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Official Husker Locker Blog

2012 Feb 11

NEBRASKA FOOTBALL RECRUITING: Engaging The 2013 Initiative


By HuskerLocker

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By Brandon Cavanaugh

Urban Meyer sits at the throne of The Ohio State University, seemingly bringing in talent with a snap of his fingers. Brady Hoke breathed new life into a spiraling Michigan program by placing the 2012 Sugar Bowl Trophy in Big Blue’s hardware case.

Nebraska finds itself with two options – adapt or be left in the dust. Bo Pelini and company look to be introducing a powerful weapon to fight off their conference opposition: The 2013 Initiative.

Bo Pelini is taking the fight to Urban Meyer on Pelini’s home turf of Youngstown, Ohio. Cardinal Mooney High School offers the former Buckeye safety a rare advantage over the former Florida Gator head coach.

Tim Beck continues to target Texans, and as long as he continues to make hay in the Lone Star State, don’t expect that to change. Rich Fisher is sinking his claws into the now-treacherous recruiting territory of California.

Following a lackluster end to the 2011-2012 recruiting cycle, something game-changing had to happen. An attitude towards recruiting by the coaching staff that Husker fans themselves called average has spun 180 degrees, and the Cornhuskers now find themselves sitting pretty with a multitude of high quality prospects to sign come February 2013. Despite the huge stretch of time between now and then, something special may be brewing in Lincoln.

Nebraska is continuing use of the “rifle” method where certain individuals are targeted versus the “shotgun” method where a school essentially offers anyone they have a shot with. The latter tactic provides immediate backup strategies, something the Cornhuskers struggled with last cycle.

The picky nature of this new Initiative may still allow for high-quality backups, but the margin for error remains slim.

Nebraska’s most razor-thin areas are apparently being addressed and in grand fashion. Out of the 45 offers the Huskers have extended, 30 are members of the initial Rivals.com Top 250 rankings. Ten of those prospects made the Top 100.

Bo Pelini’s preference for keeping recruits close if at all possible appears to be a significant factor of this new philosophy. The highly-coveted offensive tackle duo of Ethan Pocic and Kyle Bosch, both Illinois natives are testament to this. Likely MIKE linebacker Nick Ramirez, a Missouri resident, provides more evidence.

The Cornhuskers have approximately 20 spots remaining in this class, assuming currently commit Tre’vell Dixon remains a part of it when the inevitable LSU offer comes. Nebraska must focus on tight ends, offensive tackles, cornerbacks and safeties to correct the blunders of 2012. Dixon will likely find his place among the cornerback corps if he remains.

Beginning with the tight ends, only two have been offered, but both would be solid gets: Jacob Matuska, a Columbus, Ohio native and Jon Wisnieski, a West Des Moines, Iowa product. Eight offensive tackles have been offered including Pocic and Bosch, all ranked as four-star prospects by Rivals.com but one.

Four cornerbacks hold offers aside from Dixon, all Rivals four-stars including All-Everything Eli Woodard out of New Jersey. Five safeties were offered, but Jayme Thompson has already committed to West Virginia. However, as an Ohio native, don’t rule out a visit from Urban Meyer or Pelini in an attempt to flip him.

Three remaining safety offers are Rivals four-stars with the exception of the ultra-coveted Su’a Cravens. He’s an extreme longshot, but the Huskers are making a legitimate run for Cravens’ services.

13 prospects have already been lined up for Nebraska’s Junior Day with seven of them already holding Husker offers including the committed Dixon. Three recruits likely very high on Nebraska’s board are scheduled to attend the Huskers' annual Spring Game – Priest Willis, a cornerback out of Tempe, Arizona and the dynamic Californian duo of cornerback Chris “Man Man” Hawkins and safety Tahaan “T-Good” Goodman.

Pelini and company are showing excellent effort early on. Now they need to take a cue from Blake out of Glengarry Glen Ross and “Always Be Closing.”

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Tags: recruiting

Comments (4)

Profile image for Jason_Wacker

Awesome article. Just as I Tweeted, this is a good thing, something had to change. Now it just needs to be non stop effort towards these kids. @Jason_Wacker

– Feb 16, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Profile image for HuskerLockerLocker Pass member

Els has said they're sticking to their guns about being selective, but the staff's actions are starting to go against that. This is actually a good thing in my mind. If they can lean towards that "shotgun" approach mentioned, they'll have backup plans lined up should their top guys fall through.

– Feb 14, 2012 at 9:04 am

Profile image for samuellevis

What is the strategy this time for selection?


– Feb 14, 2012 at 3:33 am

Profile image for BetterRed11

yes the strategy definitely had to change. I like how they are selective and try to truly pick and choose who they want, but they need to have a back up plan and back up to the back up....

– Feb 11, 2012 at 2:05 pm

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