If the recruit fruit of Nebraska’s first Big Red Weekend is limited to a long snapper (Gabe Miller) and one of the best safety prospects in the country (Nathan Gerry, believe it), it was success enough.
But NU hosted almost 20 prospects to a night of barbecue, video games and even a home run contest. It expects — and will likely get — a bigger return on its investment in coming months.
Two targets — Kansas City (Mo.) Rockhurst guard Zach Hannon and Port Allen, La., linebacker Darian Claiborne — nearly committed during the visit, but held off. Two others — Gaithersburg (Md.) Quince Orchard linebacker Marcus Newby and Los Angeles Chaminade running back Terrell Newby — have a lot more to chew on now.
Here’s a quick rundown of Big Red Weekend updates from Huskers Illustrated — a recruiting partner with The World-Herald.
Newby expected cornfields. He found considerably more in Lincoln.
“Those are probably the best facilities I’ve seen on all my visits so far,” Newby said. “The weight room stood out and everything is grouped so well together. The weight room is huge and their player lounge is really good. All the facilities were great.
And: ““They were telling me about how I’d fit in the program,” he said. “They really want me here at Nebraska. They are recruiting me hard.”
He’s off to Oklahoma next. Newby’s looking at Maryland, Penn State, Rutgers, West Virginia and Penn State.
Hannon brought seven family members — including his grandma — to Lincoln, and nearly verbally committed to NU on the trip.
“What stood out this time was interacting with the other commits and the other players,” Hannon said Saturday evening on his way back to Kansas City with his family. “That’s my third time coming up, but I have pretty much seen everything. It was on another level interacting with other people, that was what really helped me feel comfortable.
“I’m not going to sugar coat it, they were definitely in my ear. I’m not going to lie, it didn’t bother me because walking away from this visit I felt a lot more comfortable.”
Hannon’s down to Arkansas, Missouri and Nebraska. This will not be an easy pull for the Huskers, even with 2012 NU commit and Rockhurst star Michael Rose working on his former teammate. But it’d be a get. Hannon is a strong-blocking guard prospect.
NU’s coaching staff sat down with Sandland — the nation’s top junior college tight end — to explain how he’d fit into the run and pass game. Sandland liked that, the facilities, and the Husker program’s whole mindset.
“It’s pretty clear that Nebraska puts the players first. It’s all about the players, starting from Coach Pelini all the way down,” Sandland said. “I respect that attitude. The other thing is that if you go play football at Nebraska and you don’t reach your goals and you don’t succeed, you don’t do all the things you envision yourself doing, you have nobody to blame but yourself. They give you all the tools and don’t cut corners. If you come in with the right attitude, wanting to work hard, the sky’s the limit.”
It’s down to Nebraska and Texas A&M for Claiborne unless LSU reverses courses and offers him. (And that’s possible; look at Deion Jones in 2011). But NU made a strong impression here, too. Notice, too, what Claiborne expected to see:
“It was nicer than I thought it would be,” he said. “Oh man it was great and so nice. It was way better than I thought it would be. I thought it would be just a school with fields everywhere. It was just better than I thought.”
The West Coast fast-riser with offers to Oregon, UCLA, Wisconsin and Boise State — among others — liked Nebraska’s laid-back atmosphere.
“It was definitely good and they had a lot of their players involved unlike other schools,” he said. “We just played games and hung out. I didn’t know anyone there because I’m from out west. But over time we really gelled. It was cool.”
Coaches told Harlow he’d start at guard and potentially move to tackle. That makes more sense, and suggests that NU’s top target at tackle in the Phoenix star Kenny Lacy.
After nearly committing to California and canceling his trip to Nebraska entirely, Newby took a flyer and enjoyed his time. Now he wants to return this fall for an official visit, perhaps for the Wisconsin game. Newby plans to spread the word in his LA hangouts spots about Nebraska.
I still think Nebraska gets this kid. Oregon already has two running back signees, and Cal’s program could (will) be in transition after this year. USC or UCLA offering would change the game.
He didn’t get an offer from Nebraska yet, but he was able to work out for defensive backs coach Terry Joseph a bit.
“I would definitely consider Nebraska because of the rich tradition they have there,” he said. “Everything I saw when I was there was nice. The facilities, the campus and the academic part, too.”
Texada has offers Illinois, Indiana and Baylor, among others. The question isn’t his speed, but his size.
I’ll leave you with QB chatter. I know you guys love that.
You’ll recall that Stanton showed up for one day at Nebraska’s quarterback academy, passed the heck out of it and won a scholarship offer two days later.
Now he has QB offers from Oregon, Oregon State and UCLA, too. Now he goes on a family trip to Italy. After that, could there be a decision?
“I’ll be gone all week and it will be a good time for me to think things over,” he said. It’s a huge confidence booster for me to have these new offers and new options to chose from. Quarterbacks tend to commit earlier in the process so I’ll keep that in mind. I could make a decision when I return but I haven’t decided on that yet.”
Stanton’s the best QB still on Nebraska’s offer. He’s bigger than Devante Kincade, he’s a better passer than Daimion Hobbs and he’s won more than both of them. He’s a tough inside runner, too.