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 write often that attrition happens at every program in the country. I said yesterday in the notebook that it’s just a part of the game in college football now. Still, that doesn’t mean that what has happened at Nebraska is normal.
It was one thing when it was “Mike Riley recruits” leaving the program. That could be written off as players not fitting the new culture that Scott Frost was trying to build. There were good players that left during that initial exodus but it was fine. That’s because in theory Frost was entrusted to build the program in his image which would be better.
The attrition issues continued with Frost’s first recruiting class which was a transition class. 14 of the 25 players in that 2018 class did not finish their careers at Nebraska. It is not unreasonable to look at that and excuse it because transition classes are hard. They often have high attrition rates because the class has to be put together so quickly.
The 2019 recruiting class has held up nicely for Nebraska. Just one player, wide receiver Darien Chase, left the program early. Things appeared to be trending in the right direction for the Huskers. Then whatever is going on with the 2020 recruiting class started happening.
Nebraska has lost five players already from the 2020 recruiting class. That class was rated as the 20th best class in the country and fourth-best in the Big Ten by 247Sports. Four of the five players were four-star prospects. All five are from Florida. Wide receiver Marcus Fleming became the most recent when Frost confirmed the news on Monday.
“Marcus, we wish him the best, he’s not going to be on the team anymore,” Frost said. “We’ll move on and I feel good about that position where it is.”
Frost spoke about the difficulty in building the culture based on tough love.
“As far as departures and things like that, first of all, we have to make sure that we were recruiting the right kids, not just the right athletes,” Frost said. “We have to make sure that we’re going to recruit type kid that’s going to flourish in Nebraska. And I think certain kids are going to come here and assimilate and love it. Maybe there’s a few others that wouldn’t.”
Frost has experience with transferring during college, too. The former Nebraska quarterback began his career at Stanford and understands it’s not unusual for transfers to occur. It has been a tough year for everyone including college athletes who are away from home for the first time. Yet the impact of COVID-19 doesn’t fully explain what is happening with Nebraska. It would be a mistake for Frost and his staff to brush off the five players leaving as the effects of the pandemic. Leaving before finishing a full year on campus is abnormal.
There needs to be some type an evaluation of what has happened to create these situations. Players from several recruiting classes no longer fitting into the program is a problem. The end result on the field of all this is that you have glaring holes in your roster. It’s difficult to build a team with constant turnover.
Nebraska is going to need a deep dive on how to fix some of the issues that have led to this point. Attrition and on the field results have not been up to par. We are seeing some growing pains in the program currently that can be cleaned up with hard work.
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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.