LINCOLN, Neb. — As coach Mike Riley said on Wednesday, Nebraska ended up filling all the depth chart spots it wanted for the 2017 class.
At least for the most part.
That’s largely why he considers National Signing Day and Nebraska’s 2017 class, 20 commitments in all, a success.
But Nebraska had some pretty big misses in the 2017 class that could’ve taken this class from No. 23 in the 247sports rankings to the top 20, or even top 15. Those misses could’ve also helped better fill out those roster spots.
Here are the three biggest misses on the recruiting trail in 2017:
Joseph Lewis, 5-star WR, Los Angeles
The general criteria for this list is that Nebraska had a legitimate chance at landing the recruit. With Lewis, Nebraska led the way most of the recruitment, but ultimately let him get away.
247Sports rated Lewis the No. 4 wide receiver in the class, but he was actually rated No. 2 for most of the recruiting cycle until late. He ended up committing to USC on National Signing Day.
Had he committed, Nebraska would’ve ended the 2017 class with four wide receivers, which it set out to do in the beginning. The Huskers would’ve also jumped from No. 23 to No. 18 in the 247sports rankings, according to the 247sports rating calculator.
Lewis would’ve given Nebraska an immediate playmaker on the 2017 offense, and would’ve balanced out the type of receivers Nebraska has on its roster.
Greg Johnson, 4-star ATH, Los Angeles
Similar to Lewis, Nebraska led Johnson’s recruitment for a very long time.
The No. 1 athlete in the 2017 class and high school teammate of Lewis, officially visited Nebraska on Oct. 22 as an Arizona commit. He had committed to Arizona because of Donte Williams, the Wildcats’ secondary coach. When Williams left Arizona, Johnson de-committed, then entertained the idea more and more of following Williams to Nebraska.
He seemed like a shoe-in. But once USC got ahold of Johnson, and Lewis for that matter, it was a losing battle for the Huskers. Johnson would’ve been a tremendous athlete for Nebraska, and would’ve been a malleable tool for Bob Diaco’s 3-4 defense.
Jamire Calvin, 4-star WR, Los Angeles
There simply is not anything more Nebraska could have done to land Calvin. This one doesn’t fall on the coaching staff whatsoever.
However, his de-commitment and last-second flip to Washington State does mean something. Like the loss of Lewis, Nebraska is now at three wide receivers in the class, which makes it two years in a row Nebraska hasn’t gotten as many receivers as it has wanted.
Because of that, Nebraska will now have to recruit even more receivers in the 2018 class, which could hurt recruiting other areas of need, such as corner.
Calvin and 4-star commit Tyjon Lindsey are similar body types and similar receivers, yes. But speed is speed. Nebraska would’ve still taken Calvin in a heartbeat, despite the 4-star receiver leading Nebraska on and on throughout the entire recruiting process. Nebraska did get Lindsey late in the day, but the three wide receivers instead of four does matter down the road. And Calvin’s de-commitment at the last second gets a healthy dose of blame for that.