Overall Class Rating: (B+) They are still addressing quantity at the 11th hour, and the Tevin Mitchell defection stings worse than anyone wants to admit, but this class still started out like gangbusters and should be considered a national top-10.
Top 5 Recruits
Charles Jackson: No. 6 CB, No. 100 overall
Tyler Moore: No. 5 OT, No. 67 overall
Bubba Starling: No. 6 QB, No. 119 overall
Jamal Turner: No. 7 QB, No. 140 overall
Aaron Green: No. 8 RB, No. 61 overall
Most Likely Early Contributors:
Mauro Bondi: Kicker. We have an opening. And he has a 62-yarder under his belt in camp. Feeling sorry for this kid -- every NU kicker for the next 25 years minimum will be considered a disappointment.
Daimion Stafford: Witness Yoshi Hardrick -- JC recruits are expected to contribute quickly.
Aaron Green: Would really like to spend a year bulking him up, but Roy Helu's graduation and some continued academic problems may speed him to the field.
Top Class Sleeper
Ameer Abdullah is the popular pick, having made a Rivals sleeper list or two, but I'm going to go with Taariq Allen here. Why? Two reasons.
No. 1: Supply and demand. The performance from this position has been spotty at best, and the recruits aren't exactly lining up.
No. 2: In Bo Pelini I trust. I'm thinking of Quincy Enunwa here, not exactly hotly pursued by others, but we saw something and he ended up seeing time as a true freshman last year. Pelini also felt strongly enough that he took a visit to Massachusetts in December to nail it down. And we have to play someone besides Brandon Kinnie and Enunwa next year. Right?
On the other hand, I could be waaaaaaaay off here.
I was going to go with David Santos back around October, but for a change the recruiting community actually caught on to a kid exploding his senior year. He's a sleeper no more.
The One That Got Away
Braylon Heard's ACT. Okay, okay, I just wanted him here in the spring.
Tevin Mitchel is the one that stings. While I'm not that sure how a kid from Little Rock that spent life prior to his visit oblivious to the fact that Arkansas folk really dig their football would have done in the classroom, I can't mount up with other Husker recruitniks and act like he's no big loss.
That's a hole in the class that won't be plugged with similar quality.
The One That's Gonna Get Away
Bubba Starling. The Major League Baseball Draft is June 6th. The last day to sign players with college eligibility is August 15th. He will actually draw some raves for a couple of weeks of fall practice before leaving with his millions.
Zach Sterup has all the physical tools, but I'm not going to be sold on a Class C-1 athlete until I see it. He is in need of bulking up and will be dealing with a huge jump in competition. Not saying that the potential isn't there; I'm just not sure that four stars were justified.
Strongest Position Group
Probably addressed the biggest need -- the offensive line. Four Rivals four-star guys, including Tyler Moore (No. 5 at his position), Ryne Reeves (No. 4), Ryan Klachko (No. 12), and Zach Sterup (No. 26), as well as Price, easily makes this position the cream of the crop. Well, in my mind, anyway.
A case can be made for QB with Starling and Turner, the 6th & 7th ranked dual-threat QB's, but I still put the chance of Starling ever suiting up for a game at less than 10%.
Weakest Position Group
WR and TE. Not much happening at defensive line recruiting, but that's a fairly deep position. Receiver recruiting has just been brutal. There are obviously some major openings at WR and the TE position, which appeared so deep just a year ago and is now basically down to a two-man show. And they're in the same class.
WR was a disappointing position to the point that it cost us a game single-handedly against the last-place team from the South Division. The WR coach is also the recruiting coordinator and we managed to land one three-star WR from Massachusetts and no tight ends, barring late additions.
Very, very disappointing.
This recruiting season had Nebraska coming out strong early and then tapering off at the end of the year. Much like the team itself.
The middle and end of the year has been more notable by who we lost than who we gained. However, we did see the recent additions of Mauro Bondi (huge need filled by a big leg), Joseph Carter (shores up a thin D-Line class) and Ameer Abdullah (very undersized but if he can survive... well, I'm shushing that voice that keeps saying Mario Mendoza).
As noted above, receiver is glaring area of failure and there's no help coming unless a complete shocker emerges.
Did class address needs?
For the most part, yes. QB, RB, O-line? Check. LB, DB? Check. WR? No. D-line? So-so, but see below.
Signing Day Surprise Wish List:
To quote Rick Pitino, Brion Carnes and Corey Cooper aren't coming through that door this year. Our wish list is simple:
Todd Peat, Jr.
If we add him, the D-line portion of the class suddenly becomes top-notch. Keeon Virgile would be nice, but we are still pretty well stocked at LB, and David Santos is going to be a monster.
It appears that our finish may have hurt us a bit with a few people -- okay, so I only that read that about Niklas Sade, and who really cares what a kicker thinks? Honestly, outside of the rare guy like Alex Henery, most players want to duct tape these guys to goal posts and -
Alright, I'm rambling. Some people are going to consider this class disappointing mainly due to its fast start in the top 10. Compared to the other top-10 classes, Nebraska's was relatively light on numbers, and everyone was just waiting for us to blast into the top five.
Didn't happen, but this class is still high on talent (the Huskers' current star average of 3.5 per player is 10th in the country and basically even with classes three through nine) and quality. Most any school would have taken any of our top five -- check their offer lists.