Who would have thought the best news in the state of Nebraska on Jan. 7, 2017 would be about Cornhuskers basketball?
The U.S. Army All-American Bowl was that ugly.
To recap: Four times a Nebraska hat was on the table in front of a top recruit in San Antonio on Saturday, and four times the recruit chose a different hat.
For a fan base that hasn’t had good news since a 7-0 start to the 2016 season, it was a gloomy, forgettable, bad day.
Here’s how each choice went down on Saturday, and what is next for Nebraska recruiting:
As we wrote about earlier Saturday, Calvin was Nebraska’s best hope on for a commitment at the game.
Calvin even admitted on national television there was “another school” that he was thinking about all week. That was Nebraska. But things changed Thursday, Calvin said, and he flipped from Nebraska to Oregon State.
Calvin is the second wide receiver in the 2017 class Mike Riley lost to his former school. Nebraska, now more than ever, needs to land 5-star WR Joseph Lewis.
247Sports’ 14th-ranked offensive tackle was down to Michigan, Ohio State and Nebraska on Saturday. Or, as someone pointed out to me on Twitter: Michigan, Michigan and Michigan.
It wasn’t a secret Filiaga was leaning toward Michigan. He told Land of 10 earlier this week he’d found a school he liked, and followed that by saying, “Go Blue.”
His commitment to Michigan over Nebraska was not surprising, but it was a hit to a fan base craving top offensive lineman commits.
The No. 2 corner in the 2017 class and 5-star corner/wide receiver, announced in the fourth quarter of the game his commitment to UCLA. Holmes selected the Bruins over Nebraska, Ohio State and USC.
Holmes and his family were split on the decision just days ago, the player wanting leave the state and go to Ohio State, his parents wanting him to stay closer to home in Los Angeles. He plays at Calabasas, just northwest of Los Angeles.
Holmes said after the game he’d been a silent commit to two different schools recently:
New UCLA commit Darnay Holmes said he was a silent commit to USC earlier this week and silent commit to Ohio State earlier in the process. pic.twitter.com/fWXSgYFKfx
— Max Olson (@max_olson) January 7, 2017
Holmes is a big-time playmaker and would’ve likely played immediately at Nebraska. He was teammates with two current Nebraska commits, 4-star QB Tristan Gebbia and 3-star WR Keyshawn Johnson Jr.
Sarell was a longshot for Nebraska.
The No. 1 offensive tackle in the class was high on Nebraska and visited Lincoln in September. But the Washington native seemed like he wanted to stay on the West Coast.
He committed to Stanford rather than Nebraska, Washington and a handful of other schools.
Like Filiaga, this one burns because of Nebraska’s need for top offensive and defensive-line commitments.
Regardless, the Sarell commitment to somewhere outside of Lincoln was the least-surprising result on Saturday.
What is next
But the Huskers have some work to do.
In the coming weeks, Nebraska will host Kurt Rafdal, 3-star tight end who recently decommitted from Indiana; Darrian Felix, 3-star all-purpose back who was visited by Nebraska running backs coach Reggie Davis during the visiting period; and Deommodore Lenoir, a 4-star corner and former Oregon commit.
Nebraska’s also in pretty good position to land Lewis, the No. 3 receiver in the 2017 class, and Greg Johnson, the No. 1 athlete in the 2017 class — and Lewis’ teammate at Los Angeles Hawkins High School.
There are still 22 days left until National Signing Day after Saturday. And as we learned with the surprise Calvin commitment to Oregon State, anything is still possible.