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.
A little post-holiday edition of the mailbag for you to enjoy after a nice long weekend. We’ll keep it light and merry, debriefing the results from the early signing period and look at what’s next.
The sprint is over for now, and recruits signing early have largely made up their minds. That being said, what should we expect/project for recruiting, visits, commits and signings for the regular signing day? Where is there still need, and what is out there for the taking still?
— Doug Lowery (@Douglas_Lowery) December 18, 2017
Nebraska signed 12 of its 14 commits during the early signing period last week. The only ones who did not sign were 4-star safety C.J. Smith and 3-star defensive tackle Masry Mapieu. Smith had always planned on signing in February and will do so during a ceremony with his classmates on Feb. 7. Mapieu will wait to sign, allowing the staff to ensure he’s academically qualified before anything becomes official.
There are still several needs the staff wants to address once the current dead period ends in a couple of weeks. One is at cornerback, and I’d expect more offers to be made, in addition to the late spree we saw a couple of weeks ago. The Huskers will go hard after some offensive linemen, with the hope of signing one or two. I also think another defensive lineman, probably one that can command the interior, is an area of need. Finally, they’ll look to bolster their corps at receiver and running back.
As for what’s still out there, mostly kids who may be looking for a better offer, or a prospect that wants to take visits during January weekends. Nebraska can capitalize on both accounts. It will host 3-star offensive lineman Hamilton Hall the first weekend of February. Three-star athlete Miles Jones and 3-star all-purpose back Ta’Zhawn Henry are also expected to take official visits in January. There will be more prospects on campus during those weekends, and the staff likely will receive seven or eight more commitments and signatures to close out the class.
Starting QB next year in your opinion. I think [Tristan] Gebbia takes it, [Patrick] O’Brien transfers and [Adrian] Martinez takes a redshirt year. What do you think? — Waylon
That looks like a fine prediction to me. “Fine” in the sense that sure, it could happen. Last week we talked about whether Gebbia could excel in Scott Frost’s offense. My answer was, basically, sure why not?
As is common when a coaching staff inherits a roster, every position group will be open for competition. Might as well throw the depth chart out the window. Some guys will be motivated under the new coaches, others won’t want to play as hard. Some guys may thrive in the new schemes, others will flounder.
The quarterback position is no exception. But it will be the most intriguing of the competitions because quarterback is the most important position on the field. If Nebraska can provide Frost with two quality options behind center with neither being named Martinez, then it may make the most sense to slap a redshirt on him. I’m just not so sure that will be the case. Martinez will have the chance to compete right away.
“Every single one of these kids is going to have an opportunity to compete,” Frost told reporters last week. “We’re going to play the best players, whether they’re from Florida or California or Nebraska, whether they’re seniors or freshmen, I don’t care. We’re going to play the best kids. But every one of them is going to have to earn it, and everyone’s going to have to come in and outperform the other people on campus. Competition is healthy. At every single position, the competition is going to start over, because there’s going to be a new set of coaches, new eyes on them. [Martinez is] going to have as good an opportunity as anybody, but he’s going to have to play better than the other kids on campus.”
Read an article that implied the decision to come to Nebraska was made by Frost's entire staff…not just Frost. Can you verify?
— Jeff Lewis (@Mobilfarmersmkt) December 26, 2017
I cannot verify. However, this space allows me room to make educated guesses, so we’ll do that for now. Let’s start with the facts. Scott Frost is the coach at Nebraska and brought his entire coaching staff, along with a considerable amount of his support staff.
Did Frost gather everyone in a room and they voted on it? Was Florida also on the board? I’d have to say no. Athletic director Bill Moos offered Frost, and only him, the job. It would be up to Frost to fill out his staff. I think one of the reasons Frost ultimately took the Nebraska job was because he knew his entire staff would follow him. Keeping continuity of his staff was important to him. Here’s what he had to say about it all when asked on a conference call last week.
“The right thing to do is to give every one of my coaches an opportunity to come and if they’re good enough to take an 0-12 program to 12-0 in two years they are good enough to coach anywhere,” Frost said. “Because what they have accomplished at UCF is next to impossible. I didn’t recruit anybody. I took a job that I thought was the best for my staff and my family and I told them all if you want to come there’s a spot. And they all wanted to come which was flattering to me that they want to be a part of our coaching staff with me.”
What’s the difference between a preferred walk-on and a regular walk-on?
— Matthew Wiedel (@matthewwiedel) December 18, 2017
A very good technical question. The “preferred” designation means that prospect is guaranteed a spot on the 105-man roster, which is in effect from the first day of training camp until the first game of the season. After that, the roster can expand once again if the team has and wants the numbers. Walk-ons who are not “preferred” have to straight up earn a spot on that 105-man roster. Preferred walk-ons are usually closer to earning a scholarship in the future, although it’s not guaranteed.