We’re back! Where have we been?
Waiting. Waiting to see where Nebraska — after a strong start to the 2014 recruiting class — would head with a class that still needs defensive playmakers.
After two bye weeks, and a slow September and October — just one commit in roughly 60 days — NU appears to have charted a course for looking through the junior college ranks for defensive players. In an era where top conference schools can’t pluck partial qualifiers, it’s a better option than it used to be. We’ll have more in a recruiting column Friday.
As of Tuesday night here’s Nebraska’s rank in each of the major recruiting services:
247Sports Composite: 46th nationally, 7th Big Ten
Rivals: 45th nationally, 6th Big Ten
Scout: 45th nationally, 7th Big Ten
ESPN: 38th nationally, 6th Big Ten
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.
Brian Wallace, 6-6/300, OT, St. Louis Christian Brothers: NU, Bama, Iowa, Arkansas
One of Nebraska’s top tackle targets is down to the above four teams. NU’s right in the thick of it. He told 247Sports he could make his decision Jan. 4, 2014 at the U.S. Army All-American game after he takes his official visits to each school.
Though he’s not my top tackle target, Wallace would be a big get for Nebraska after landing top strong offensive tackles — David Knevel and Dwayne Johnson — in the 2013 class. The Bama offer is a concern, but Iowa’s put its share of eggs into the basket, and the Hawkeyes have a strong offensive line reputation of their own.
Nick Gates, 6-4/270, OT, Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman): Bama, Oregon, NU, Texas A&M, Arizona
Here would be my top tackle target, regardless of how recruiting services feel about him. He’s a little short for a tackle, but he makes up for it elsewhere. Gates camped at NU this summer and did well, and, beyond that, he has a nice flexibility to pull and pass set that I really like.
Per Huskers Illustrated, Barney Cotton’s handled the recruiting here — Gorman’s coach, Tony Sanchez, is close with Cotton — and Gates has a strong relationship.
“We still have a good bond,” he told HI. “We talk once a week or at least every other week. We talk about football and other stuff. It’s all sorts of things. I can talk to him about anything, it’s not just always football.”
A Gates/Wallace match would set up NU’s offensive line for years.
Madre London, 6-1/200, RB, Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas: NU, Wisky, MSU, Illinois.
The Florida kid appears headed to Big Ten country, as he’ll pick soon between the four schools above that he’s visited. I suspect the Huskers and Wisconsin have the edge, but we’ll see.
Fred Warner 6-3/205, OLB, San Marcos (Calif.) Mission Hills: BYU, NU, USC
The lanky BYU commit — who plays like a stand-up 3-4 backer and reminds me a lot of what Thomas Brown was supposed to be — is still getting plenty of attention from the Huskers, and thinking about returning it with an official visit.
“I know they have one of the best football facilities in the country and all their games have been sold out since I don’t even know when,” Warner told Husker Online. “It’s the only football team in that state so they have a great fan base.”
Shyquawn Pulliam, 6-1/190, CB, Blinn (Texas) C.C.: Kentucky, NU, Baylor, Cincy
247: 3/101 JUCO/2
247C: 3/74 JUCO/2
Husker Online and Big Red Report both ran down this new NU offer out of Blinn. Originally from NU defensive line coach Rick Kaczenski’s high school alma mater — Erie (Pa.) Cathedral Prep — Pullium committed to Penn State out of high school, but failed to academically qualify. PSU’s sanctions leave the Nittany Lions with little-to-no room to accommodate a kid like Pullium now. One thing I like about Pullium: He’ll play the run. As a corner, he tends to duck under receivers and use his speed and length to catch up.
Kalen Ballage, 6-2/215, ATH, Falcon (Colo): Oregon, Michigan St, Boise, NU, Arizona St, ND
When Ron Brown locks in on a guy, he usually makes a strong case, and Ballage — who would play running back at NU — is no exception. He still plans to take an official visit, though he’s setting all his visits for after the season.
Calvin Heurtelou, 6-4/305, DT, Scottsdale (Ariz.) CC: Miami, KSU, Mizzou, Vols, NU, Wisky
247: 3/42 JUCO/11
247C: 3/68 JUCO/11
After striking out entirely last year and missing on Fort Scott (Kan.) stud Abu Lamin this year, Nebraska’s back on the junior college DT road, looking to find an interior version of Randy Gregory. Heurtelou — whose recruiting was already pretty far down the road when Kaczenski poked in with an offer — seems to be a key target. His Hudl highlight video shows a strong, technique-sound player, if not a superior athlete.
“I’m just waiting to set up my visit to Nebraska,” Heurtelou told Husker Online. “Right now it looks like we are having a little bit of a scheduling conflict with setting up that visit. When my weekends are free they have been on the road. I’ll probably end up visiting there after the season.”
Jarran Reed, 6-4/300, DT, East Mississippi C.C.: Unknown
247: 4/12 JUCO/2
247C: 3/39 JUCO/6
ESPN: 3/89 JUCO/15
Good find by Big Red Report here. Reed signed with Florida, failed to academically qualify, so he went back to junior college. This could be a lucky break for NU, since Reed is a pretty powerful-looking tackle.
Josh Keys, 6-2/185, DB, Gulf Coast (Miss.) C.C.: Pokes, Texas Tech, USC, Ohio State, NU
247: 3/45 JUCO/5
247C: 3/66 JUCO/9
Another find by Big Red Report. Keys, who could fit at safety, corner or nickel, had narrowed his list down to four (with Texas Tech coming on strong) but perhaps it’s loosened up a little. His Hudl highlight film suggest he’d play better from depth — that is, safety — than corner. Big hitter. Will have to lower the head on those big hits.
Renell Wren, 6-5/247, DE, St. Louis (Lutheran North): NU, Purdue, Arizona State
Nebraska’s in the final three and will get an official visit along with the Boilermakers and Sun Devils. Why NU?
“They are just a huge environment all around,” Wren told Scout. “They have good academics, and the coaches are experienced guys that will take their players to the next level.”
Wren’s a big kid. Greg McMullen big. He’ll play north of 260, I suspect, and could play offensive tackle or slide inside to defensive tackle. Regardless, he’ll need a year.
Easton Stick, 6-2/205, QB, Omaha Creighton Prep: North Dakota State
Committed to North Dakota State, where he’ll play for the top FCS program. Nebraska obviously hasn’t offered yet, and neither have the programs around the area — Iowa, Iowa State, Minnesota, Colorado — that frankly need quarterbacks worse than the Huskers do. They may come to regret that.
Jalen Jelks, 6-7/250, DT, Phoenix Desert Vista: Oregon
Committed months ago to the Ducks. Figured you’d want closure.
Quinton Flowers, 6-0/210, QB, Miami (Jackson): South Florida
Committed to South Florida. Nebraska wanted him at quarterback, as did USF. We’ll see if it actually happens in a system patterned on Stanford’s offense. I doubt it.