The Harvest: Twitter, Willy Wonka and what Ben Miles’ commitment means for Nebraska recruiting
The recruiting machine churns all week. Join us on Tuesday and Friday nights to recap Nebraska recruiting news, what it means and what’s next.
Ben Miles commits
Three-star FB Ben Miles from Baton Rouge, La., gave a hard commit to the Huskers on Twitter Sunday evening. Miles, the son of LSU head coach Les Miles, chose Nebraska over LSU and Boston College.
The 6-foot-1, 210 pound fullback also had offers from Michigan State, Purdue and North Carolina.
Thank you God… GBR! pic.twitter.com/nBM0l25Xq5
— ben miles (@BenBmiles2) July 31, 2016
Miles unofficially visited LSU four times – which shouldn’t be surprising since he, you know, lives in the same house as the head coach – and unofficially visited Nebraska just once, which was the Spring Game in April. That, apparently, was enough to sell Miles.
Miles told the Lincoln Journal Star he “wanted to be his own man.”
“I just always grew up wanting to do my own thing and be my own man,” he said. “Obviously, LSU is a great place to play football and get an education. But for me, I just want to do something different.”
Miles is a do-everything fullback who might remind people of former Nebraska fullback Andy Janovich. He appears to be as comfortable catching the ball out of the backfield as he is laying out blocks.
Here are his junior year highlights:
Nebraska has to feel good about this signing for a few reasons.
- As we saw last year with Janovich, Nebraska coach Mike Riley and offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf love using fullbacks. And as they implement their pro-style offense bit by bit, fullbacks will become more and more crucial. Janovich was a Swiss Army knife for the Huskers, often used on third-and-very-short and helping mis-direct plays, and Miles seems to fit the mold perfectly. Miles is a versatile fullback who adds depth and athleticism to a key position.
- To be able to not only recruit, but land a son of another head coach, should give Husker fans confidence Riley can land just about anybody. If Riley can walk into Les Miles’ actual house, pitch the Nebraska program from Les Miles’ couch and get Les Miles’ own son to go north, there may not be much Riley can’t do. This 2017 class now includes sons of an NFL Hall of Famer (Keyshawn Johnson), a 3-time NFL All-Pro Defensive End (Robert Porcher IV) and now a national championship coach in Les Miles. Very telling.
The signing of Ben Miles brings Nebraska’s 2017 recruiting class to 12 recruits, and the Huskers now sit at No. 32 in the 247sports national rankings.
Retweet Rampage at 12:01 a.m.
If you follow any college football coach, you probably noticed the slew of recruits popping up on Twitter feeds at 12:01 a.m. Monday morning.
Riley, along with plenty of other head coaches around the country, could – and did – retweet recruits starting Aug. 1 in compliance with new NCAA rules.
Land of 10’s Jeremy Birmingham went more into the new rules in his Ohio State recruiting notebook.
Riley retweeted 14 guys total early Monday morning, mostly commits, including Tristan Gebbia, Austin Allen and Broc Bando. Riley also retweeted 4-star WR Jamire Calvin, no doubt since Calvin plans on visiting Lincoln soon.
‘Golden Tickets’ for offered recruits
Nebraska sent out “golden tickets” for official offers over the weekend, presumably to bump up even more Twitter traffic during the Retweet Rampage.
As Twitter becomes more and more vital in recruiting, the branding aspect of how schools send out official offers becomes more important.
On the “golden ticket” recruits are told about the monetary value of an education at Nebraska, with more than $190,000 in total value, including $20,000 in clothing over the course of four years.
Here’s what the tickets look like:
The only offer that matters !!! pic.twitter.com/WIZNqG50Wa
— Jaevon McQuitty (@YaboyJae19) August 1, 2016
Interesting to note the difference in this strategy over selling the program’s accomplishments on the offer letter like other schools, such as Oklahoma, have done. Nebraska is banking on recruits, or possibly recruits’ parents, being attracted to the monetary value of a degree and the program, which is a good play.
If I was a betting man…
Once a week in this notebook I’ll give you a quick look at some of Nebraska’s top targets for you to keep track of over the next week, along with a quick update of where I think they currently sit with Nebraska.
This week, a few guys that are warming up to Nebraska a bit:
Darnay Holmes: The 5-star WR/CB from Calabasas, Calif., already has lots of ties to Nebraska, with teammates Tristan Gebbia and Keyshawn Johnson Jr. signing earlier this year. 247sports.com currently has Nebraska sitting at a 31 percent chance of landing Holmes. UCLA is also at a 31 percent chance. Holmes, the No. 2 cornerback in 2017, recently attended the Ohio State Friday Night Lights Camp but does, essentially, have two visits planned to see Nebraska. One will be at Memorial Stadium against Oregon on Sept. 17, and the other will be at Ohio State on Nov. 5, which is a primetime matchup against the Huskers. Also worth thinking the Calabasas season starts up soon. Maybe Holmes will get more used to thinking about catching passes for Gebbia in a Husker uniform.
Jamire Calvin: Nebraska wide receivers coach Keith Williams deserves a raise. Not only does he have WR/CB Holmes in a great position, but 247sports currently has four-star WR Jamire Calvin sitting at a 75 percent chance of signing with the Huskers. Notre Dame slid Calvin an offer on June 23, and Calvin has been active on Twitter, retweeting some Notre Dame stories about him. But Calvin did receive his first official offer from Nebraska, which he also retweeted. Calvin had a visit planned for last weekend, but respectfully declined after the death of punter Sam Foltz.
Hunter Echols: The former-UCLA commit is officially on the market after renouncing his commitment to UCLA on Twitter.
I have officially de committed from UCLA. I want to thank The coaches and Fans for the love and support
— HUNTER (@hunter_tyb) July 23, 2016
What’s interesting about Echols is the rumored “package deal” between Jamire Calvin and Echols, who are teammates at Cathedral High School in Los Angeles. Right now 247sports has three different schools sitting at a 29 percent chance to snag Echols. The 4-star DE has a visit planned for Nebraska on Sept. 3, the first Husker game against Fresno State. Nebraska’s defensive line needs some repolishing, and the addition of Robert Porcher IV was a great get, but Echols would make John Parrella’s job much easier next year.