Coach Mike Riley met with the media on Wednesday, discussing Nebraska’s 2017 recruiting class. The Huskers ended with 20 signees, which is a little short of the original goal of 22. How did Riley feel the Huskers fared on National Signing Day? We’ve got a few immediate reactions from Riley’s press conference.
There’s Still Work to be Done
When it comes to the 500-mile radius surrounding Lincoln, Nebraska, Riley feels there’s room to grow for his staff. However, he likes what he saw as far as the various locations his staff went looking for talent.
“If I have a goal for next year it is to step up making sure all the ground in our radius thoroughly and then we’ll hit those spots that I think are going to be our identity,” Riley said. “We hit California. We hit Texas. We hit Florida. We got another kid from Louisiana. We got a kid from Oklahoma, so we spotted around and got some guys. Went up into Michigan and got a guy. First time ever, Nebraska [got a] Delaware guy… You know, that’s a good deal.”
John Parrella did a Terrific Job
This is a brief note, but it’s still worth mentioning. When looking at what Parrella was able to accomplish in the class (Damion Daniels, Deontre Thomas, Deiontae Watts and Guy Thomas all on scholarship), Riley was very pleased with what the defensive line coach was able to deliver for Nebraska.
“John Parrella did a terrific job,” Riley said. “[He got] a really great group of kids. Really excited about that group.”
Not Afraid to Shoot for the Moon
An early note about this class is that wide receivers coach Keith Williams fell short on his goal of five receivers. While Riley noted the Huskers didn’t quite hit the mark with numbers, he was clear that he still was happy with the group Nebraska got.
“I think we kind of hit our marks and kind of where we wanted to fill in guys,” Riley said. “Offensive line spots available. Wide receivers not quite but pretty close and probably OK because you probably don’t need four guys in a class at one spot anyway so I think that will be all right and we’ll save that for the recruitment for next year.”
Riley also noted he thought it was fine that Nebraska “shot our bullets at eight guys and there’s nothing wrong with that.” He also liked the push his staff made all the way up until the end.
“We’re after the right people,” Riley said. “We’re down to the last day. We got kind of half of that … Elijah Blades was one of those guys we got at the end and Tyjon Lindsey, same thing. Two pretty high profile recruits that chose Nebraska so we’re doing the right thing.”
He also noted the recruitment of Foster Sarell, who ultimately picked Stanford.
“We got down to the last two or three with him,” Riley said. “Had we known Stanford was his dream school since he was a little kid, maybe we wouldn’t have spent that much time on it but maybe would have because we always think we can win.”
Linemen and Cornerbacks are Gold
Riley admitted the Huskers did not get a lot of depth for linemen and cornerbacks in the class, but he’s confident that will change in 2018.
“Next year you’ll find a long list of defensive backs on signing day,” Riley said.
He also said Nebraska will take the right guys at lineman and cornerback, no matter the number. He noted both positions are as good as gold for a team.
Les Miles and Keyshawn Johnson Sr.
Riley did not know Les Miles prior to recruiting his son Ben Miles, but he enjoyed the opportunity to get to know him and his family.
“I’ve really been excited to get to know Les through this process,” Riley said. “I didn’t know him at all except for on TV and watching him coach. I really enjoyed the home visit. Very proud that family selected Nebraska. I think all of Nebraska should feel good about that with his experience in this business and that he would open the door for his son to come to a school says a lot about this school. I’m excited about that.”
Another big advocate of Nebraska now? Keyshawn Johnson Sr., who Riley had a previous relationship with. Regardless, Riley likes the support Johnson has shown Nebraska and believes it does nothing but benefit the program for the better.
“I saw Keyshawn Johnson on TV today with his Nebraska sweatshirt on. That’s all good stuff. It’s a good feel. That’s what we want to do. We want to create that momentum and that excitement and build it and do better.”
Erin is the Deputy Editor and Digital Marketing Strategist for Hail Varsity. She has covered Nebraska athletics since 2012, which has included stops at Bleacher Report, Cox Media Group’s Land of 10, and even Hail Varsity (previously from 2012-2017). She has also been featured on the Big Ten Network, NET’s Big Red Wrap-Up, and a varsity of radio shows nationwide. When not covering the Huskers, Erin is probably at Chipotle.