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. You can read all previous editions of the Nebraska recruiting mailbag here.
With Frost’s emphasis on recruits attending actual game days rather than the spring game, do you think we will have a later recruiting cycle with fewer commitments during the spring/summer?
— Mike Johnson (@dmhusker1) March 11, 2018
Nebraska coach Scott Frost mentioned last week that there would be no official visits this spring. But, if you’re a dedicated reader of this mailbag, you already knew the answer.
Each year, college football programs are allowed to host 56 official visits. However, schools can roll up to 12 unused visits into the next season, and the Huskers had 68 to work with in the 2018 recruiting class. Between Mike Riley’s recruiting efforts and those of Frost, Nebraska has hosted 66 official visitors. That leaves room for just two official visitors between now and August, when the number resets back to 56 for all programs (plus however many a team can roll over into the next cycle). Since the NCAA has not modified this rule to coincide with high school juniors being able to start taking official visits in the spring, this is a problem for most programs, not just Nebraska.
Nebraska would like to save those remaining two visits on potential transfer prospects who may come across its radar in the spring.
So that’s the big takeaway here. Don’t get caught up in the fact whether Frost wants players here in the fall only. He is right to an extent, though. Game days in Lincoln are special and a sight to be seen. It’s the best opportunity to impress prospects and their families.
I think Nebraska is better served if it hosts its official visits in the fall. There are downsides to hosting your priority recruits during those weekends, especially if you think spending time with them in person will be important. It’s hard to get face time with coaches when they are preparing for a game the first night and most of the first full day of a visit, essentially only leaving Saturday night (sometimes) and however much time they have Sunday before the recruit leaves to meet with them.
What happened with Elijah Blades?
— Husker Cubbie Fan (@HuskerCubbieFan) March 11, 2018
Elijah Blades never made it to Lincoln. One of the best gets in the 2017 recruiting class under Riley, Blades announced his choice of the Huskers on National Signing Day of that year. But he could not academically qualify and went the junior college route.
He wound up at Arizona Western, one of the best JUCO programs in the country. There, he’s continued his strong play. On the recruiting front, he’s recently picked up a slew of Power 5 offers. In the last month, Ole Miss, Tennessee, LSU, Alabama and Texas have offered. Blades will be a coveted prospect by the time the early signing period rolls around in December. If he has put himself together academically, he’ll be able to graduate that month and enroll early, arriving at his new campus in January.
Blades picked Nebraska because of his relationship with former cornerbacks coach Donte Williams. With Williams now at Oregon, it’s highly improbable there will be a reunion between Blades and Nebraska at some point, despite the fact he fits the profile of a corner (6-foot-2, 180 pounds) the new defensive staff likes to recruit.
Do you think Bookie will eventually transfer to Nebraska?
— Ben in Lincoln (@BeninLincoln) March 11, 2018
This is a hard no. I’m all for storybook endings, but even this would get cut from a Disney film. I predict Bookie — cornerback Brendan Radley-Hiles — will have a successful three to four years at Oklahoma. It’s my hope Nebraska fans will always cheer for the guy, because he will still be caring about them.
Were you surprised Nebraska basketball was left out of the NCAA Tournament? — Ada C.
Not even a little bit! Judging by record, the Huskers definitely belonged in the NCAA Tournament. However, the committee looks at so much more than that. Three games in my mind stand out about this season, in the bad way, at least. There were plenty of good games that stand out, but this is about why the Huskers didn’t make the tournament.
- Kansas: If the Huskers win that game, I think they are still on the bubble heading into Selection Sunday.
- At Illinois: That was a brutal loss down the stretch when Nebraska needed to impress in every which way. That performance was not pretty on the eye test.
- Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal loss to Michigan: They needed that win not to make the tournament, but to give themselves a chance to earn a spot into the First Four with a quality win over Michigan. They came up with a dud and prevented themselves from even having an opportunity to make a case for themselves.
Unfortunately, there was just no resume for Nebraska this year. There fate was sealed last Friday. Now, it’s onto the NIT. The Huskers open NIT play Wednesday at Mississippi State (9 p.m. ET, ESPN2).