Immediate Reaction: National Signing Day Press Conference
Photo Credit: Aaron Babcock

Hot Reads: Huskers Need Some Momentum on Recruiting Trail

December 19, 2016

Nebraska lost its second commit in the 2017 class over the weekend with the decommitment of Oklahoma tight end Reese Leitao. It’s officially that time of year as this was the Huskers’ second decommitment in a week.

Unlike Robert Porcher IV’s change of heart, which seemed largely out of Nebraska’s hands, the Leitao switch should sting a little more as it looks like the Huskers simply got trumped. Leitao was a Nebraska commit, then a Oklahoma offer and Texas visit happened, and now Leitao is not a Nebraska commit.

The defection leaves Nebraska’s class at 13, which is tied with Illinois for the fewest in the Big Ten as of today. The Huskers’ class rankings have also taken a dip, not just from the defections but from other schools adding to their classes. What was once trending towards a top-15 class now looks pretty similar rankings-wise to many of the Huskers’ previous classes since joining the Big Ten.

The good news for Husker fans: With just 13 commits, there is still about 40 percent of this class to fill, so lots of opportunity to move up. Nebraska is still in on some big-time, class-changing recruits. Land a couple of those and the conversation that’s going on today will quickly become a distant memory.

The bad news: There is still about 40 percent of the class to fill, so a lot of work to be done. Maybe a couple of those high-profile players decide to go elsewhere. Nebraska, in what will feel pretty familiar from previous years, will be left with a lot of spots to fill from an ever dwindling pool of candidates and about a month to do it. Not ideal.

The Huskers could use a commit in the worst way, but if it comes in the next few days it will be a surprise. Jacksonville, Florida, cornerback Quran Hafiz was scheduled to announce today and seemed to be a Nebraska lean, but that has become a situation that requires more time as Hafiz was on a recruiting visit to Minnesota the weekend of the sexual assault claim that has led to 10 suspensions.

It’s possible the Huskers will get a Christmas gift as Muskegon, Michigan, linebacker Andrew Ward is scheduled to announce on Christmas Day. Will that be the one that snaps a three-month run without a verbal commitment?

We’ll see, but Nebraska could really use a win on the recruiting trail.

Major Awards

Nebraska announced its team awards yesterday. Erin Sorensen has the full run down here, but the ones I always take the most interest in are the scout-team awards.

On defense, linebacker Pernell Jefferson and defensive end Collin Miller, both true freshmen, shared the defensive scout-team MVP award. On offense it went to Tulane-transfer quarterback Tanner Lee and true freshman wide receiver JD Spielman.

If you’re just eyeballing the 2017 season, those are four pretty important positions. Nebraska needs a quarterback, of course, and there are spots to fill at wide receiver. There is also playing time to be had at linebacker and across the defensive line. So, if you had to pick four positions at which to have scout-team MVPs, the four that had them would all probably be near the top of the list.

The only one that’s not there is offensive line, but the early reports on Boe Wilson, Matt Farniok and John Raridon have all been glowing, so it seems like there’s plenty of promise there as well.

The Grab Bag

  • Music City Bowl tickets are among the most expensive this bowl season.
  • Calabasas High football coach Casey Clausen, a former Vols quarterback, so there’s no conflict when it comes to who he’ll be rooting for in Nashville.
  • Rutgers is reportedly set to hire former Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill as its offensive coordinator.
  • Alabama has dipped into its coaching farm system, promoting Steve Sarkisian from “offensive analyst” to offensive coordinator.

Today’s Song of Today

We have 10 Hot Reads left in 2016, so I thought I’d use these last 10 songs of today to countdown my top 10 tracks from the year, not because I think anyone should or would care but just because I feel compelled to catalog such things.

  • Never miss the latest news from Hail Varsity!

    Join our free email list by signing up below.