Huskers Lose Lowest-Rated Recruit, Add Four-Star

For the second time in this recruiting cycle, Nebraska saw an under the radar defensive back commit go back on his word and pick another school.  Chance Waz of Texas has opted for Baylor after giving a verbal pledge to NU.  Thankfully, the Huskers followed up by getting another standout defensive line commitment from the junior college ranks that's been courted by Alabama in Joe Keels of Highland Community College in Kansas.


Given the choice between the defensive back or lineman, you'd take that lineman every time.  The great arms race in college football is for standout defensive line talent.  Husker fans saw how important Randy Gregory was this past season.  Likewise, Ra'Shede Hageman played a huge role in the success of Minnesota this year.  In fact, every team that placed a defensive lineman on the coaches' first or second-team all-conference list finished with a winning record.  That's no coincidence.  Conference champion Michigan State had a first team end, and runner-up Ohio State had two second-team players.

Keels can join the team in January and play three seasons.  That should allow the Huskers to get him into the mix immediately.  What shows up on his recruiting tape is both the ability to rush with power but also the speed and hustle to pursue plays laterally sideline to sideline.  He's a versatile player that can stand up or even play inside.  You see discipline where he breaks down to make sure he holds his position and makes the play.  He plays through the whistle.  It seems clear he'll punish teams that don't block well on the back side.  A lot of his highlights came on zone read plays, which make him appear the kind of player you want facing dual-threat quarterbacks.  Keels had previously committed to Wisconsin and chances are he'll continue to be pursued relentlessly by other schools up through signing day.

For those who like to see Nebraska climb in the recruiting rankings, the decommitment by Waz could actually be a positive.  Other than kicker Drew Brown (a position that is always de-emphasized in recruiting rankings), he was the lowest rated recruit that NU had.  He still had an offer to Colorado prior to the Huskers.  Staying closer to home with Baylor now appears to be his plan.  

With rumors swirling about Mack Brown retiring, you wonder if the door might be open for previous defensive back decommit Jason Hall to repledge to NU.  Junior college safety Byerson Cockrell recently joined the mix at defensive back, which also softens the departure of Waz.  Josh Keys, another big juco DB is also on the radar.  

There are still a number of open positions in the recruiting class to fill and a lot work to hold those already committed.  There's plenty more to come in the next 8 weeks when it comes to recruiting.

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Comments 19 comments so far

Good stuff! I wish I didn’t, but I follow this recruiting stuff pretty closely too. There are a lot of really prospects that have a very good probability of coming to NU still. Kalen Ballage, Darius Slade, Brandon Powell, Josh Keys, Danzel McDaniel, Raymon Minor… and those are only the ones that we know of. All of a sudden this class looks like it has some potential… got to give Bo and crew credit when due. GBR.

Darn Tootin!!!

And slade commits!!!!

And now, Defensive End Commit Darius Slade.  A three star that seems a bit underrated.  Turned down Michigan State, Penn State, among other offers.

Some highlights:

Just think if Bo and company were good recruiters where we would be!!(sarcasm to Bo haters) These guys with the talent coming back will make alot of noise next year.  My only concern is that with all the criticism that Bo has been under I hope we are not going for a quick fix on this with JUCO’S and long term comes back to hurt us.  Just really happy to see the talent that they are getting.  Great job coaches and thanks for the time and effort that you are putting into this. 

The recruiting isn’t the problem—it’s devising and executing schemes that make them successful.

Welcome to the Family Mr. Slade !!! This class is hitting on all cylinders..  Were picking up depth at all the positions of need so far.. Hopefully we add another Juco DB, Juco WR, One or two Highschool DBS, Another bigger RB, and a top tier linebacker to help continue to add the depth for next season.. It looks like Pelini and company are going all in for next year, and I for am damn happy about it..

And since I already said it on the other thread, but should here too.. DAMN NICE TO HAVE YOU MR KEELS.. Our D LINE is going to be dangerous… GREGORY, VALENTINE , CLINK, and KEELS or Moss starting with Collins, Avery , Williams, Maurice, Slade , Newell , etc providing depth ,, The nice thing is all are needed .. Can never have enough talent up front, they make or break ya.. WELCOME TO THE FAMILY GUYS!!! And It looks like the potential is there to have a dominating line for years to come!

AJ NATTER can throw his name in there as well at DE Things looking mighty good for a staff that “can’t recruit”.  Give me the 3 and 4 star guys less attitude of “me” and more about team.  Time to start kicking butt again.  GBR

I forgot a couple of guys off the top of my head that’s why I threw the etc in there McMullen and Curry come to mind now too.. Theres a chance that we take another high school DE or DT in this class as well.. Its really one group that you cant have too many guys… Same as OL .. Especially if Gregory plays like he did last year and is off to the NFL after next.. Hopefully the D Line factory to the NFL is open again for these guys!!

There has been so many new recruits, it’s hard to keep track. Like I and many others have said, we need to recruit the lines extremely well and they have.
We needed a D line beast and we got it in Gregory. Looks like we may have a beast or two at DT too. That’s what we really need. What is it now, the #1 Juco DT, the #5 Juco DE and who else? I gotta tell you, I’m impressed. Hey, maybe they can recruit after all. I’m surprised at our low classes ranking is though…I think too much emphasis is put on the number of guys a team has pledged…hell, we could have 50 guys right now if we were just after numbers! I think we have a very good class coming in, especially with Farmer on the O line…we still need more O line guys however. And a QB - what happens if Darlington can’t play? We’d be down to Armstrong and Stanton and Fife. Yikes! I think Stanton might be the guy though. Not real impressed with Armstrong - he’s no Taylor Martinez that’s for damn sure.
This does seem to be an almost all defensive class however, I wonder if we’re not leaving any offensive needs unfulfilled?

PIPELINE!!! Welcome to the family gentlemen! Heard there’s two recruits visiting on Friday, a juco wr and a highschool db I believe, maybe I have them mixed around. Anyways, exciting news. GBR

Think about it.. michagan and throw texass in there too… they have been at the top every year with 4-5 star commits. And look what they have done last 3-4 years on all around playing ability. I dont mind 3 star recruits just shows how the coaches can develope them onto great althetes. Michagan and penn st. Class beat is out in rexruits last few years and we have beat them at their feild, obviously our coaches aredoin it rite and better

We waz taking a chance with that guy anyway.  I couldnt even tell you what position he played.

Wow, Clink and Keels took us from low 40s in the rankings to 27th on Rivals, thats a huge bump and I love how the D is shaping up.

Welcome Joe Keels, GBR!

Well, we got some DB recruit named Byerson Cockrell form Scooba MS over the weekend, also under the radar “2 star” guy, hes probably 3 stars at least.  Scooba dooba doo, theres your replacement for waz his name…

Slade chooses us over state penn and sparticus, woot!  6’5” DE, yea babay!

It sounds as though we have at least one good JUCO DB, JUCO WR, Highschool RB, and potentially a highschool WR coming in this weekend.. Possibility for a few more.. It looks like this weekend could be huge towards ending out this recruiting class.. Also would be nice to add Juco DB Keyes as he visited a couple of weeks ago and is looking to commit to a school here in the near future.. GO BIG RED .. Keep it up !!

These guys sound good.  Let’s hope the staff utilizes their skills properly and tightens up the sloppy play.  If the play calling matches the skill set, then a Big 10 title is very, very reachable.  Heal up, get bowl experience, heal up in the off-season, and start planning for next year.  This spring they should develop Armstrong, run the tailbacks, use more tight end plays, get a killer front 4 on D…GBR.

We needed some Beasts at the defensive tackle position. We got 2 of them…4 star Joe Keels, the #5 Juco DT (16th overall Juco recruit), 4 star Terrell Clinkscales, the #1 Juco DT (5th overall Juco recruit). We also got 3 star Payton Newell at DT or DE, DE Mick Stoltenburg, and now 3 star Darius Slade, who the best defense in the country wanted.
Alabama, USC, Ohio State, W Virginia, and Oregon wanted Joe Keels. We won a recruiting battle over Alabama and Ohio State!
Along with Randy Gregory and the players we have now, we are looking fantastic on the front line. On the offensive line, we have 3 star yet highly touted DJ Foster and 4 star Tanner Farmer. Need some more there.
Wow. They get it and have recruited extremely well here and it’s frankly what was needed. Games are won or lost in the trenches and it’s where most of our breakdowns happen.
I think Pelini is coming around…his defense sure did! Now if they can serve up some offense with that defense, lookout!

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