“He belonged to the dreaded equity department, the sleepy backwater in which lurked such career stoppers as Equities in Dallas.” — Michael Lewis, Liar’s Poker
None of the hotshot MBA’s in Michael Lewis’s 1989 memoir of Wall Street excess, Liar’s Poker, wanted to be relegated to trading equities. These were the nation’s best and brightest young financial minds and they all wanted to be bond traders. That’s where the action was, the big risk and big commissions, the glorified Gordan Gekko Wall Street . Equities weren’t a bad gig of course. (“They made a bit of money and had a few laughs, but not nearly so many as the bond men.”) But it wasn’t bonds and it wasn’t in New York City.
When it comes to recruiting, the SEC is the bond market of the late 1980s. Everybody else? There seems to be a sense among football’s best and brightest that it’s just “Equities in Dallas.” Nebraska experienced that on three different fronts this weekend, losing one commit for sure, another that looks likely, and one player who had the Huskers in the final mix. They all will likely end up in the SEC, where 37-percent of the players in the ESPN 150 say they are headed at the moment.
WALKER WALKS >>> The first Nebraska defection of the weekend was Orlando, Fla. wide receiver Dominic Walker. After getting playful with the choice on Twitter for a good week, and some allegations of negative recruiting, Walker finally decided to decommit from Nebraska and pledge to Auburn.
The Orlando Sentinel recounted Walker’s call to break the news to Bo Pelini:
Even his mom was afraid for him when he made the call to head coach Bo Pelini and his staff on Friday.
“It was a very tough decision. They were [mad]. They were very mad. But I thought I had to call them like a real man should,” Walker said. “But yeah, they were mad. Coach Pelini said, ‘Best of luck, you’re going to need it.’ ”
Wide receivers coach Rich Fisher also was in on the call.
“Coach Fisher said, ‘I can’t believe you,’ ” Walker said. “It was really awkward.”
He had prepared himself for the conversation but nothing really got him ready to face the music. But he did what he felt he had to do.
“At first I was scared to decommit because of what people might think about me since I decommitted from Vandy and then I’d be decommitting from Nebraska,” Walker said. “But I just gotta do what I gotta do and not worry about what people have to say. It’s my future.”
That last sentence, at least, is correct. It is Walker’s choice. Some are disappointed by Pelini’s response, others like it. The one thing it is not is surprising.
On to the next one. Such is the nature of recruiting.
HOTTY TODDY >>> One of the “next ones” at wide receivers came off the board over the weekend. He’s headed to the SEC too.
Cedar Hill, Texas wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo, who visited Lincoln a couple of weeks ago, committed to Ole Miss over the weekend:
— Quincy Adeboyejo (@QuincyA18) January 26, 2013
This one wasn’t a total surprise. Nebraska was always a bit of a longshot to land the one-time A&M commit, but it was thought he’d join new head coach (and former A&M OC) Kliff Kingsbury at Texas Tech. Instead, he heads to Oxford where the Rebels are red hot on the recruiting trail at the moment.
The Huskers don’t have to get a wide receiver in this class, but it would save a lot of headaches down the line for the Nebraska staff. The Huskers are still in on four-star prospect James Clark, and he’s also been to Lincoln for a visit, but he’s got his own offers to join the bond traders on the 41st floor that is the SEC.
The biggest recruiting loss, potentially, was still to come…
YOU BROKE MY HEART, MARROW >>> Cardinal Mooney safety Marcus McWilson had been a Nebraska commit since last February. That ended on Sunday.
McWilson, a four-star prospect, officially decommitted from Nebraska following a visit to Kentucky where long-time family friend and former Huskers’ graduate assistant Vince Marrow is now plying his trade.
“Officially decommitted from Nebraska. Not an emotional decision, doing what’s best for me,” McWilson said on Twitter.
Kentucky is reportedly the leader for McWilson now, though he hasn’t officially committed. The Nebraska staff will get a chance for an in-home visit this week, as will Kentucky, but what are the odds a player decommits this late in the game and then ends up with the school he decommitted from?
That hasn’t happened since, well, it almost happened last year with wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp. He flirted with Notre Dame and still ended up in Lincoln. But, he never officially “decommited.” Maybe it’s just semantics.
Assuming McWilson does end up in Lexington, and even removing Adeboyejo from the discussion, that would be two Nebraska commits lost to the allure of the SEC. Yes, those schools are closer to home in both cases, but I never buy that reason at face value. (When USC calls, players from anywhere in the country tend to listen.) The real selling point for most is the opportunity to play football in the SEC. To be the modern day bond traders of the college football economy.
That sells right now, even when the schools in question (Auburn and Kentucky) won zero conference games between them. In reality, Nebraska isn’t “Equities in Dallas” but reality matters less than perception, particularly when we’re talking about 18-year-olds. And the perception is that nothing can hold a candle to SEC football. That’s not an idea based totally in fantasy — seven straight national titles ring pretty loudly — but it’s always interesting when everyone’s rushing to get to the same spot.
And frequently dangerous if the lessons of “Liar’s Poker,” and the past 20 years of financial meltdowns for that matter, are to be believed.
The defections leave Nebraska with a class of 21 players presently. The staff has 11 days to fill as many as six spots in the 2013 class. Signing Day can’t come soon enough.