The Nebraska recruiting machine churns all week. Join us Monday through Friday nights when we recap recruiting news and offer analysis and context.
With Bob Stoops gone, now what?
Oklahoma announced on Wednesday that Bob Stoops will be stepping down as head coach. Stoops is retiring after 18 seasons with the Sooners.
A bombshell move from one of the top programs in the country.
Implications? Maybe some on the recruiting trail.
After the news broke, this was sent out by Oklahoma commit (and former Nebraska target) TJ Pledger, a 4-star running back.
— TJ Pledger IV (@uno_tj) June 7, 2017
Coaching changes and recruiting go hand in hand, especially when it’s a head coach. So there could be some fallout with Stoops retiring.
It does help Oklahoma that its coaching staff is mostly staying intact. Offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley will be taking over for Stoops.
Regardless, there’s an opportunity to check in with Oklahoma’s commits.
In addition to Pledger, targets Nebraska and Oklahoma are after include 4-star weakside defensive ends Ronnie Perkins and Jalen Redmond.
With Perkins and Redmond, Nebraska might be in trouble since Sooners defensive coordinator Mike Stoops is staying.
Nebraska is in the same boat as the rest of Pledger’s final schools (Clemson, Georgia, Notre Dame, Oregon, Tennessee and UCLA) that missed out on the 4-star running back. Getting him away from Oklahoma could be more realistic than Perkins and Redmond since the offensive coordinator is changing. However, Nebraska is not looking for a running back. (More on that in a minute.)
In the end, this might not mean much for Nebraska on the recruiting trail. The Huskers and Sooners are occasionally recruiting the same player, usually in the state of Oklahoma, but Nebraska recruits more heavily in California, Florida and Texas.
Still, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Nebraska hit some Oklahoma targets hard the next few weeks.
No running back – what’s that mean?
What we know: Nebraska’s 2018 recruiting class is going to be small. With 11 commits already, there could be as few as four spots left. At most, there are six spots remaining.
What we don’t know: who exactly will make up those final spots.
We’ve long said a quarterback is unlikely to be in this 2018 class.
But a new development came this week from HuskersOnline’s Nate Clouse, who reported on Wednesday that Nebraska is likely also passing on taking a running back in the 2018 class.
— Nate Clouse (@NateClouse) June 7, 2017
This was before the news about Stoops, so this could change with a Pledger de-commitment. But that’s doubtful at this point.
Nebraska offered 11 running backs and four all-purpose backs in the 2018 class. Three of the four all-purpose backs committed elsewhere. Mychale Salahuddin, a 4-star all-purpose back, put Nebraska in his top 11 schools Wednesday.
The lack of a running back in the 2018 class wouldn’t be surprising, considering the Huskers have sophomore Tre Bryant as the likely starter in 2017, and junior Devine Ozigbo as the backup (or co-starter with Bryant). Those two, plus true freshman Jaylin Bradley, should keep Nebraska afloat for a while. There wasn’t a giant need for a running back.
What’s also worth noting is the fact 3-star Grahm Roberts has eight predictions on the 247Sports Crystal Ball to commit to Nebraska. So it’ll be interesting to see if Nebraska continues to recruit Roberts. And Pledger, for that matter.
There are two recruits in the 2017 class we know for sure are not on campus yet. The first is 3-star defensive tackle Deiontae Watts, who is scheduled to move in next weekend.
The other is 4-star cornerback Elijah Blades. Blades has graduated, but sources have indicated he is not yet eligible to move to campus, and will need to take summer school classes in order to get his grades up to become eligible.
Blades sparked discussion on Twitter on Tuesday night when he tweeted the following, which has since been deleted:
It sounds like a sort of reminder to himself.
Blades was the No. 16-ranked corner by 247Sports.