The Nebraska recruiting machine churns all week. Join us Monday through Friday nights when we recap recruiting news and offer analysis and context.
Deiontae Watts and Elijah Blades
When school begins at the University of Nebraska in about a month, three players in the Huskers’ 2017 class likely won’t be there.
For sure, we know two won’t be in Lincoln.
Keyshawn Johnson Jr., a 3-star wide receiver from Calabasas, Calif., is back in California after being cited with possession of marijuana. And 3-star DT Deiontae Watts will head to Fort Scott Community College after not meeting eligibility requirements.
The third player in limbo is 4-star cornerback Elijah Blades. We know Blades has not reported to Lincoln this summer for workouts because of eligibility issues, and rumors have begun to circulate that he’s officially not eligible to play. We have not been able to confirm that report. However, we can report that it isn’t looking good.
We do know Blades was in Arizona last weekend, where he could’ve been checking out Arizona Western Community College.
There are a lot of unanswered questions, including whether Blades is eligible to partially qualify. According to NCAA rules, if Blades is able to complete 16 core high school courses, earn at least a 2.2 GPA and get a high enough SAT score, he could partially qualify and make it to Lincoln this fall. That doesn’t seem to have been ruled out at this point.
However, the timeline in this case seems to work against Blades.
That means Nebraska’s 2017 class could be down from 20 commits to 17. That also means if you take Blades, Watts and Johnson out of the class, it will drop from No. 23 to No. 31, according to the 247Sports calculator.
So what now?
These off-field issues could take away three recruits Nebraska needs moving forward.
Blades probably could have found some playing time this season, especially after the injury to senior corner Chris Jones. Nebraska’s defensive backs room is getting smaller.
If Blades ends up at a junior college, he’ll likely be there for two years. That means if he does return to Nebraska, it’d be in 2019, when the cornerbacks room would be crowded with 2018 class commits Brendan Radley-Hiles, Mario Goodrich and Chase Williams. Not to mention Lamar Jackson, who would be a senior.
So the timing for Blades couldn’t be worse.
Watts is a guy who fit perfectly in defensive coordinator Bob Diaco’s 3-4 alignment. He would’ve been a great guy to battle with 3-star signee Damion Daniels for playing time in the future.
The wide receivers room is already small. Take away Johnson and Nebraska could be hurting in a year or two for playmakers on the outside.
The 2017 class still has some remarkable players who could make an impact immediately. Especially receivers Tyjon Lindsey and Jaevon McQuitty. At quarterback, Tristan Gebbia looks like the future starter.
But these three misses could hurt down the road.
Joshua Moore talks LSU
Nebraska commit Joshua Moore recently reiterated to SEC Country recruiting reporter Sam Spiegelman that LSU is still recruiting him hard, and Moore is still listening.
“Right now, I’m confident [that I’ll stick with Nebraska], but anything can happen,” Moore told SEC Country. “I’m leaving it up to God and I’m going to pray about it until I sign the papers. If it’s Nebraska, then I’ll definitely know. And if it’s not, we’ll see what happens.”
It sounds like schools will have to really wow Moore in order to get him to flip. But schools will have plenty of chances to do that, since Moore is planning to use all of his official visits.
More not so great news for Nebraska fans.
Houston Griffith, a 4-star corner who attends IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., recently received a massive wave of predictions in favor of Florida State.
His 247sports Crystal Ball now favors Florida State 93 percent, and Nebraska just 7 percent.
Griffith is the No. 8 corner and No. 53 overall player in the 2018 class in the 247Sports composite rankings. He visited Nebraska on June 23 for the Friday Night Lights camp.
Griffith has been interested in Florida State for some time, so this isn’t out of nowhere. It is a little unusual, though, so see such huge swings in the crystal ball.
On the 2015 and 2016 classes
With the injury to senior corner Chris Jones, the highest-rated Nebraska commits in the 2015 and 2016 recruiting classes are now front and center.
Eric Lee (2015) and Lamar Jackson (2016) were both 4-star corners.
Lee was the No. 18 corner in the 2015 class and the No. 1 player from the state of Colorado. He held offers from Nebraska, Arizona State, Colorado, Oregon State and Kansas State.
Jackson was the No. 5 safety in the nation and the No. 13 player from California. 247Sports had him rated as high as the No. 128 player in the country. He held 20 offers, and chose Nebraska over the likes of Michigan, Arizona, Oregon, Oklahoma, UCLA and Southern California.
Both now have a chance to prove that their ratings were no joke.