
Ed Stewart: #13 SS by Emfinger (4*)
Zach Wiegert: #67 OL by Lemming (3*)
Rob Zatechka: #20 OL (Lemming) #36 (Emfinger) (3-4*)
Brendan Stai: #39 OG by Emfinger (3*)
Donta Jones: #16 OLB (4*)
Calvin Jones: USA Today/Parade AA (5*)
Corey Dixon: #5 WB by Emfinger (4*)
Tony Veland: #20 Midlands player (Emfinger)(4*)
Abdul Muhammed: All-West (Lemming) (4*)
Clester Johnson: #8 run/pass QB (Emfinger) (4*)
Aaron Grahm: All-state TX (3*)
Dewayne Harris: #10 DE by Lemming (4*)
Phil Ellis: #6 MLB by Emfinger (4*)
Doug Coleman: 1990 NJ Defensive POY (4*)
Tyrone Williams: All-state, FLA (3*)
Mike Minter: All-state, OK (3*)
Tommie Frazier: Prep Star All-American (4*)
Damon Benning/Clinton Childs: All-State NE (2-3*)
Jon Zatechka: Super Prep All-American (4*)
Aaron Taylor: 3rd Team All-state TX (2-3*)
Lawrence Phillips: All-American, #1 RB in West (5*)
Jason Peter: All-American (4*)
Eric Anderson: USA Today All-American (5*)
Grant Wistrom: AA-USA Today/Superprep (5*)
Shevin Wiggins: Florida Player of the Year (4*)
Mike Rucker: All-state, MO (2-3*)
Eric Warfield: All-State, AR (2-3*)
Jay Forman: Superprep All-American (4*)
Sheldon Jackson: Best in the West (4*)
James Sherman: California lineman of the year (4*)
Tony Ortiz: Parade/Superprep/USA Today AA (5*)
Chad Kelsay: All-state, NE (2*)
Adam Julch: All-state, NE (2*)
Eric Johnson: All-State, AZ (3*)
Julius Jackson: Super Prep All-American (4*)
Ahman Green: USA Today/Super Prep AA (5*)
Terrell Farley: JUCO All-American (4-5*)
Kris Brown: All-state, TX (3*)
TJ DeBates: Superprep All-American (4*)
Frankie London: Superprep All-American (4*)
Steve Warren: Superprep All-American (4*)
Carlos Polk: 2nd Team USA Today AA (4*)
Willie Miller: Offensive POY-Super Prep (5*)
Russ Hochstein: All-state, NE (2*)
John Gibson: Super Prep All-American (4*)
Clint Finley: Nat. Recruit. Advisor All-American (4*)
Deangelo Evans: USA Today/Superprep/NRA AA (5*)
Ralph Brown: Parade/Super Prep/NRA AA (5*)
Mike Brown: Super Prep/NRA AA (5*)
Dan Alexander: Super Prep/NRA AA (5*)

Anytime anyone wants to argue that landing big recruits doesn’t matter, I’ll happily sit down and get bombed up with you.

Of course there was some coaching and developing involved, but don’t let anyone fool you. We didn’t just take mediocre recruits in and make a dynasty. We brought in great recruits and made a dynasty.

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