Scott Frost’s recruiting could put Nebraska ‘up there with Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan,’ experts say
Here’s the bonkers part, sweet and utter madness: If Wednesday is Exhibit A of what Scott Frost could pull off in nine weeks, imagine what the Nebraska football coach might magic up in a freaking year.
“It means that Frost could possibly put Nebraska right up there with Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan when they have a full year to recruit,” veteran recruiting analyst Tom Lemming told Land of 10 when asked about the new coach’s first harvest in Lincoln. “His teams have a lot of energy on the field. He doesn’t seem to [project] a lot of energy, but the kids seem to like him.
“Nebraska could become the dominant team in the western side of the conference. There are no other teams that have any [significant] local talent base. Nebraska has the capabilities to be a national recruiter. They’ve got to be national — so does Minnesota, so does Wisconsin and Iowa. And Nebraska is very much more capable than everyone else to become that nationally recruiting team. They have the resources.”
They’ve got momentum. Momentum. Mojo. And a Big Red bullet train careening down track 29.
As of late afternoon on National Signing Day, the Cornhuskers had put together the No. 21 class in the country, according to 247 Sports’ national composite — and were a few points away from passing Michigan (No. 20) for the league’s overall No. 3 recruiting haul.
That it garnered Nebraska’s highest 247Sports ranking since 2013 (No. 22) was impressive enough. But when you toss in the context, that this was the work of a staff installed in early December, 2018 figures to stand, forever, as one of the greatest cram jobs in program history, the speed sell against which all other speed sells will be measured.
Consider: In late November, the Big Red’s Class of 2018 had only nine commits. Mike Riley was toast, and so was his vaunted #Calibraska pipeline. Brendan Radley-Hiles announced he’d be looking elsewhere. Ditto Joshua Moore and Cameron Brown.
A few hours after lunch Wednesday, Frost and his staff had roped in 24 prospects — including six whom 247Sports ranked as 4-star finds, fourth most in the Big Ten behind Ohio State (20), Penn State (12) and Michigan (7).
“I think what Nebraska was able to do was really impressive,” said Allen Trieu, Midwest recruiting writer with 247Sports. “It was really unprecedented because no coach has ever had to do this with an early signing period before.
“The fact that they got their pool of recruits shrunk in December and were able to get in on national names, and get some committed by then and [get] others committed in January, was an impressive feat — especially when you consider that Frost coached Central Florida through the bowl game, too.
“I think it sends a message that this staff will be able to really recruit at a high level when given a full cycle.”
Consider: The last time a Nebraska coaching staff had to pick up the pieces from a regime change, the winter of 2014-15, the Huskers wound up with 247Sports’ No. 30 class and only four 4-star gets.
In the winter of 2007-08, the transition from Bill Callahan to Bo Pelini, the new staff managed to grab three 4-star types. In the switch from Frank Solich to Callahan in 2003-04, they nabbed just two 4-star recruits.
“I think it’s definitely encouraging for Nebraska to be able to put together this kind of class in such a short time, especially with almost having to start from scratch,” noted Brandon Huffman, 247Sports’ national college football recruiting editor. “[It started] off with Adrian Martinez, but also getting so much positive response to the offers that they had big visit weekends and attracted quite a few recruits. Frost and company didn’t panic with the early signing period, then went full throttle in January.”
4 RB Maurice Washington commits to Nebraska over ASU.
Nebraska now up to #21 class (94th when Scott Frost took over in December)
— Pick Six Previews (@PickSixPreviews) February 7, 2018
Of course, Riley won in February, too. A lot.
October and November proved to be different, more volatile, beasts. Hoarding talent is an essential part of the battle, but ain’t the only part. Because consider this, too:
Average 247Sports final national recruiting rank
Division titles won
“The last time I looked, the West’s average [recruiting] ranking was a 33 and the East’s average ranking was going to be a 24,” Big Ten Network analyst Gerry DiNardo noted. “That gap was much bigger in the past. And I think the West is making a move — and if they do make a move, it’ll be interesting to see if Wisconsin can sustain the kind of success that they’re having with the way they recruit.”
The Big Red bullet train is picking up speed by the minute, and they can hear that bad boy rolling all the way in Columbus. And Ann Arbor. And Happy Valley.
“I’m not here to win in February. I’m here to win football games in the fall.”
— Eric Olson (@ericolson64) February 7, 2018
Smart answer. Right answer. The scoreboard always gets the final word, and time will tell. But after nine weeks, the early tells on Stadium Drive are insanely promising, a bar set high enough to kiss the sky.
When young Texas tailback Maurice Washington told ESPN2 Wednesday that he was coming to Lincoln to “get a natty,” he wasn’t talking about beer. And Iowa City and Madison weren’t laughing.