The 2014 recruiting cycle inched beyond its midpoint into what tends to be an interesting time for Nebraska football: official visit season. The visit notifications are trickling in bit by bit — slower than some fans may like — as NU tries to address recruiting needs on the defensive side of the ball. Bottom line: Recruiting sites, beat reporters such as myself, and fans will know a lot more over the next ten days as to how many recruits will hit Lincoln in September — when there are four straight home games to use for official visits — and how many wait until deep into the Big Ten season, when games against Northwestern, and Michigan State may present more electric atmospheres.
As of today, here’s Nebraska’s rank in each of the major recruiting services:
247Sports Composite: 53rd nationally, 7th Big Ten
Rivals: 48th nationally, 7th Big Ten
Scout: 52nd nationally, 8th Big Ten
ESPN: 35th nationally, 5th Big Ten
They’re not great, but they’ll also rise as the Huskers get more commits. I still project NU for third or fourth in the Big Ten, with Wisconsin being the swing program. The Badgers are off to a very good start and have several top prospects rolling in this fall for visits.
On with the update.
The prospects are listed with name, height/weight, position, town/school and top schools involved.
After each recruiting service’s designation (247: 247Sports; 247C: 247Sports Composite ranking; R: Rivals; S: Scout; E: ESPN), you’ll see numbers. Here’s the key for those: Star ranking/National ranking/Position Ranking.
An “NR” means they’re not ranked at this time. A bolded ranking denotes the prospect’s highest evaluation. An italicized ranking denotes the prospect’s lowest evaluation.
Peyton Newell, 6-3/280, DT, Hiawatha (Kan.): NU, South Carolina, KSU, KU
Newell’s still on track to announce his college choice Aug. 30 at his high school. Nebraska’s in the final group and still stands a good shot of landing Newell’s services. His commit would be a big boost for the Huskers heading into the season, and he’d also be the kind of guy who can help NU recruit others. Newell’s dropped a bit in recruiting rankings, which I’d suspect is based on the camp performances of other players at his position.
Rohan Blackwood, 6-5/215, DE, Brooksville (Fla.) Nature Coast: NU, USF, Wisky, Miss. St., Miami
Like Gregory, Blackwood is a converted basketball player. As you’ll see in this story from the Tampa Bay Times, Blackwood was considered one of the nation’s top hoops prospects as a freshman — when he was already 6-foot-4 — but he hasn’t grown much since then. Basketball’s loss could be the Huskers’ gain.
Deandre Scott, 5-8/180, CB, Philadelphia (Imhotep Institute): NU, UCF, ASU, Syracuse, Miami, Texas
Scott will take an official visit to Lincoln on Sept. 21 for the South Dakota State game. He told Husker Online NU is recruiting him for corner.
“I want to see what the city is like out there in Nebraska,” Scott told HO. “I want to know if I can see myself living out there if I do decide to commit. I want to talk to a couple of the commits to see how Nebraska is and to some of the players to get a feel for how the Nebraska football program is.”
After a few conversations with folks I trust and watching several videos of Scott, I’m comfortable writing Scott is underrated despite playing overmatched competition. Physically developed, good ball skills, plays well close to the line of scrimmage, plus tackler. If Nebraska reels him in, his short stature will be easy to overlook.
Madre London, 6-1/200, RB, Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas: NU, MSU, Wisky
It looks like a Big Ten battle for this Florida kid. The Huskers and Spartans are the top two teams, with the Badgers lurking right there on the edge. London takes his NU official visit Sept. 7 for the Southern Miss game. He visits the Badgers Sept. 21 and the Spartans Oct. 11
“Nebraska and Michigan State,” London told 247Sports when asked his two favorites. “Nebraska doesn’t have a lot of running backs and I’m cool with all of the Michigan State commits. I know some of the players that go there. Both schools run the ball a lot.”
The Huskers seem committed to recruiting a big back in each class now, and London is in the similar mold of Imani Cross and Adam Taylor. Don’t worry too much about the low ratings; so many running backs are bunched together, and there isn’t much difference between the No. 40 running back and the No. 100 running back, aside from perception.
Josh Kalu, 6-1/170, DB, Houston Alief Taylor: CU, Duke, Houston, NU, Rice
Kalu will make an official visit for Nebraska’s Sept. 7 game against Southern Mississippi. He told Husker Online that NU likes him at the nickel spot.
“I’m a safety but can roll down and play a nickel position so I bring that to the game,” Kalu said. “I’m a safety, but if they think nickel is where I could prosper the most then why not do it. I’m open to anything.”
If the Huskers make a strong impression on Kalu, he could be NU’s next defensive back commit.
Tony James, 5-9/170, ATH, Gainesville (Fla.): OSU, UK, Ole Miss, NU, Oregon
Nebraska’s still in play for this talented all-purpose back, who has the Huskers in his top five. But does NU need him after landing commits from Demornay Pierson-El and Larenzo Stewart?
“I actually haven’t spoken with Nebraska in a while. It was probably when they came out to school was the last time, some time early in the summer,” James told Husker Online. “One of my teammates told me about them so I know they’re a spread team that I like. It’s my style of running. I’ve heard their head coach is cool, too.”
Tyreek Hill, 5-9/185, RB/WR, Garden City (Kan.) CC: Bama, FSU, Oregon, NU
The super-sprinter who may have a bigger future in track than football seems to have Oregon, Alabama and Florida State in his top three, according to Rivals.
Henre Toliver, 6-1/165, CB, New Orleans Rummel: Arkansas
Committed to Arkansas when his Rummel teammate, Dwayne Eugene, did. Eugene didn’t have many of the quality offers that Toliver did.