ORLANDO, Fla. — Nebraska is on the hunt for talent at defensive tackle. This much is clear. D-line coach Rick Kaczenski provided a brief update on the recruiting process after practice Thursday.
Kaczenski said the Huskers would like to add two defensive tackles to the 2013 class (which currently has zero true D-tackles). Presumably, they’d take more — because the concern, at least according to Kaczenski, is depth.
But there’s a problem. Kaczenski indicated that the ready-made prospects have been staying close to home, lured by the top-level programs in their backyards. And that means Nebraska has had to go after developmental guys, who have potential but would likely go through growing pains.
Said Kaczenski of NU’s evaluation process: “A lot of it’s a projection because the no-brainers, they’re hard to get.”
Everybody wants the top-tier defensive tackles, he said before adding this: “Those guys, they’ve got a home state. It’s hard to beat home states. You’re recruiting kids from California, Florida and Texas. Those in-state schools offer them, it’s tough to beat them nowadays — with the economy, the travel, the parents wanting to see their kids play.”
So Nebraska is trying to identify recruits it can mold into stars, at least in this 2013 class. There are some on the roster — “I like our young guys,” Kaczenski said. But the Huskers need more of them.
“This league, it just beats up on you,” he said. “We’ve got to gain some depth.”
JUCO DT Ben Bradley, out of Hutchinson Community College, will reportedly decide between Nebraska and Missouri on Friday.
But creating depth isn’t done through the junior college circuit, according to Kaczenski. “You’re recruiting guys to come in and help you right away,” he said.
Kaczenski added that measurables and physical gifts don’t always translate to success at this level. Some of the best players he’s coached weren’t highly regarded. (Presumably, he’s indicating that you can be successful while relying on under-the-radar DT prospects to develop).
Again, though, Kaczenski would like to add more guys.
Said Kaczenski: “You can’t get caught up in the numbers, you just look at the tape and say, ‘This guy’s a good football player.’ We obviously need more of that.”
See also: Practice quick hits