Combine Invitations Highlight Player Development

Nebraska had three players invited to the NFL combine.  They were receiver Quincy Enunwa, cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste and offensive lineman Spencer Long.  If you rewind to the 2009/2010 time period when these players were recruited, none of them were highly rated prospects coming out of high school. 

 

Long was of course a walk-on but by his junior season was an all-conference offensive lineman.  If not for injuries, he was projected to become an All-American on the offensive line.  His brother also walked-on and rose to the top of the depth chart at tight end as a senior.

Enunwa was offered a scholarship by Washington State, but did not have the top programs in the country beating down his door.  He was rated a two to three-star prospect coming out fo high school but finished in the top ten all-time at Nebraska in receptions and receiving yards and in the top five for touchdown catches.  His high school combine number for the 40 yard dash was 4.65.  At the NFL combine, he reduced that to 4.45 despite having added 28 pounds.  It was good weight as he was a standout lifter in Indianapolis.  

Stanley Jean-Baptiste was sort of an off-the-radar recruit coming out of school.  He got a look from programs like Colorado and Clemson but needed to spend a year at prep school and another in junior college before choosing Nebraska in June 2010 (well after national letter of intent signing day).  By his senior season he'd been a second-team all-conference player and earned a Senior Bowl invitation in addition to the NFL combine.  He scored the top vertical leap and a standout broad jump among cornerbacks in attendance.  With his big frame, he's drawn comparisons to Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman.

For those who want to wring their hands over recruiting, note that none of these three names would have excited Nebraska fans in 2009 or 2010.  Now they've emerged from a pack of seniors at NU (that included four-star prospects like Andrew Rodriguez, Jason Ankrah, Jeremiah Sirles, and Cody Green).  

It's just another reminder to take recruiting rankings with a huge grain of salt.  Years from now we could easily be touting a two-star or walk-on player over a top-rated recruit.

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Comments 8 comments so far

Kudos to these players for getting invited to the combine.  Player developement is not totally in the hands of the coaches, you need the players to have the work ethic and desire to become a better player no matter if they were a 2* or 5* out of high school.  In todays society with so much emphasis put on sports you will find kids that have been praised for most of their lives for the talent they have and it becomes hard for them when they get to college and see so many kids with similiar talent and they are no longer the standout.  Than you find the kids that were maybe overlooked by some of the “top” colleges or rating services and have more of a desire to prove themselves. So my hat is off to these young men for taking there talents and with the help of coaches developing into the players they became.  Best of luck to them.  GBR

I like the articles of late!  Now there will be a few that will talk about how Bo doesn’t develop players, but look over the last few years, and see who we have put in the NFL, and none of those were 5 star.  People lose sight of what all of this really is about, and it is about the players, they have to move into the next level, or rely on the education that they get, period.  We as fans tend to forget that from time to time.
I think the coaches are doing well with the kids!  We will get where we need to be, it takes time, this isn’t the 80s or 90s anymore.

GBR!

Exactly what I’ve been saying Steve. We don’t need to wring our hands because we didn’t get a bunch of 5 stars. Of late many of our highest ranked recuits have not turned out to be that wonderful while some of these guys that flew lower than the radar have excelled.

Congrats to those 3 players. 

AND, yeah, we need some 5 star players, as may as possible, just axt Bama.

larr,

I already been thru this, alotta 5 * players are 5* because they’ve worked their asses off to be 5*s, probably most of them.  It’s not just talent, and its an insult to any player whose worked his/her ass off to be a 5 * player.  AND alot of 2* players are 2* because they havent worked.  SO, that whole assumption of ‘heart’ and stuff doesnt hold water across the board.

Tdogg don’t think I said anything to insult a 5* player unless you think “it becomes hard for them when they get to college and see so many kids with similiar talent and they are no longer the standout” an insult.  Also I think you will find in every program kids that were overlooked by the rating service and “top” schools that admit they had a chip on there shoulders because of that, so to say I am insulting any 5* kid is absurd.  I applaud them for there God given talent and the talent they have worked hard to achieve.  You can’t honestly say that any kid 2* or 5* that has gone on to the next level gets smacked in the face that they are no longer the HS standout and there is numerous kids with the same or more talent than them.  There are alot of 4* out there that are probably not rated as high because of posistion or area they are from.  Yes it is nice to have them but if you look at the NFL rosters you will see more kids that weren’t 5* but young men that had a desire to prove themselves.  I have seen many athletes that have tremendous talent but at some point they just get burned out after all the years at the different levels they are asked to compete at.  Give me a really good QB and surround me with some good (not great) players and I will have a team that can compete with most.

larr,

the genral story line pumped over and over and over by Neb Fan, since we aint gettin no 5* guys IS:  “Meh, we dont need em anyway, get us some 2-3* guys, you know, the guys with work ethic and heart, walk-ons that ‘represent’”  blah blah blah.  What I’m sayin is this is all sour grapes and a false representation most 5* athletes, of whom we DO need if we are ever gonna get over the hump.

We just need the RIGHT guys, regardless of *‘s.  It is the coaches’ job to figure that part out, and it seems to me they do a pretty good job and are getting better.  We also need position coaches that teach fundamentals, technique, and poise under pressure.  Position coaches tends to move on, so it is up to the head coach to ensure we have the right position coaches (and coordinators).  Again, getting better, I think.  We shall see.

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