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.
The college football season is officially over, but the Nebraska recruiting mailbag goes on. It’s the thick of the recruiting season, the dead period ends Thursday and it is all systems go until National Signing Day on Feb. 7. This week, we discuss scholarship restrictions and the depth chart, positions of need and running backs, and I will predict the class’s final ranking when it’s all said and done.
I've always wondered: what happens when, say, NU's 1st choice at RB commits, and they have no other spots for RBs, but another RB wants to commit? Does NU rescind offer to 2nd kid?
— David (@thawildbunch) January 8, 2018
Great question, David. So what you described is certainly something that happens in recruiting classes. By extending an offer, the school has to be at least somewhat ready for that prospect to commit and to make it work. If the Huskers got their first choice, and couldn’t afford to bring on the second choice, there’s a couple of things they can do. The most common tactic is to stop recruiting the second choice. Essentially, cut off any conversations and sabotage the relationship you’ve built with the recruit.
Usually, the recruit sees the writing on the wall and moves on. It’s relatively common in recruiting, especially at top programs.
Now, the school straight up rescinding the offer is cruel, but it does happen. I think there was a situation like that between Jim Harbaugh and a recruit at Michigan a couple of years ago. Stuff like that points to the larger problems with college football recruiting. It’s basically a one-way street with the schools holding all the power.
Schools normally don’t just up and pull offers, unless there’s a significant discipline or academic issue. If they need to start playing a numbers game, then they’ll get creative in figuring it out without the bad optics of denying previously offered scholarships.
Staff been sending more QB, WR, RB offers, indicative of more attrition, or strictly need?
— L. E. D. (@lredeugene) January 8, 2018
Let’s break this one down by position group in question here. We’ll break it down by attrition or need.
Quarterback: Attrition. Tanner Lee entered the 2018 NFL Draft, leaving Nebraska with just three scholarship quarterbacks on the roster. Normally, programs like having at least four scholarship quarterbacks on the team. Nebraska has offered four quarterbacks in the last couple of weeks in an effort to add another member to the quarterback room.
Wide receiver: Need. One of the units with low numbers that Scott Frost and the coaching staff immediately recognized and sought to rectify was the receiving corps. It was a priority before the early signing period and will remain such throughout January and into February. With two players signed here in the class, expect at least two more to commit and then sign.
Running back: Need. We’ll consider this a “light” need, since there are numbers down the depth chart. The question is how the staff members feel they can utilize the current talent, or if they really need to change the caliber of player in the backfield. The majority of running backs the Huskers are targeting check the “all-purpose” box, meaning they can make contributions in both the rushing and passing attack.
Better pick up at RB, Henry or Washington? With Bell already signed don’t think staff would take 3 in this class?
— Travis J (@TJ_GoBigRed) January 9, 2018
Continuing the running back question, and also a callback to our first question, this one focuses on a pair of 3-star running backs from Texas: Maurice Washington and Ta’Zhawn Henry.
Interestingly enough, both will be on campus for their official visits this weekend. My hunch is that if both want to be members of the class, the Huskers won’t have a problem making room for them. But after his strong performance in the Under Armour All-America Game, Washington is becoming a hot commodity. However, Nebraska has a real chance of landing both, and it would be quite the boon for the class in general.
As for who is better, I don’t think you can go wrong with either. Both have great breakaway speed and possess good vision. I might give the slight nod to Washington based on size, but what does that even really matter?
Will Frost & Co end up with top 20 class?
— HardTruth (@melbeverly) January 9, 2018
Frost & Co. will not end up with a top 20 recruiting class. Since the Huskers’ recruiting momentum has picked up, I’ve predicted that Nebraska’s 2018 class will rank in the top 30 nationally and either fifth or sixth in the Big Ten. Currently, the Huskers are ninth in the conference and 38th in the country, so they will have some work to do, but those rankings I mentioned are attainable goals.
It’s incredibly rare for a transition class to rank in the top 20, so it’s nothing against Frost and the new staff, or even against Mike Riley and the former staff. It also provides a nice benchmark in the next cycle.