The Harvest: Why the recruiting aspect of Nebraska’s opening weekend is more important than the game
The recruiting machine churns all week. Join us on Tuesday and Friday nights to recap Nebraska recruiting news, what it means and what’s next.
Nebraska’s future might be on the sideline this weekend
Think about it this way.
Nebraska is a 28.5-point favorite to beat Fresno State on Saturday.
And on the field, there really aren’t that many questions to be answered.
The depth chart has been released, so there’s no drama there. There essentially is no chance Nebraska loses on a Hail Mary again, like it did in last year’s opener against BYU, so there’s no drama there. It’s Mike Riley’s second season, not his first. All over the place there’s just no compelling aspect of the game, football-wise, for this weekend.
But just off the field, on the sideline, there will be 10 recruits who could end up shaping the future of Nebraska football.
The most notable visitors (as of Friday) include:
5-star OT Foster Sarell, the No. 1 overall recruit in the 2017 class
5-star Donovan Peoples-Jones, the No. 1 wide receiver in the 2017 class
5-star WR/CB Darnay Holmes, the No. 2 cornerback in the 2017 class and No. 3 prospect out of California
4-star S Jaylen Kelly-Powell, the No. 20 safety in the 2017 class
4-star CB/WR Thomas Graham, the No. 6 cornerback in the 2017 class
4-star Jaylon Redd, the No. 26 cornerback in the 2017 class
Think about this. Since 2010, Nebraska has only hosted four 5-star recruits total — Andrus Peat and Jonathan Bullard in 2012, Aaron Green in 2011 and Owamagbe Odighizuwa in 2010, according to a deep dive of Huskers recruiting by the Omaha World-Herald.
Three will be on the sideline on Saturday.
That says two things about Nebraska.
- Mike Riley can recruit. And he can, at the very least, bring talent to Lincoln.
- Even getting a visit, just a visit, shows Nebraska’s future is extremely bright.
Even scoring just one of the three 5-stars, or two of the three 4-stars, would skyrocket Nebraska’s rankings in the recruiting lists, and more eyes would shoot to Nebraska for top recruits.
With Holmes will be 4-star commits QB Tristan Gebbia and WR Keyshawn Johnson Jr.
If the game becomes a blowout, and you’re near the field, it might be worth trying to find the group of recruits taking in the game. You might be looking at the future of Nebraska football.
Keith Williams back on the field, and with recruits
One of Nebraska’s key recruiters, wide receivers coach Keith Williams, was allowed back at practice after a two-week suspension without pay after he was arrested on a DUI charge just over two weeks ago.
After a two-week hiatus on Twitter, where Williams has gained quite a following, Williams tweeted a few things on Thursday morning.
Williams will be able to talk to recruits on Saturday, just not at the game. Williams is suspended from coaching the first four games of the Nebraska season.
Keyshawn beats Holmes
Mike Schaefer, a 247sports reporter, is in Calabasas, Calif., this week and caught a glimpse of an intriguing daily matchup in practice: Holmes vs. Keyshawn Johnson Jr.
— Mike Schaefer (@mikejschaefer) September 1, 2016
- I’m a big fan of putting friends up against each other by starting small, insignificant fights, so for game weeks instead of giving you a straight prediction of the game I want to give you a few over/under faux bets to debate among yourselves. There are no prizes other than bragging rights or calling me out on Twitter for bad over/unders. So here are a few for Fresno State:
- Line: 30.5 (Vegas line is currently 28.5. Gonna bump that up.)
- Tommy Armstrong passing attempts: 23.5
- Nebraska second-quarter TDs: 3.5
- It seems like Kenny Bell’s bad preseason in Tampa Bay is getting worse.
- In case you missed it, Tom Osborne had some not-so-great words for Bo Pelini on Thursday.
- In terms of how fans will react to this season, this column from Dirk Chatelain of the Omaha World-Herald about hit the nail on the head.
- FOX is predicting Nebraska will play in the Outback Bowl.
- Have fun this weekend. Be safe. Take a deep breath. You made it. Welcome to football season.
Chris Heady is a staff writer for Landof10 and covers Nebraska football and recruiting. He’s on Twitter @heady_chris.