The recruiting machine churns all week. Join us Tuesday through Friday nights when we recap Nebraska recruiting news, offering analysis and context.
Nebraska has a chance to flip a couple of California recruits this weekend.
Now, Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. ET kickoff against Purdue won’t have the kind of talent on the sideline that we saw earlier this year, when the Huskers hosted a laundry list of top talent.
But what this weekend lacks in quantity it could make up for in quality, particularly with respect to a pair of official visitors: Greg Johnson and Taariq Johnson.
A quick reminder of who this weekend’s visitors are.
Greg Johnson, Hawkins (Los Angeles)
Johnson is currently the No. 1-ranked athlete in the Class of 2017 and 13th overall prospect out of California. The 4-star prospect is also teammates with 5-star WR Joseph Lewis, one of Nebraska’s top targets in the 2017 class and the No. 2 wide receiver in the class.
Johnson, himself a tremendous talent, is currently committed to Arizona. This weekend will actually be his first visit since committing to Arizona this July.
Johnson stands 5-feet-10, weighs 185 pounds, and plays a little of everything, including linebacker, wide receiver and running back. The No. 101 recruit in the nation, Johnson has 27 offers, including from USC, Nebraska, Alabama, Florida, Michigan and Notre Dame.
Arizona was the only visit Johnson made before committing to the Wildcats.
Taariq Johnson, Buena Park (Calif.)
Nebraska needs to lock up another wide receiver in this 2017 class, and will try and flip the 4-star Johnson, a Cal commit, this weekend.
Johnson committed to the Golden Bears in April and has made no other visits since. He told 247sports this week that Nebraska was his second choice behind Cal, so the Huskers could have some leverage in trying to flip the 6-2, 213-pound Johnson, the 39th-ranked receiver in the nation for 2017.
Kamryn Babb, Christian Brothers College (St. Louis)
The No. 2 recruit in the state if Missouri for 2018 will be an unofficial visitor on Saturday. Babb, a 4-star receiver and the 13th-ranked player at his position, plays at the same high school as current Nebraska freshman running back Tre Bryant.
Babb has 15 offers from all over the East and Midwest, including Iowa, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Clemson and Missouri. He’s visited Missouri, Illinois, Notre Dame and Michigan State already.
Cameron Brown, Christian Brothers College (St. Louis)
Yes, the 3-star receiver Brown is a teammate of Babb at Christian Brothers College, and also in the Class of 2018.
Brown does not have an offer from Nebraska but does have six offers from Cincinnati, Illinois, Iowa, Iowa State, Missouri and Vanderbilt.
First, on West Coast recruits wanting to see Lincoln, Biggins said kids who go to Nebraska are “seeing what a real college football environment looks like.
“As a West Coast guy, it pains me to say it, but we don’t have that out here,” Biggins told the World-Herald. “The kids go out (to Nebraska) and, even for the spring game, there’s thousands of fans asking for autographs and pictures.”
Biggins said Nebraska should feel good about its position with the aforementioned Lewis, who seems to be deciding between USC and Nebraska.
Biggins also said Lewis is looking to go to school for just three years before he goes to the NFL.
“He feels like, at Nebraska, he can come in there, be a freshman All-American, have a big sophomore season, and then leave after his junior year,” Biggins said. “That’s the three-year plan. He wants to play early and play for a coach he thinks can develop him. And he likes the receivers coach (Keith Williams) quite a bit. They’ve done a really good job of selling Lewis on some of the past guys (Nebraska coach Mike) Riley has had at Oregon State.”
Biggins added that West Coast recruits as a whole seem to be backing away from USC and UCLA, looking for programs headed upward rather than just signing on with the local big names. Nebraska is on the rise, and recruits like that.
“It felt like, at the beginning of the season, a lot of (West Coast) recruits wanted to wait and see how (USC and UCLA) were going to do,” Biggins said. “Before, they were just going to go to UCLA or USC because they were local schools. Now they’re waiting to see, ‘Is this a program that’s going to be on the rise?’”