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April 29, 2014

Husker Buzz: All eyes on Chicago

As we enter the meat of the spring evaluation period, all eyes this weekend will be the Rivals Camp Series event in Chicago presented by Under Armour.

In all a group of 23 Nebraska natives will make up the camp roster of nearly 250. Of the 250 expected to be in attendance, five are already Husker commits - defensive end Daishon Neal, defensive backs Avery Anderson and Eric Lee, running Kendall Bussey and wide receiver Spencer Tears.

Top 2015 in-state prospects expected to be in attendance are Bellevue West wide receiver C.J. Johnson and defensive back Malik Hluchoweckyj, Seward lineman Adam Holtorf, Beatrice linebacker Jessup Workman, Lincoln Southwest linebacker Noah Lazaro, Syracuse offensive lineman Matt Clark, McCook linebacker Colton Sis and Gothenburg offensive lineman Tanner Borchardt to name a few.

There will also be a handful of top 2016 Nebraska prospects in Chicago, including Omaha South transfer defensive end Noah Fant, Gretna athlete Emmitt Knight and Lincoln Southwest tight end Nick Lenners.

A year ago we saw just how big the regional Rivals Camp was in St. Louis for Nebraska's recruiting class. Of NU's 24 2014 signees, five were at the St. Louis RCS camp - offensive lineman Tanner Farmer, wide receiver Monte Harrison, safety Luke Gifford, running back Mikale Wilbon and offensive lineman D.J. Foster.

We already know there will be at least five in Chicago this weekend, with a good chance to be two or three more in the future.

The advantage the Huskers will have is with five of their commitments all together, no other school will be represented like Nebraska in the camp.

Those five commits will have a chance to recruit for the Big Red and spend time talking to other top prospects at the event. I'm sure the Husker coaching staff has already instructed the group on who to work on while Chicago.

The fact that Bussey is coming up also speaks volumes of the lengths he's willing to go to represent Nebraska. Not very many New Orleans natives are willing to make the trek up to Chicago for a one day event.

HuskerOnline.com will have full coverage of the camp all weekend with four staff members in Chicago starting on Saturday.

SEC scheduling rant

Earlier this week the SEC announced they will be staying at an eight game conference schedule and not be joining the Big Ten, Pac-12 and Big 12 with nine-game schedules.

It's unknown what the ACC will do, but with the recent agreement they've made with Notre Dame they too are expected to stay at eight conference games.

SEC Commissioner Mike Slive tried to justify the league's decision to stay at eight game by saying every team will be required to play at least one "Power Five" conference team per year on their schedule.

The funny thing is of the 14 teams in the SEC only four don't already play a Power Five conference games this year - Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Texas A&M. To be fair Ole Miss does play Boise State. The other 10 teams all play at least one Power Five game on their schedule.

That's why it's funny Slive even made that statement. Any program worth a salt schedules one Power Five game per year to satisfy their season ticket holders. It's been common practice for years. Nebraska has never had a year in the modern era where they didn't play at least one Power Five school.

By sticking at eight league games, it increases the SEC's chances of having two teams in the College Football Playoff, because every team will get one more guarantee game, instead of having to play a tougher league opponent. That means a team that finishes 11-1 and doesn't make the SEC title game will definitely keep itself in the conversation for a spot in the playoff.

I do think the committee is going to put a lot of stock into conference championships though and you will have to be a very good 11-1 to get in if you don't win your conference.

Three and out

***Congrats to Nebraska graduate Kevin Kugler on landing his new boxing gig with HBO. Kugler will call play-by-play with Roy Jones Jr. for HBO's May 31 telecast in Las Vegas. Kugler already calls Sunday Night Football on Westwood One, TV games for BTN, Fox Sports 1, NET and the Jacksonville Jaguars, along with hosting Big Red Wrap-Up. Nobody has worked harder to get to where he's at than Kugler. This is a guy who started his radio career out in York and Fairbury.

***There is a new rule in college football this year that will allow coaches two hours per week to work with their team during the summer. Before they weren't allowed any time with their players and only the strength coaches could be around them. It will be very interesting to see how head coach Bo Pelini and his staff utilize this in the summer.

***Finally as Harrison gets ready to make his decision, he should take a close look at how it's going for Bubba Starling. The former Husker recruit is batting just .127 in 22 games and has an on base percentage of just .263 playing in A ball. It's clearly not been the ride Starling thought it would be. The question is how much longer are the Royals willing to give him?


Sean Callahan can be reached at sean@huskeronline.com and he can be heard each day at 6:50 am and 4:50 pm on Big Red Radio 1110 KFAB in Omaha during the football season. He can also be seen on KETV Channel 7 TV in Omaha during the fall and each week he appears on NET's Big Red Wrap Tuesday's at 7 pm.


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