I don’t dabble in the world of recruiting often. Extended stays on sites that rank classes nationally and by conference force me to jump into a shower and clear my browser history. However, Nebraska’s first full cycle under Scott Frost piqued my curiosity.
Nineteen here, twenty-third there, fourth behind Michigan, Penn State, and Ohio State in the B1G. The rankings align fairly consistently with where Nebraska ranked both nationally and in conference for the last several years. For that, Scott Frost can be credited with staying the course of semi-relevancy.
A part of me feels that Nebraska, a long way from the glory days of national prominence, can afford to wait one more year to make a splash in recruiting. Frost is building a program, changing a culture, doing all of the things that involve painting slogans on walls and developing a nonsensical theme for the upcoming season. Okay, maybe that last action is reserved exclusively for Minnesota. With a shift in culture comes time necessary to implement a change, I just don’t know if that sort of time is available for him. When will it get any easier for Nebraska to recruit?
From a geographical standpoint the Huskers’ contemporaries for recruits include Iowa, Colorado, and Kansas State. Yes, let’s throw Kansas in there too, but no amount of grass-chewing optimism will foist the Jayhawks into that class of teams.
Iowa is coming off a disappointing 8-4 season. The Hawkeyes implemented the sort of two tight end offense favored by Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots that offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz operated under as the Patriots’ tight ends coach. The results in Iowa City mirrored what happened with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez in New England if you took away nearly all of the tandem’s receptions and forgot them on potential game-winning drives. Frost can recruit from the standpoint that he would never allow quarterback Adrian Martinez to forget about tight ends with the talent of Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson at the end of games.
Colorado and Kansas State both have new head coaches and neither have the prestige to lean on in recruiting pitches that Nebraska does. Frost needs to make recruiting in Nebraska and its neighboring states a borderline gimme to maximize the less than fertile area to land players outside of hulking offensive linemen who mirror their mascot.
When we look in-conference In regards to the three teams who consistently out-recruit Nebraska, only Michigan seems to have any good vibes going its way. Such optimism needs to be taken with a grain of salt after the Columbus Clubbing or the Oh Jesus in Ohio, I’m not tied to either descriptor. Ohio State operates in its first recruiting season without Urban Meyer in the head seat and Penn State underwhelmed in what should have been a better send off for quarterback Trace McSorley. Nebraska’s 4-8 record does not do itself any favors in terms of selling a program, but Frost won’t find it any easier to recruit against the current state of Nebraska’s neighboring programs or conference competition.
Yes, three or four more wins in 2019 will bolster the sort of fact-based narrative Frost will spew next season when he recruits, but by then Ryan Day will have had a full season at Ohio State, same goes for Mel Tucker at Colorado and Chris Kleiman at Kansas State. Look for Iowa to wring at least one or two more wins out of their 2019 schedule. Nebraska will not be able to find a better time to make a dent in recruiting and slowly creep up the national rankings than this year.
Things don’t always go according to plan, and even though the record didn’t line up for it, Frost and the Huskers are in an optimum place to recruit based on the state of its geographical and conference competition.