Huskers Add Two Commits Over Weekend

While neither recruit is likely to generate much hype among fans, the Huskers added two commitments for the class of 2013 over the weekend. Nathan Gerry, a safety prospect from South Dakota, chose Nebraska over division rivals Iowa, Michigan State, and Minnesota. And in what seems like a first in recent history, NU offered a scholarship to a long snapper. Indiana's Gabriel Miller chose Nebraska over Eastern Michigan, though also seemed to be drawing interest from Alabama.

 

The safety position is often difficult to project at Nebraska. It appears to be a critical piece (if not the critical piece) in Bo Pelini's defenses. It clearly requires more than athleticism as Pelini has shown he'll play a trusted walk-on over a four-star scholarship player at the position. Football IQ seems to be the top requirement and is so hard to judge for a player that has yet to attempt to learn Pelini's playbook. The positive in Gerry's case is that he participated in Nebraska's camp. So they had arguably a better chance to evaluate him for the position than they would a player that hadn't made it to NU's camp. There has to be some pure athletic talent there too in order to draw as many scholarship offers as he has.

Miller might be the more controversial pick. Is it overpaying to offer a scholarship at a position that can often be filled with a walk-on? Alabama apparently offered one to Cole Mazza out of high school in the last week, that was accepted. This is after Mazza had committed to UCLA. P.J. Mangieri is set to graduate after the 2012 season leaving only walk-on sophomore Joseph Rotherham on the roster for 2013. Miller already outweights Rotherham by 15 pounds and seems to have been the more sought after prospect out of high school. In fact, when people inevitably ask who out of the class of 2013 is likely to play early, the best answer might be Miller. Likewise, Miller might have one of the clearer paths to the NFL. Probably not as a draftee, but the top handful of long snappers definitely get a look at the pro level and the experts on long snapping (such people exist) believe that Miller is as good as there is.

The value of long snapping is most evident when errors are made. Those errors can be pretty costly. For example, in Nebraska's national championship victory over Miami in the Orange Bowl after the 1994 season there was a sequence where a bad snap by Miami appeared to set up an easy scoring opportunity for the Huskers. Brook Berringer threw an interception soon afterward, which may have prompted Tom Osborne to re-insert Tommie Frazier into the game. The change of field position also still helped Nebraska even with the touchback on the interception. Without that bad snap, who's to say how that game might have turned out? Likewise a bad snap by Nebraska in 2002 likely cost NU a field goal that might have been the difference in their 27-24 loss to Texas. If the Huskers had won that game perhaps that would have been sufficient for Frank Solich to keep his job as head coach after the following season. The Callahan years might never have happened. So maybe avoiding a bad snap at a critical juncture is worth paying retail on a scholarship. Nick Saban seems to think so.

In either case, the Huskers added two more players that they wanted. That's always a positive.

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Comments 11 comments so far

Good writeup on Miller here: http://www.rubiolongsnapping.com/player-profiles/2013/2908/PlayerProfile.html 

He was the #3 snapper at this class, #1 was Masa (Alabama) and a kid that is going ot Michigan. I have no problem with his offer/commit.

I have no problems with this one either. Good get!

Welcome Nathan and Gabriel!

GBR

Hey, by the looks of that web site regarding long snappers above, and specifically our new one, did anyone notice he’s a 5 star! At least on that site. I wonder what Rivals and Scout have him as. Good get I think on this kid. Very important position. I don’t know about Gerry. How can a big white kid from S Dakota be a safety? Aren’t those for smaller fast guys, like Stafford? He looks more like a TE to me. But what do I know. Not exactly a coach. The class is coming along though with good numbers to this point. More than a lot of our rivals. It amazes me how lousey Wisconsins recruiting is. Hardly anyone so far and they never have top recruiting classes, but put fantastic teams on the field. Same with Boise State. Then there are the Texas’ and Nortre Dame’s of the world that can get elite talent every year and can do nothing with it. Hmmm…where are we?
If we can get like one elite recruit our class just may be in teh top 20 by the time it’s done. hate to be outdone by the likes of Vanderbuilt!

PE
MOst of the recruiting pundits have us at about #18 on recruiting team rankings, but they dont really matter much.. These team recruiting numbers dont show who fits a system or is willing to put in the work.. Dont get me wrong if you can find a 5 star willing to work his arse off thats what you want.. But I would definately take a 3 or 4 star guy that thinks he was to work for his position then a 5 star that believes he deserves it..  and I dont think theres any question we will end up in the top 15 teams as far as recruits go as long as we fill out the class

Also Im all for offering the LOng snapper, its not something you do every year but every 3 or 4 .. Kind of like a kicker if you have a nice number of scholarships you can give one out at that position.. I think people also need to realize the Pj has a scholarship now and essentially this kid is coming in to replace him.. Why build up a kid from the O-Line whom might not be any good at snapping , when you can get one of the best , NOW! This position is not like bringing in a oline guy or a linebacker or any of that.. He really dosnt need to get any bigger or stronger to be able to play his position.. LIke the article said he might end getting the most playing time out of any of these kids in his first year..

PE;

Yes, recruiting rankings can drive a guy crazy. Places like CFB Matrix make a very, very good case for their importance. One just can’t deny the numbers.

Otoh, if they’re so accurate, as you mentioned, how does bloody KSU beat Texas the last four years in a row?? How does Notre Dame lose to everybody? Why has Florida fallen off a cliff the last couple of years? It goes on forever.

Haha….it’s a crazy world.

I take it back on the big white kid from SD…saw some film, the guys good. Good physique too. I was surprised. I wouldn’t want to fight him, put it that way. Might be a good pick up.
#18 now? Awesome! If we end up in the top 15 I will be ecstatic. That’s where we need to be right now…and getting better of course. The Big Red Weekend seems to have been a tremendous thing. I was just reading about all the big name schools and their camps and the Elite 11 type of camps and it seems like a great recruiting idea. Especially if yours becomes highly popular and grows it’s reputation. Turns out it worked in our first attempt. Thinking out of the box, that’s good! Keep it up guys! Because of it, there are a few real good guys, top 4 stars in fact,  that are now highly interested in Nebraska. Blows my mind that these guys have no idea what or who Nebraska is. They think they are coming into cornfields and some little team. They get their mind blown is what happens. I’d love to be the opening speaker introducing these kids to Nebraska…you could put on a show couldn’t you? You could put together a hell of a highlight “This is Nebraska” type video and really blow some people away. And that is where, right after they see all those famous plays by Tommie frazier, is when I’d bring in…Tommie Frazier. Why not? It would blow these kids minds! And the dude lives in Omaha. He’d love to. Same with Crouch. Bring in Johnny the Jet baby! Let these kids meet some of these legends. Our guys would love it to I think. Is Grant Wistrom around anywhere close? What about Dave Rimington; only one of our players that has a trophy is named after him. Maybe Dean Steinkuhler could have helped Andreas Peat be pursuaded to come here. That would be impressive. I don’t know if they’re using, or can use our full resources. And what about guys who leave a university? Transfers and such. Top running back Michael Dyer was on the market recently, ended up going to Arkansas State. Damn lucky for them! Marcus Coker left Iowa, he available?  Anybody calling these guys? They’re not all dismissals or problem guys. Aaron Green was an example of that. Didn’t work out here, went to TCU. Wisconsin did it, or something similar, with Wilson last year. Why don’t we pick up a player or two once in a while that way?

It blows your mind how many kids don’t know anything about Nebraska?
Really?

I hate this too, but it isn’t that surprising when you consider that a 17 year-old was born in 1995. That means that the last time N won a national title, they were 2 years old.

The last time Nebraska had a run at the title (2001), these kids were 6.
Do you remember watching football at 6?

Apparently BYU won the national title when I was 6 (1984) by beating an unranked Michigan team in the Holiday Bowl.

How that isn’t burned into my memory I will never know.

I teeter between thinking “hey, we’re winning and coming very close to championships with the talent level we have, maybe they’re not doing such a bad job, it’s a matter of coaching and refining your team”, and “we need to hire an ace recruiter and get this thing going”. I point to the fact that there have been other people here (Bill Calahan, TO) that have recruited better than these guys.
I think we have 6 guys that have a 4 star ranking with at least one of the ranking services now in this class. I think that’s important. I’m glad we’re are #18. I want in the top 15. I think we were close to that in 2011 weren’t we? That is really a good indicator of how you will fare, especially since Bo and Co haven’t proven they are a truly great coaching unit yet. They’re getting there but have a ways to go. I really think they will in time, and I think in a couple of years or so we’ll all be looking at a team with much fewer question marks and discipline/on the field problems. We’re getting a ton of national exposure this year so that will help. Playing in a B1G Championship game would help a lot. You can realistically only go so far with the talent you have is the thing. Superb coaching effects the outcome of games tremendously of course, so does the stadium and where the game is played, but talent level is key to being an elite team. Having talent and not achieving big things (Texas/Notre Dame) is truly a shame. I feel strongly that if this coaching staff had the elite talent, they’d be an elite team. No question. The only way to attract that level of talent though is win with what you have on hand and continue to develop. We’re in a position to where we have to win to recruit instead of recruiting to win. The need for ace recruiting is blaring. It is getting better I must say though. They’re filling out this class nicely. Els seems to be on top of it. But they still haven’t reeled in any nationally recognized and highly ranked kid in forever that was very close to being the best in the nation at his position. Winning the Peat battle sure would have been nice. Sua Cravens coming here would have been a huge coup for Bo. It’ll come.

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