1. S Tahaan Goodman, Rancho Cucamonga, CA – We might as well find Mr. Goodman a chair, because until something drastic changes, he’s unlikely to be moved from the top of the Big Board. Like last year’s top-sitter, Andrus Peat, he’s needed in a bad way. Unlike Peat, he probably won’t wait until Signing Day to make his decision. Then again…
2. CB Chris Hawkins, Rancho Cucamonga, CA – Despite rumors to the contrary, “Man Man” is keeping his options open following visits to local California schools. As of this time, he is still scheduled and expected to attend Nebraska’s Spring Game in April with teammate Tahaan Goodman.
3. OLB Josh Banderas, Lincoln, NE – Banderas left Nebraska’s Junior Day with an offer in hand, and is reportedly happy to sit on it, take some visits and enjoy the process. That sounds like an inadvertent challenge to the Husker coaching staff’s ability to close early. With hard work and perseverance on their part, Banderas shouldn’t be on the Big Board much longer.
4. OLB Deon Hollins, Jr., Missouri City, TX – It appeared Arkansas was the team to beat for Hollins last week. While that may be the case, he’s scheduled a visit to Nebraska in the coming weeks. Getting him to Lincoln so early in the process should be considered a win for a staff that struggled so mightily overall last year. Bringing him to the Heartland is only half the battle, however.
5. S Marcus McWilson, Youngstown, OH – Steady as she goes for McWilson. No offer from Ohio State yet, but the tension’s there as Ed Warinner’s on the prowl. He’s the guy who helped net the Buckeyes defensive tackle Billy Price and cornerback Eli Woodard, both Nebraska targets with Price being a Youngstown native. It appears we may have found Bo Pelini’s first roadblock between he and McWilson.
6. OLB Shane Jones, Cincinnati, OH – Jones tripped to Columbus for Ohio State’s Junior Day last week and walked away with no offer, at least officially. If Nebraska wants Jones, now’s the time to strike as having already offered, they could point out an apparent greater desire for his services. However, there will always be the allure of Urban Meyer waiting in the shadows.
7. DB Mike Minter, Jr., Lincoln, NE – Unlike fellow Lincolnite Banderas, Minter did not leave the Cornhusker hive with an offer, but to assume that one won’t be in his hands is naïve. Rumors of requiring discipline circle Junior, but if he can prove to his potential future coaches that he won’t be a handful, expect an offer by summer. Simply put: He didn’t come to Lincoln to avoid wearing scarlet.
8. DB Priest Willis, Tempe, AZ – Willis is keeping his options wide open at this point and no one can blame him. New offers and an ever-expanding spotlight don’t give him much room to breathe. He’s clearly excited about all the interest he’s received and he should be. Nebraska should share his excitement, but be cautious following the initial wave of offers and interest from other schools.
9. QB Malik Zaire, Kettering, OH – Despite being somewhat hesitant to place him, Zaire makes his debut on the Big Board this week. He recently visited Pitt, and from all accounts enjoyed himself. So much, in fact, that the Panthers made his current top three along with Ohio State and, interestingly enough, Nebraska.
A trend among those on the Big Board, and most Nebraska recruits anymore, appears to be a high priority placed on academics. While this can eventually get lost in the shuffle of other temptations, it seems to matter enough to Zaire that the Huskers’ academic support system can and will be underlined if and when he visits.
Talk of a March trip to Lincoln is in the air. Between Braylon Scott, J.T. Barrett and Malik, the latter fits Tim Beck’s system the best. It’s hard to think he won’t be Meyer’s if OSU comes calling, but crazier things have happened than receiving Malik’s LOI next February.
10. CB Cole Luke, Chandler, AZ – Sorry, Mr. Cravens, but until something more concrete comes along, Zaire’ll have a place on the Board before you do again. A more realistic option is newcomer Cole Luke, another Arizona resident who recently received his offer.
Corey Raymond’s been assigned to Luke who holds a handful of offers from the Pac-12 with perhaps the most competition coming from Oregon State. He’s also been receiving a fair amount of attention from Big 12 heavyweight Oklahoma. As it stands, Luke’s taken an unofficial trip to Arizona State, but doesn’t plan any visits in the near future.