Last weekend, Nebraska hosted a big official visitor weekend with many of its top defensive prospects on campus. One particular position that has eluded Nebraska in recent years is a blue-chip, hybrid outside linebacker. A player that certainly could fill that void is 4-star Caleb Tannor from Lithonia, Georgia.
Nebraska offered the Miller Grove High School standout over the dead period. His recruitment basically started over after leaving the Georgia class in November. So, because of the dead period, Tannor has had to get to know many staffs in short order to make an informed decision on where he wants to attend college. Tannor’s coach at Miller Grove High School, Justin Larmond, accompanied Tannor and his mother to Lincoln. I spoke with Larmond to get a sense of how the visit went.
“The visit well really well," he said. "I think me, personally, I didn’t know anything, [Tannor] didn’t know anything, we just knew the tradition of Nebraska and Scott Frost. That was about it. The facilities, the rest of the staff, the support that the football program has was really good. I think that and just knowing that the support was there really swung things around in Nebraska’s way. Mom really liked the academic support part of it. They did a great job presenting it. Hats off to them, that was a real sticking point for her.”
One thing that will be very important in Tannor’s recruitment is building relationship in short order. He doesn’t have a lot of time before a decision needs to be made, so first impressions can be key.
“I don’t think I had met any of [the coaches] in person," Larmond said. "I met them all this weekend. It was really good. Everyone was as advertised. They have a personable staff, you can sit down and talk to them. They seem like men of good character.”
As previously mentioned, Nebraska is in desperate need of a player with Tannor’s skill set. He is being recruited by teams as a 4-3 rush end and a 3-4 hybrid outside linebacker. Larmond thinks either role would suit him well.
“He could play either position. He could excel putting his hand in the dirt at DE. He could play that outside linebacker rush type. I think what Nebraska does in their 3-4, they are recruiting him at that outside linebacker spot. He could do great things at that position.”
I was curious to find out the perspective from a coach when on an official visit. There is a different lens you view things through when schools are pitching to a player you are coaching so I asked Larmond about that.
“You definitely have a different view of things. All the big schools have similar stuff," he said. "So, what are some of the little things that make this school different than the next school. What schools suits the player more, whether that be on the field or off the field? If that’s the coaches, the campus or students. The little things that I feel like will help my player out, to be the most successful he can be on and off the field. That’s what I’m looking at.”
According to Larmond, there were several things that stood out the most about the visit. Something he made sure to note, was the high level of respect they all had for Frost and his staff for sticking with UCF through their bowl game.
“The academic support is really good," Larmond said. "The strength and conditioning coach [Zach Duval], I think he was phenomenal. He did a great presentation. He did some things that I had never heard at other schools. The staff, I respect what Scott Frost did. The fact that he stayed and finished the season, working two jobs for a little while. He finished with those kids so we had a lot of respect for him and his staff going into the visit and they did not disappoint. Those things really stood out to us. “
Now of course, every recruiter in America wants to win over mom. I wasn’t able to speak with Tannor’s mother, but Larmond was able to share his thoughts on what she told him.
“Mom liked it. Like I said, she didn’t really have expectations. She had been to some schools down here near us. She hadn’t been anywhere that far. It was a little far for her, but she was pleasantly surprised in a positive way. She definitely liked everything they had to offer.”
Distance always comes up but Larmond did say that Tannor will have to weigh whether or not the campus, coaching staff, football program and academic side of it outweigh being far from home. Tannor is scheduled to visit Ole Miss this coming weekend but they are still trying to figure out where his final visits will be.
Nebraska getting the first visit could go a long way.
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.