LINCOLN, Neb. — If you follow Nebraska football, hearing that new safeties coach Bob Elliott has a connection to California isn’t surprising.
With the addition of cornerbacks coach Donte Williams, a California recruiting guru in his own right, not to mention Mike Riley’s connections to the West Coast from his Oregon State days, it only make sense that Elliott, too, have a California connection.
Elliott hasn’t been formally introduced in a news conference, or even coached the Cornhuskers safeties for a snap, but we looked at his recruiting history to get a grasp of his record. That’s when we found that of the 12 recruits 247sports directly attributes to Elliott’s recruiting, seven are from California.
Here’s a little more on Elliott’s recruiting record and what we can learn:
5-star recruits signed
The highest-rated prospect Elliott has recruited is former 5-star Max Redfield in 2013, when Elliott was an assistant coach at Notre Dame.
Redfield of Mission Viejo, Calif., was the No. 3 safety, No. 3 player in California and No. 30 overall prospect in the 2013 class, per 247Sports. He chose the Fighting Irish from a final group that included USC, Washington and Oklahoma.
Redfield had more than 60 tackles in both his sophomore and junior seasons at Notre Dame. He was dismissed from the program last August, prior to his senior season.
4-star prospects signed
Elliott is attributed with getting a half-dozen 4-star recruits to commit, two of whom were from California.
Tristen Hoge was the No. 1 center in the 2015 class and No. 1 player from Idaho. Elliott recruited Hoge to South Bend, Ind., and away from Florida and LSU.
Cole Luke was the No. 14 corner in the 2013 class and No. 2 high schooler in Arizona. He had 16 offers and chose Notre Dame instead of Texas, Nebraska, Oregon State, USC, UCLA and Michigan. He finished his career with the Fighting Irish with 152 tackles, 8 interceptions and 24 pass breakups.
Elliott had a hand in recruiting one of the top wide receivers currently in college football, as well — Equanimeous St. Brown. St. Brown, who is one those California recruits, had 961 yards receiving and 9 touchdowns last season. He was the No. 19 receiver in the 2015 class, choosing Notre Dame over UCLA, USC and Penn State, to name a few.
Nick Watkins was the No. 17 corner and No. 21 recruit in Texas in 2014. The Bishop Dunne High School prospect (where current 3-star Nebraska DT signee Damion Daniels attends) had 24 offers from schools including Alabama, Michigan, Stanford and UCLA. Injuries have limited Watkins’ production in college.
Drue Tranquill was the No. 21 safety in the 2014 class. Tranquill of Fort Wayne, Ind., passed on offers from schools including Penn State, Wisconsin and Purdue to attend Notre Dame. He was the Fighting Irish Newcomer of the Year in 2014.
Tyler Luatua, the second California recruit on our 4-star list, was the No. 9 tight end in the 2014 class. He chose Notre Dame amid offers from Alabama, Ole Miss, Oklahoma, Texas and many others. He had 29 total offers. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Luatua has not recorded a catch with the Irish, and even said he would transfer to BYU following the 2015 season. But in May 2016, he announced he was changing his mind and staying with the Irish.
What we can learn
Elliott is a diverse recruiter. Tight end, safety, corner, wide receiver, center. California, Texas, Indiana, Missouri. Elliott is someone Nebraska can put wherever it needs or go see whoever it wants more eyes on.
There are a ton of bonuses of having Williams on staff. He can recruit corners and safeties like crazy. Elliott can help out whoever needs help because he’s done it all before.
It’ll be interesting to see where Elliott’s first visit is and whether Riley has him serve as more of a non-California recruiter. The Huskers have at least two recruiters who focus almost solely on that area.