With the upcoming suspension of Myles Farmer at safety, interim head coach Mickey Joseph said it’s likely Phalen Sanford will start for Nebraska against No. 3 Michigan. The former walk-on from Dundy County-Stratton is now starting for the Huskers at the Big House.
It’s a testament to Sanford’s work ethic and drive. It could also be an indictment of player recruitment and retention, or lack there of, at certain spots.
Joseph said when he goes out on the recruiting trail he’ll go after a junior college player thinking they’ll start. It’s like free agency in the NFL. But recruiting kids out of high school is a more long-term project.
“When I take a high school kid you’re going to think I’m going to develop him in two years and that’s the big thing,” Joseph said at the podium Tuesday. “Once you recruit them you’ve got to keep them in your program. You’ve got to keep them here.
“It goes back to recruiting, it also goes back to when we get them here you’ve got to develop them.”
He pointed at the various sixth-year, even seventh-year seniors across the Big Ten. They stayed and developed because of redshirts and COVID eligibility waivers. Now they’ve become beneficiaries of patience.
Nebraska’s current roster lists 14 seniors. Only three of them (Caleb Tannor, Broc Bando and Trent Hixson) played all their collegiate seasons at Nebraska. The other 11 transferred at least once.
Nebraska recently offered 3-star Louisiana prospect Dylan Carpenter, a defensive lineman out of Saint Amant. It might have been a case of unfortunate timing for the Huskers. Carpenter committed to Louisiana, the Ragin’ Cajuns, earlier in the season but received a scholarship offer from LSU over the weekend. Nebraska’s offer came the same day as the LSU offer and the same day Carpenter flipped his commitment to the Tigers.
Carpenter is the latest in a line of Louisiana recruits Nebraska’s gone after. The Huskers started recruiting running back Arnold Barnes shortly after Joseph took over as interim head coach and secured his commitment on November 1. Receiver Omarion Miller also committed to Nebraska in the summer.
Nebraska is currently ranked No. 33 in the latest Rivals recruiting rankings. The Huskers could still gain signings of 3-star offensive lineman Jr Sia (Utah), 3-star cornerback Ryan Robinson Jr. (Louisiana) and 3-star lineman Mason Goldman (Gretna). Nebraska also remains in the running for 3-star running back Sergio Snider out of Texas and 4-star edge Cameron Lenhardt at IMG Academy, who decommitted from Nebraska after former defensive coordinator Erik Chinander was fired.
December 23 is the final deadline of the early signing period. After that, recruits can sign as soon as February 1 as the official signing window opens.
>> Nebraska’s quarterback forecast remains unclear to start the week. Joseph said Wednesday’s practice would be the deadline if Casey Thompson will be available. If not Thompson, Joseph said he’ll compare Logan Smothers’ and Chubba Purdy’s body of work from the practice week.
>> The Nebraska women’s basketball team hit ridiculous record offensive numbers in the season-opening win over Omaha.
>> Sam Griesel’s strong second half in his debut helped Nebraska pull away from Maine in Monday’s season opener.