Nebraska’s recruiting pipeline in California took a hit when coach Mike Riley was fired. It was a side effect of the decision, but it didn’t necessarily surprise anyone. And with coach Scott Frost now at the helm of the Huskers, a new state has taken focus: Florida.
Frost developed ties and contacts in Florida during his two years as the coach at UCF. His staff followed him in its entirety to Nebraska, and they brought along their Florida connections, too. It makes sense Frost would use those connections and familiarity to recruit from Florida to Nebraska.
And so far, so good when looking at the 2018 class. Out of the Huskers’ 12 early signees, two come from the Sunshine State — wide receiver Justin McGriff from Tampa and junior college safety Deontai Williams, who is originally from Jacksonville. Out of Nebraska’s additional two commits who didn’t sign early, one is from Florida — safety C.J. Smith from West Palm Beach, Fla. As it stands, Florida has the most players from one state committed to the Huskers.
McGriff, Williams and Smith were familiar with Frost from his time at UCF. In fact, McGriff was committed to the Knights before Frost departed for Nebraska. He opted to follow Frost and his staff to Lincoln when the offer from the Cornhuskers arrived.
Nebraska fans can expect the Florida trend to continue, too. A big reason for that has to do with UCF’s location in the state. Frost had a chance to become more familiar with more athletes overall, as Brandon Huffman, national director of college recruiting at Scout.com, told Land of 10’s Sean Keeler.
“[Frost] has been in the central part of the state,” Huffman said. “I think one advantage of being there [in Orlando], as opposed to being in south Florida or being up in Tallahassee, when you’re in the central part of the state, he’s been able to go up north or down south. He’s going to have a lot of the state, geographically, where he can draw from.”
Frost also spent time at Oregon from 2009-15, though, which could prove to be beneficial. However, Huffman said the biggest benefit is in Florida.
“Scott Frost did spend some time on the West Coast, obviously. But I see that being from the middle of the Sunshine State, he’ll drop into Florida now,” Huffman said. “Because his name carries more weight in Florida than it does on the West Coast.”
Since Frost and his staff took over in Lincoln, there have been quite a few Florida-focused tweets. Some are geared toward specific players — such as Smith’s commitment — and others seem to be a general call to recruits.
Outside linebackers and special teams coach Jovan Dewitt has shared two Florida-centric images: one depicting the state turning red for Nebraska and another with the Nebraska “N” and state of Florida combined.
— Jovan Dewitt (@Coach_Dewitt) December 12, 2017
— Jovan Dewitt (@Coach_Dewitt) December 17, 2017
With the early signing period gone, it will be interesting to see where Frost and his staff put their focus. It seems like a safe bet, though, that Florida will remain high on the list for the 2018 class ― and likely beyond ― especially considering the familiarity of the staff.
If it’s truly a movement though, does the Florida-Nebraska connection need a name? As “Calibraska” faded with the departure of Riley, some started using “Floribraska.” Doesn’t have quite the same ring to it but it the recruits come, does it really matter what anyone calls it?
And for what it’s worth, Floribraska already exists. It’s an avenue in Tampa.
— Ryan Martinez (@RMMartinez84) December 5, 2017