A Nebraska hat showed up four times at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio on Saturday. That alone was somewhat unique. Too often in recent years the Huskers weren’t even on the table, literally in this case, for the top football recruits in the country.
This year Nebraska was, but the end result was the same. Four All-Americans — 4-star wide receiver Jamire Calvin, 4-star offensive lineman Chuck Filiaga, 4-star cornerback Darnay Holmes and 5-star offensive lineman Foster Sarell — all opted to play their football some place other than Lincoln.
The Filiaga (Michigan) and Holmes (UCLA) picks were not total shocks. Nebraska made the final three for Filiaga, but it always seemed like the Huskers were third. Holmes, who played high school football with Nebraska commits quarterback Tristan Gebbia and wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson Jr., was one of the Huskers’ top targets. Nebraska put a ton of time into recruiting him, but it seemed apparent in recent weeks that the Huskers were on the outside looking in with him, too.
Calvin’s pick of Oregon State did come as a shock. He seemed like the prospect most likely to pick Nebraska, but said on the telecast that he had a late change of heart. The Huskers have now lost two 4-star wide receivers to Mike Riley’s former school with Isaiah Hodgins picking the Beavers over Nebraska in November.
Nebraska’s staff felt like it had a good shot at Sarell, the top recruit in the country according to some, heading into the recruiting dead period that began in mid-December. It devoted a lot of resources to his recruitment and that kept the Huskers in the race, but Sarell committed to Stanford.
Three other players with Nebraska offers played in the game: 4-star athlete Greg Johnson, 4-star cornerback Deommodore Lenoir and 4-star wide receiver Joseph Lewis, all of California. Those three are expected to announce their decisions closer to signing day.
The Huskers head into the final weeks of the 2017 recruiting cycle with 15 commitments for this class and a lot of work left to do before signing day on Feb. 1.