Abdullah and Tolbert Opt for Nebraska

The Huskers received a pair of commitments (of differing varieties) yesterday.  All-conference running back Ameer Abdullah announced his intention to return to Nebraska for his senior season.  That move alone solidifies NU's ability to contend for a division title next year.  Looking further down the road, New Orleans wide receiver Jariah Tolbert gave his commitment to Nebraska for the recruiting class of 2014.


It's hard to overstate the value of Abdullah's return.  Not only is he the most talented player on the team, he might be neck and neck with Braxton Miller as the best player in the conference (if not the nation).  If that seems like an exagerration, note that if Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey opts for the NFL (as some expect) Abdullah will be the leading returning rusher in the nation from 2013.

The main question will be how much additional risk Abdullah and the coaching staff want to take on in the pursuit of a Heisman or other records.  A healthy Abdullah will have an opportunity to displace Mike Rozier in the record books as NU's all-time leading rusher, a mark only Ahman Green and Calvin Jones (both early departees to the NFL) ever came as close to following their junior season.  He can also displace Johnny Rodgers for career all-purpose yards.  When you outpace a pair of Heisman trophy winners, it's reasonable to be mentioned as a legitimate Heisman candidate.

Tolbert is sort of an under the radar player who emerged as a senior (many players are evaluated and ranked much earlier after their junior seasons).  So far he's been offered a scholarship by Utah and a number of smaller conference schools.  His body type reminds you of Maurice Purify or Brandon Kinnie.  Tolbert's a little lighter, but is apparently serious about weightlifting, so by his third year (like Purify and Kinnie after stints at junior colleges) could reach 215 lbs.  Both Purify and Kinnie caught more than 80 balls, which certainly rises to the level of a scholarship worthy player.  You like his ability to both block on running plays and compete for contested balls thrown his way.  Don't let the lack of stars by his name fool you, he is a good find.

Both players still have some time to change their minds, so their pick of NU isn't written in stone.  Still, the odds look pretty good for keeping both players.  An all-timer and an up-and-comer.

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Comments 23 comments so far

Abdullah’s decision to stay at NU is wonderful news!!!  Absent an injury next season, he will surely do well and provide excellent publicity for the program and for himself.  Totally a “win/win” situation for all concerned.  Good for Pelini in helping convince Abdullah to stay put.  Had he left for the draft, NU’s running back position, while stocked with potential, would have suffered.  An experienced established running back is hard to replace in a year’s time.  Kudos to all concerned!!!

“As I have told Ameer and other players who have had to make this same choice, I fully support whatever decision they make, and am willing to help in any way I possibly can”.  I guess I look at it like he was willing to help with either decision based on his statement, was there something else said that I missed?

This last few seasons, just like with T-Magic, there was no doubt in coaches minds, who the better I Back was, Abdullah over Heard, Green, then Cross.
The work ethic Abdullah has, he brought with him to Nebraska.
To beat him out, players had to match and surpass his effort, talent and knowledge. Heading into his Senior year, so far, no takers.
Don’t know of the truth of the rumor of Cross considering a transfer, but he did have a rs year to use, if he had wanted to go to a school, back in the south. Now, as an upcoming Junior, he’s a back up again, then he’ll face experienced younger players, who may have the edge in quicks.
He did earn academic all B1G and good students don’t usually just run off, from personal commitments.
So, for Cross, Newby and Taylor, the battle for pecking order really begins. Who’ll be next up, to play a series or two, giving a breather to a 2X lifter of the year?

I fully think Pelini would help them either way.. I know from Suhs situation that Pelini told him that he could help him refine his technique and that he would love to have him back but that anything he could do to help him if he pursued the NFL early he would do. He told him to go and talk with your parents find a list of pros and con’s with each decision and make your choice on what’s best for you and your family . Husker nation wants you back but you Dont owe us anything you’ve done more than enough. Rest is history , he put on one of the most dominating seasons at the DT position in college football history.. I wish Ameer all the good luck and bounces Such got . Also think Tolbert is going to be another Quincy for us.. He had a heck of a senior campaign.. If he would have played like that as a junior he would have had a lot if big name offers.. Welcome to the Family! And Continued prosperity and good health to you Ameer , Glad your staying!

There is no place like Nebraska.
Good old Nebraska U.
Where the girls are the fairest,
the boys are the squarest,
of any old school I knew.

There is no place like Nebraska.
Where we are all true blue.
We’ll all stick together,
in all kinds of weather,
for good old Nebraska U!

I wish no player could move on til after their senior season. It is truly in the players best interests the majority of the time. They need time to develop I think. Look at the senior season Suh had. Didn’t work out so well for Crick because he did get hurt, but he did at least get a chance at the pros. Never heard what ever became of him…he went to Houston if I remember right.
Ameer will have a giant of a season, will lead the nation in rushing, and have his draft stock way up there when the time comes. That letter from him was probably the most mature communication I’ve ever heard from someone that young. He wants to get his education in case the pro career doesn’t pan out…what a novel idea! He was very well raised I’d say. That my friends, is an American!

Pe while I would like to think a college education is important people can still get their degree and get paid.. The purpose of a degree is to get yourself a good job to get comfortable in life.. Now I think Ameer made the best decision for himself but claiming that its in the best interest of the majority of the time I think is a falsehood.. Many of these guys Dont last long in the NFL or never make it but if you play it smart with your rookie contract many of these kids could make more money in a few years then a lot of us in our lifetime.. Some of these kids will never be doctors or lawyers but were given a gift of football and in some situations getting life changing bmoney can change the status of their entire family.. While education is important, is it worth risking your whole livelihood? Keep in mind these kids could come back to school after trying their hand in the NFL.. You named Crick as someone it didn’t work out as well for, what about Rex or Taylor Martinez or Spencer Long.. All could have been drafted a year early, although Taylor at another position, but now might not get that chance.. Is getting their degree today worth a couple of million dollars up front? Especially when they can go back later?.. Not to mention some of the kids come from low income or family situation s were the money could change their entire family’s future.. Maybe paying for all of their children’s future educations.. I guess my point is that I think its good for them to have the option, and to decide on an individual basis.. But Dont get me wrong I’m thrilled he made the decision that was best for him and it aligned with what was best for Husker Nation. Good luck go him and all kids making these tough choices

If a player comes out early and goes low, undrafted, or gets cut does there scholarship go away, or does the schools honor them for a short period?  I think there was something about graduation rate that could effect number of scholarships or something a few years ago. Anyone have any infor on this?

If they come out they are voiding their scholarship.. And it does count against the schools graduation rate, and you can be put on probation and lose scholarships if you have a very poor rate of graduation.. But it isn’t looked into until like 4 years down the road so if they complete school or are re enrolled by then it didn’t count against you.. It can also get you barred from post season play but its only happened a handful of times and is judged on a multiple year basis so one or two years dosnt completely wreck you..  For Neb to get in trouble with this we would need about 50% drop in grad rates for the next few years and I Dont see that happening.. There are also a bunch of appeals for hardships so that’s another reason it seldomly comes up

But once they put their name in for the draft they lose all amateur status and therefore can’t play anymore

Hmmm, things that make you go ‘hmmm’, so I think I will say ‘hmmm’.  Back to the subject of ‘under the radar’ recruits, I know, I’m a pain in the ass, but for some reason this is a topic that just keeps on giving since, you know, we get our fair share of these guys. 

Firstly, Tolbert, 6’4”, good height, 185, kinda slender maybe, Kenny Bell like, but maybe he’ll eat some taters and gravy when he gets here and be able to rock and rolla.  We already stole that Harrison kid from Mizzou, so thats cool, and I am fairly anxious to see what that Gladney kid from ‘13 class brinmgs to the table next year.

But why?  Why do Tulane, Kent St, Utah, No Co, and oh yea NE know about Tolbert and, say, uh, LSU doesnt?  Hmmm?  He’s supposed to be under the radar.

Things that make you go ‘hmmm’.

P. S., sorry to see Frazier go, I really liked that kid alot.

Also, whatever happened to LaTravon Dixon, the on again off again on again then off again recruit we got from Loosiana last year and ended up having to go pay some dues at community college or something—we gonna get him back?  He’s a baller, yo!

Abdu would be/would’ve been stupid to declare early this year—like, Derek Brown stupid.  Remeber that guy?  Was a good talent, wen to the Saints a few years, then done.  What is he doing now, flippin’ burgers White Castle or something?

Alot of these early declarers think they are better than they are and/or are going to make a big splash in the League, when, in fact, they AREN’T and end up shit outta luck after a few years and NO DEGREE and it’s back to the ghetto from wence they came, though maybe with a fancier car than what they were paid in college—used and abused by the System. 

Stay in school, finish the degree, help the team to higher goals—thats my motto.

Haha, I wasn’t going to say anything, but the other WR on Tolbert’s teammate, #18 I think, Speedy Noil, I was watching and figured that was the kid going to LSU or something—yea, 5* guy turns out to be, aTm got him.  We got the project player as per usual.  It’s ok though, we’re good, s’all good, honest we are, we gonna ‘coach him up’.

(p.s., this is nothing at all personal to JT, maybe he’ll be a gamer).

“...get paid.. The purpose of a degree is to get yourself a good job to get comfortable in life…”

So true for most, at least used to be.  And this is in contradiction to actually becoming educated and learning how to think independently and critically.

MBAs unite, get paid!

Hey Dog, what is your ETC for graduation?

and what would ETC be?

Ameer’s statement says a lot about society and the state of college football.  The fact that we are discussing the pros and cons of going pro instead of the pros and cons of higher education speaks volumes of how the NCAA is pimping out scholar-athletes.  I don’t blame him one bit for getting that degree.  He knows the shelf-life of today’s pro running backs.  He decided that his degree is worth more than likely, but not guaranteed millions. Good on you, Ameer, for maintaining your personal values.  His maturity in its own right is what this team needs for the 2014 campaign.  Combine that with his work ethic and locker room leadership, he can help the program turn the corner to reach its potential.

As far as the team is concerned, his return is perhaps the biggest thing next to beating Georgia.  If he puts on 15-25 more pounds of muscle, he will be the front runner for the Doak Walker, and possibly the Big Stiff Arm.  An experienced senior tailback with a developing, but talented sophmore quarterback is undervalued, just like a blocking TE with good hands is.  With those I-backs we have behind Ameer, and Armstrong’s dual threat ability, we should be running the ball down the Big Ten’s throat, which will give our defense some time to breathe.  Let’s get some blowouts to get the reserves some experience and we’ll stay in the top 25.

Speaking on the subject of players going pro vs staying, most people who never played D-1 sports don’t realize that this thing called a “4-year athletic scholarship” is myth.  Athletic scholarships are only for one year.  Coaches have the ability to pull scholarships if they so chose.  That’s one of a bunch of reasons why players are swayed to go pro.  Plus, coaches have no loyalty to kids they didn’t recruit.  That’s why coaches like John Calipari, Brian Kelly and Bobby Petrino are looked at like clowns.  They can just pack up and bounce from a school with impunity, and the program has to pick up the pieces.  Players are forced to possibly learn a new system that they weren’t recruited to play in (i.e. Bill Callahan) and then the program suffers.  The NC-double A-holes know this, but they will make the students suffer before they’ll punish a coach.  As long as they get their revenue from the superconferences, its all gravy.

Rob 10,

Good stuff.  And of course, there is the phenomenon of pushing many athletes through phoney and/or worthless ‘degrees’ just to get them on the playing field since some of them can’t do certain stuff like, well, READ:


Triump I wasn’t saying that Ameer should go pro or getting an education isn’t important.. But for some of these Guys , the risk of coming back for school is greater and could effect their lives negatively if they are hurt and never get that contract.. Would you have told Mozart to stay in school instead of following his musical talents?  Let’s face it Ameer is in a different situation then some athletes, he will more than likely succeed at whatever he does because of drive and intelligence, where as some just have football.  Tyrone Mathieu for example was dumb as a rock but a hell of a football player.. Even with a degree would you have hired just because he had the piece if paper.? . It was obvious the guy had like a 7th grade reading and communication level.. My point was that some of these kids have more to lose than others, and forcing them to stay wouldn’t be in the best interest for all of them.. Part of the whole idea of growing as a person involves people making tough choices, let them do it without blockage.. Also let’s face it ,in some programs they have athletes playing for them who should have never been allowed into college if not for their athletic ability, or kids go to college just for the chance to continue their athletic prowess. If they want to leave and open up a chance for someone that will value that education , let them go..

And the link you posted furthers my argument.. Even if some of those type of athletes stay the full time and they ,shamefully get their diploma, when they walk in to an office to get hired and its obvious they cant read or communicate at an appropriate level their degree does them nothing.. And by shamefully, I’m directing that at the schools not the player.. They should be helped to that level or never given the degree in the first place… And speaking of 4 year degrees they don’t mean as much as they use to in a lot of fields .. There are a lot of people with 4 year degrees whom either don’t have a job or are in positions that wouldn’t require one anyway.. We keep pushing people that should get technical degrees into four year colleges and now we are at a point where we dont have enough people in the tech fields and too many in the others.. So we’ve got all these kids taking out loans for a four year school that will be paying them back for the majority of their lives, while in a lot of cases they could have went the two year tech route without the large amount of loans and have better financial stability.. Sorry that’s a different kind of rant for another day.


Mozart never went to music school, his dad mentored until about the age 7 then he kinda was blowing his dad outta the water and became a court musician for some idiot German Baron in Salzburg—which was like the ‘Omaha’ of music culture(i.e., not happening) by the age of 13 or so.  He eventually escaped that guy and made a name for himself in Leipzig and Vienna, but even so, only made enough $ to support his wife and himself in some sort of comfort for only a few years, then ending up having to pawn most of his possessions before he died at the ripe old age of 35.  And look how many millions have been made off his music ever since.

Anyway, Ameer, like most of those guys, are not ‘Mozarts’, i.e., prodigies, they arent even Lebrons or Cam Newtons, so their shelf life in the league is rather short no matter how they slice it.  It’s probably less risk for them to stay around and get the degree.

Personally, I am not an advocate of formal, institutional schooling of any sort, but thats another ball o wax.  If they ARE in college though, might as well finish it.

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