Welcome to the Nebraska recruiting mailbag. Each Tuesday, Land of 10 Nebraska recruiting reporter Chris Bumbaca will tackle the latest recruiting questions from readers. Ask your question for a chance to be featured in the next mailbag by tweeting him @BOOMbaca. As always, thank you for the questions.
National Signing Day has almost arrived, and it will be a whirlwind day for the Nebraska football team as it wraps up the 2018 recruiting class.
In this Signing Day edition of the mailbag, we discuss potential surprise signings, the Huskers’ standing with their top targets and a final prediction of how the class will rank. Let’s get to it!
Any signings no one sees coming?
— Huskermef (@huskermef) February 6, 2018
I wouldn’t say that there would be a signing no one sees coming. It’s not like some random prospect is going to commit to the Huskers. Nebraska is in on 11 targets right now. All 11 recruits have interest in Nebraska and have visited at some point. Obviously, those players committing would not be a surprise. Sure, there are signings that are more likely and some that don’t seem to be heading Nebraska’s way, but nothing matters until the name is signed on the dotted line.
As far as who those signings may be, keep an eye on 4-star outside linebacker Caleb Tannor and 3-star defensive tackle Otito Ogbonnia. They aren’t leaning toward the Huskers, but they are my dark horse picks to join the class.
Did Nebraska lose interest in Tago or did Tago just decide Oregon State was a better fit? I heard coach Verducci cancelled a visit to Tago the morning of his decision day. Makes me wonder if something happened to make Nebraska lose interest.
— Wes Treadway (@TheGroovetrain) February 5, 2018
Wes amended his mistake with a later tweet, correcting “Coach Verducci” to “Coach Verduzco,” as in Nebraska quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco, who led the recruitment of Matthew Tago. The 3-star athlete, recruited as a quarterback to Nebraska, committed to Oregon State on Saturday.
I was surprised by that, thinking Nebraska was in the driver’s seat. Verduzco was scheduled to visit Tago that Friday morning. I do not know if that visit took place. Perhaps Tago saw the writing on the wall and went with his best remaining option. Perhaps Tago wanted to just play linebacker at Oregon State and that was where he was committing all along.
Regardless, it’s not unreasonable to think some action on Nebraska’s part impacted Tago’s choice.
How will Nebraska use both Tannor and JJB if they obtain both?
— L. E. D. (@lredeugene) February 5, 2018
Well, wouldn’t that be a dream. Two high-caliber pass rushers, Tannor and Javontae Jean-Baptiste, signing with the Huskers? The staff and fans would take that. Nebraska would find room to add both, one would have to think.
I think it’s pretty simple. Both project as an outside linebacker. Maybe one becomes better suited at inside linebacker or defensive end. That would be an easy fix. But there’s two edge rushers in Nebraska’s 3-4 defense. The math works out pretty well there, too.
Basically, don’t worry about that too much. You want both. It’s unlikely both will sign with Nebraska, but it’s an interesting storyline to keep tabs on throughout Wednesday.
How much distance will Neb recruiting ranking be over remaining B10 West this year? Playoff teams seem to correlate well with *s
— Jeff Lewis (@Mobilfarmersmkt) February 5, 2018
Nebraska will finish first in the Big Ten West. Currently, the Huskers rank fourth in the entire conference. The closest West division foe in the rankings is Minnesota at seventh. But the Gophers already have 26 commits in the class, meaning they cannot move up significantly in the rankings.
Overall, Nebraska has a chance to finish in the top 5 in the Big Ten. I expect them to finish between 20 and 25 in the overall standings. But with a big Signing Day, it’s possible for them to finish with a top-20 class. That’s my prediction.
What is the best-case scenario and worst-case scenario for Nebraska? — Jameson D.
I’m hesitant to give a worst-case scenario. I don’t envision a scenario in which Nebraska completely strikes out on Signing Day. However, it will be disappointing if the Huskers miss on both Jean-Baptiste and Washington. That would be a pretty big blow. I think Cam Taylor is in the boat for Nebraska, but losing him to Auburn would be bad.
Overall, Nebraska is in a good place. I think if the Huskers close strong, this will be a class that’s talked about for a while.
Do reporters ever learn the identity of a silent commit but agree to an embargo until it is publicly announced? — Justin T.
I mean, sometimes, we learn the identity of a silent commit, but that’s just because of logic and the conversations you have with recruits or those close to them. They won’t tell you they’re a silent commit. But you can figure it out.
It doesn’t make sense to publicize a silent commit. Sure, I’ll try and get some work done on my end so that way I have content ready to go when he announces, but I won’t put it out there that “[insert name here] is committed to [insert school here].” That’s the recruit’s business.
It’s rare that there’s an official “embargo” on commitments. Oftentimes, reporters use context clues and educated guesses to discern those types of things.