Mailbag: Recruiting
Photo Credit: Aaron Babcock

Mailbag: Recruiting, Positional Improvement and Top Games in 2018

January 18, 2018

It's a loaded mailbag this week as Brandon Vogel, Greg Smith, Jacob Padilla and Derek Peterson answer your questions on Husker recruiting, positional improvement and marquee 2018 matchups.

Assuming Frost signs 22-23 kids and a similar mix of 3*-4* .  Where does the team rank? (@Mobilfarmersmkt)

GS: If that ends up being the case Nebraska should finish ranked around 25. That would be a major accomplishment considering they were ranked in the 80 range when Scott Frost took over.

BV: I agree with Greg, and that will be right in the “Nebraska range” (i.e. somewhere between 20 and 35). But that’s not bad considering the coaching change with the added complication of the first early signing period. Normally I wouldn’t call that a sea-change class, but when you look at the type of players that have (and will) sign plus the emphasis on a few instant-impact guys, and I think this class, in particular, might be tough to quantify via traditional methods.

DP: I think they’ll be in the low 30s, so I’m in agreement with Greg and Brandon. But, there are guys I like in this class already and a few names that might get added that would be cause for excitement. Like Brandon, I think this is a class we could look back on in a few years and think “that’s the one that set the table,” as opposed to what you typically get from a transition class.

It seems like so many running backs are being offered and are showing interest who are the top two targets and what is the maximum number of running backs Nebraska is going to take? (@huskernation515)

GS: Jashaun Corbin and Maurice Washington are the top two running back targets. However, with Washington’s grades situation being iffy at best, Ta’Zhawn Henry becomes the next man up. Nebraska already has Greg Bell on campus and will likely get a commitment from RB/WR Miles Jones. The max would be to take four running back-types this class. I get asked a lot about this number being seemingly high considering Mike Riley’s plan was TJ Pledger or bust. I actually think it’s smart to take multiple running backs this class because next year Wilbon and Ozigbo will be seniors and there are questions about their fit in the offense. Tre Bryant’s knee is also a huge question mark.

What football game do you most look forward to next season? (@Sal_Vasta3)

BV: It’s tough for me to pick against Wisconsin, particularly in road years (Madison is my favorite place in the Big Ten). The Badgers are the team Nebraska needs to unseat first, so that always feels the most important, too. But I’m really interested in the Michigan game in 2018. One, the Wolverines return a ton of players and that will amp up the pressure on Jim Harbaugh to produce something. As Nebraska saunters into its first conference game under Scott Frost, however, it will get to play free and loose. Add in the competitiveness of the two coaches, and I think this game is going to be a ton of fun.

DP: I’m excited for Michigan on Sep. 22. First road game under Frost? Check. First road game for a first-year starting quarterback? Check. First personal trip to the Big House? Check. Plus, the last time Frost went to Ann Arbor he didn’t exactly make any new friends. That’s the one I’ve got circled on my calendar.

Which position group do you believe will have the biggest growth in game impact and overall level of play? (@Corn_Huskers)

BV: I think it will be and needs to be the offensive line. It’s a different style of play with this staff, and one I think the players will enjoy once they get it down. The Huskers’ offensive line has been just “fine” too often. If a team wants to win something big, the big guys have to be better than average. That group will be eventually, and I think you’ll start to notice a difference in the fall.

JP: Brandon gave the correct answer, but I think the cornerback position is right behind the offensive line. The corners were young, inexperienced and didn’t fit the system they were asked to play in last year. Now they’ve got a year of playing time under their belts and hopefully a system that will allow them to play to their strengths.

DP: I want to say running back, because Greg Bell will be an instant-impact guy and Jaylin Bradley is getting slept on way too much, but that in turn means the offensive line will need to be that much improved. I’ve got questions on the line, but I think a combination of scheme and more talent in the backfield helps a lot. The running game will be better in 2018, and that means the line will look better.

What will be done about the lack of OV's we have or don't have until August? (@huskerboy1975)

GS: They will have to manage it, but not much can be done about it. The big positive is that fans will know exactly which prospects are top priorities based on if they end up on campus for official visits down the stretch since Nebraska can’t waste any. The bigger problem is that Nebraska won’t have many to use for the spring game because the count doesn’t reset until August which is silly planning by the NCAA.

JP: The visits could be a true test for just how much Frost Mania is out there among recruits. I’d imagine Nebraska is going to have to convince kids to take unofficials if they want to get on campus until the count resets in August. It will be interesting to see how Nebraska navigates this period.

Coach Frost is bringing in a lot of changes from high intensity stretching routine to a fast-paced offense, do the current Riley holdovers buy in or does Scott start clearing house quickly? (@taylor1l)

GS: Are we talking players or staff? Either way, there won’t be a choice to buy in or not. If you don’t buy in, you’ll be gone or won’t see the field. I’m pretty confident in that feeling.

BV: The weeding-out process, so to speak, will be more intense than it was during the last changing of the guard. “Fast” is really the founding principle of this staff’s philosophy, and it’s a comprehensive mantra. There’s not time for people who don’t want to buy in quickly.

JP: I don’t necessarily think Frost is going to “clean house.” He’s going to implement his way of doing things, and those that can’t keep up will fall way down the depth chart. It’s a fresh start for everyone on the team and Frost is coming into this situation with his eyes open. Those that want to play have no choice but to buy in because not buying in will be pretty obvious with Frost’s way of doing things.

What percentage of Memorial Stadium will be filled for the spring game? (@Sal_Vasta3)

GS: 100 percent.

BV: I’ll say 93-percent full. That’d put it at about 85,000 in attendance.

JP: I’m with Brandon. I don’t think every seat will be full, but it won’t be too far off of that.

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