Over the weekend, Nebraska hosted several targets for the annual Red-White Spring Game. All of the recruits, their families and coaches got to enjoy the day at Memorial Stadium in front of 86,000-plus Husker fans. Fort Scott Community College had players and coaches that made the trip to Lincoln from Kansas. If Fort Scott sounds familiar, it’s because former Huskers Lavonte David, Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Jermarcus “Yoshi” Hardrick and Brandon Kinnie all went there.
I spoke with Robert Cox, one of Fort Scott’s coaches who made the trip, to get an idea of how things went for the group. The trek to Lincoln began at 4 a.m. CT on Saturday morning and included quite a few players that Nebraska is interested in.
The players that are Huskers are currently recruiting are:
- Offensive lineman Toryque Bateman
- Defensive back Kishawn Kelley
- Defensive back Brian Roberts
- Defensive back Dennis Barnes
- Defensive lineman Jaquan Green
Bateman is an intriguing offensive lineman that stands at 6-foot-6 and 300 pounds. He was hoping to pick up an offer last weekend when he spoke with running backs coach Ryan Held. While he didn’t end up getting the offer then, Cox thinks it could come sooner rather than later.
Fort Scott also has a trio of defensive backs—Kishawn Kelley, Brian Roberts and Dennis Barnes—who have talked a little with Nebraska. However, there is one player that Cox is really hoping Nebraska takes a closer look at.
“The one that I’m really looking forward to is Jaquan Green,” Cox said. “He’s a 260-pound defensive end for us. He’s a hard-working kid so far. He was a little shy to visit just because it’s such a new thing for him. We went over and talked to Coach [Tony] Tuioti for a little bit and I hope good things come out of that for him too. Obviously getting an opportunity to play at a school like Nebraska isn’t something that happens for everybody. The more communication he can have [with Nebraska], it’s great for him to see that’s a stage you should want to get to.”
Cox has been a Husker fan his entire life, so it wasn’t that big of a surprise for him that the stadium was packed during his first spring game experience. He was also happy to share what he called an “experience unlike anything else in the country” with his players.
“To see the smiles on the kids’ faces was awesome for me,’ Cox said. “I love that university already but to see kids that I care about experience that opportunity, it’s an unbelievable experience. There is no fan base in the country like Nebraska’s. I think the kids realized that [Saturday]. We have players from all over the country. Their hometown schools, none of them do it like Nebraska. It was cool that they could see coming to the Midwest, you can have experiences like that. There is such an incredible amount of history and tradition there. You truly couldn’t ask for a better experience.”
Recruiting in general is all about relationships but that seems to matter even more with junior college recruiting. Nebraska has a good start with Fort Scott thanks to Cox’s relationship with Held.
“Coach Held is a great guy,” Cox said. “I was playing at Dodge City when he was Highlands’ head coach so we first met there. I’ve never had a bad experience with him. He’s got the dream job to me since I’m a Nebraska fan. He’s a great guy and not only a great person and coach but a great recruiter as well. He knows how to relate to people and make their experience great. He focuses on each person individually instead of recruiting them collectively. He takes the time to get to know people to show them the best that Nebraska has to offer.”
Cox even changed his profile picture on Twitter to him and Held from when the Nebraska coach paid Fort Scott a visit this week. Those relationships are crucial for finding hiddem gems in the JUCO world. They most recently helped Nebraska get good intel on new commit Jahkeem Green from Highland Community College.
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.