Recruiting never stops and it's easy to miss the top stories day-to-day. Recruiting analyst Greg Smith recaps all things Nebraska recruiting news, analysis and more so you never miss a thing.
I am not Greg Smith. But I am taking over for him today. Sorry in advance.
The recruiting class rankings on platforms that provide such services are a mess. Or, depending on your choice of colors, straight out of a dreamscape.
Tennessee has the No. 2 class in America, according to the 247 Sports team rankings, with 21 high school prospects committed to play for Coach Jeremy Pruitt next season. RETURN OF THE MACK is in full swing as Mack Brown’s North Carolina rebuild sports the No. 3 class. Ohio State, Clemson, USC, Florida, the traditionalists atop these rankings in a normal year still have their places, but elsewhere in the top 25 is Minnesota (16 commits), Iowa (14), Maryland (13), and Rutgers (11).
What’s going on?
Pruitt and the Volunteers have earned 12 commitments since March 31 of this year. PJ Fleck’s boat has added 11 new rowers over that same time span. Ohio State is the only other school with more sheer bodies in its recruiting class than the Vols and Gophers and that class has been built in a more. . . normal way? Two commits since March 31.
Call it a panic, call it an overreaction, call it forward-thinking, call it whatever, but college football is experiencing a land run at the high school ranks like it hasn’t before.
A look into the exact numbers shows more high school prospects have committed so far in this cycle than they had by this point in the year during the previous two cycles combined. We’re approaching numbers that rival the last three years of combined spring/summer commits.
As of Monday morning, 758 high schoolers have at least verbally decided where they’re going to play football a year from now. As of May 6 a year ago, according to a 247 Sports report, 302 high schoolers had committed. As of May 6 two years ago, 243 had. Three years ago, there were 299.
USA TODAY’s Paul Myerberg found that nearly 300 of those kids belong to the 65 schools at the Power Five ranks and that 85% of those schools have added more than one commit since on-campus recruiting was suspended. Nebraska falls into that group, with three commits in the last two weeks.
There aren’t more spots this year. Despite Jim Harbaugh’s best efforts, the NCAA has yet to lift the 25-per-year cap on scholarship roster additions. Those spots are just being consumed at a blistering rate.
So, too, though, have coaches been hitting the virtual trail with fire. There’s nothing else to do.
“The time as a coach that you would spend preparing for practice, preparing for the meetings, watching film, you’ve not had that," Pruitt told Myerberg. "That’s really a month’s worth of work with your own team where there was nothing to do from that standpoint. So where do you spend your effort and time?”
There’s a chance all this, every process the sporting world (could probably lop off “sporting” from that and be fine) has been forced to re-evaluate, influences real and lasting change. Maybe technology is now the great equalizer for a school like Minnesota if you have the right person at the helm who knows how to harness it.
But no one is actually seeing each other. Coaches aren’t watching a quarterback with their own eyes, rather being restricted to the tape. No one can travel. Players are committing to a school before seeing what kind of home that school is going to be.
If and when restrictions are lifted, presumably sometime in the fall, players will leave classes because they visited another school and fell in love. Coaches will see things they don’t like and drop someone from a class. Alabama is going to get the chance to see the (insert smaller school here) commit in-person finally and then flip him.
The market corrected when the recruiting world went virtual. It’ll probably correct again when things open back up. That’s not to say every single player that made a surprise commitment (hello Avante Dickerson) is going to backtrack, just that anything and everything is seemingly on the table. The degree to which high school prospects have uncharacteristically snatched up spots this summer might forecast a similarly uncharacteristic fall.
>> 4-star tight end Dametrious Crownover (Grandview, TX) has Nebraska in his top-10.
>> Here’s incoming wideout Omar Manning doing Omar Manning stuff.
>> Nebraska has added a walk-on linebacker to its 2020 class, Drew Monin from Avon Old Farms in Connecticut, the same high school as current Husker defensive lineman Casey Rogers.
Monin has 351 career tackles to his name and 78 tackles for loss.
>> Nebraska's quarterback room is crowded, a philosophy that tests the current climate of quarterbacking in college football, but it should make that position stronger.
>> Jacob Padilla took a look at Ty Robinson's freshman tape. (Premium)
>> Brandon Vogel ran through some interesting weekend comments from NCAA President Mark Emmert.
Derek is a newbie on the Hail Varsity staff covering Husker athletics. In college, he was best known as ‘that guy from Twitter.’ He has covered a Sugar Bowl, a tennis national championship and almost everything in between (except an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game… *tears*). In his spare time, he can be found arguing with literally anyone about sports.