Nebraska’s 2014 Recruiting Class Good Where It Counts
Husker fans could get down on the latest recruiting class because it wasn't in the top ten nationally or even the top 25. Nevermind that some outstanding classes (in hindsight) emerge from outside the loftiest signing day levels. Most classes are strong in some areas and weaker in others. Given that, shouldn't NU fans be pleased that the latest recruiting class is strong along the line of scrimmage?
Nebraska netted three four-star offensive linemen as well as a versatile in-state prospect in Mick Stoltenberg who could be a tackle, guard, or defensive end. While not counted in recruiting rankings, Alex Lewis has also joined this team and should be considered at least the equivalent of a top notch juco transfer. He graded out as Colorado's second best offensive lineman, so he's already proven he can contribute at the major conference level. Even your four or five star recruits can't say that.
The defensive line features a four-star juco end that was offered by Alabama in Joe Keels. Defensive tackle Peyton Newell was sought after by programs like Oklahoma, USC, and Georgia. End DeAndre Willis may not get a lot of stars behind his name, but that didn't stop Clemson from offering him a scholarship. Sedrick King may be skinny, but that didn't stop Louisville and Central Florida from fighting to get him. We might moon over the ones that got away on the defensive line, but to overlook the ones NU did get would be a mistake.
If the receivers and defensive backs are more lightly regarded, so be it. Particularly on defense, it's the play up front that usually determines how good or bad they look. There's a reason that three-star defensive backs looked like standouts behind Ndamukong Suh and Jared Crick. Randy Gregory and Keels could well have a similar impact.
Zack Darlington may not have been the top quarterback on the board, but if Ohio State wanted him, then that says he's no schlub. Running back Mikale Wilbon is a four-star prospect. The Huskers have the ingredients for a good "multiple" offense with a dual-threat quarterback. If it appears they reached on some of the speed positions, that's not a departure from the days of adding Abdul Muhammad, Barron Miles, or Matt Davison.
A kicker like Drew Brown may not boost the star rating, but if he's on par with his brother than he's well worth the scholarship.
Don't be fooled by recruiting services, the raw material is there for this group to have a lot of success. The key will be to retain and develop this group.