It's neck-and-neck right now between Nebraska's scholarship class and its preferred walk-on class with one day to go before signing day. When Elkhorn South running back Moses Bryant – one of the best playmakers in the state – announced his intention to join the program he became the 19th preferred walk-on.
There is no place like Nebraska!🔴🌽 #GBR #allN pic.twitter.com/b6vsmdhTW4
— MOMO🦍 (@mosesbbryant) February 5, 2018
Nebraska's scholarship-recruit total is expected to increase on Wednesday, maybe to include as many as 27 players, so it will eventually outpace the walk-on class. But nobody is going to complain about what essentially amounts to a second recruiting class full of some of the best players in the state. With murmurs that a few more players could join the Huskers as preferred walk-ons, that class might end up north of 20, too.
For comparison, Mike Riley's three scholarship classes included 20, 21 and 20 players. According to Nebraska's signing-day releases, Riley took nine preferred walk-ons each cycle (additional walk-ons may have joined after signing day). Under the previous signing-day rules, the NCAA also used to cap the number of walk-ons who could be announced that day at 18, so the numbers are a little flexible here when we get into the Bo Pelini era, but he was a fan of taking larger classes.
In 2008, 2012 and 2014 the Huskers announced a full class of 18 preferred walk-ons. The 2008 class, Pelini's first, was the largest combined group (46 total players) in the last 10 years at Nebraska. The 2014 class included 42 players, scholarship and walk-on.
Here are the yearly totals going back to 2008:
Scott Frost's first combined class has a chance to hit 46 if everything breaks the Huskers' way on Wednesday. Whether it gets there or not doesn't much matter, but when the walk-on numbers get up in the high teens you really start to see the potential advantage it can be for the Huskers. When you run down the list of names on those previous walk-on classes you see some great players, some solid contributors and some who never dented the depth chart.
In that way it's no different than the scholarship class Nebraska will finish off tomorrow, and that remains a not insignificant edge for the Huskers. Particularly for a period of "regime-change," and especially when that group includes players like Bryant, Kearney quarterback Matt Masker and Lincoln wide receiver Justin Holm (to name just a few).
The Grab Bag
- The Knight Commission recommended that the College Football Playoff set aside a portion of its revenue for player-safety and diversity-in-hiring initiatives, which the NCAA already does. The CFP board rejected that proposal.
- Why has North Carolina basketball been immune to the transfer outbreak in college hoops? Intersting story from Joe Giglio of The Herald-Sun.
- Don't look now, but Alabama probably isn't going to sign the top class in the country.
- ICYMI: Jordan Westerkamp is taking his talents to Toronto to play for the Argonauts.
Today's Song of Today
Brandon is the Managing Editor for Hail Varsity and has covered Nebraska athletics for the magazine and web since 2012, Hail Varsity’s first season on the scene. His sports writing has also been featured by Fox Sports, The Guardian and CBS Sports.