10 takeaways on Nebraskas 2015 signing day
Click Here to view this video.
New Nebraska head coach Mike Riley introduced his first signing class of 20 recruits on Wednesday. Here are 10 takeaways from Riley's National Signing Day press conference.
The Huskers finished ranked 31st nationally and No. 4 in the Big Ten only behind Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan State.
1 - Nebraska and Riley kept what they had
One of the most impressive things about this year's recruiting class is Riley was able to keep a good number of former head coach Bo Pelini's class intact. To be exact, 10 of the 20 recruits in NU's class were brought on by the old staff, while the other 10 were new names Riley and his staff found. By keeping those 10 former commits, Riley was able to make this a strong class despite the coaching turnover.
2 - The numbers don't lie on coaching changes
History tells you what Riley did doesn't haven't very often. Very rarely do you see a coaching change happen with a highly ranked recruiting class, but that's exactly what Riley did. The Huskers finished well ahead of teams like Michigan, Wisconsin and Pittsburgh and just behind Florida who all underwent coaching changes at the end of 2014.
3 - Playing with the numbers
There seems to be some confusion on Nebraska's total scholarship number. According to Riley the Huskers are exactly at 85 scholarships, but all the numbers we have based on roster attrition have the Huskers at 88. There were 17 scholarship opening after the 2014 season, but clearly there are a few more things we don't know about at this time. Riley said this should allow NU to have room for an off-season transfer or two.
4 - Finding a walk-on/in-state coordinator
This is still something that remains on the plate of Riley. It's a key position on the staff that will handle the walk-on program, along with dealing with all of the local high school coaches. When you look at Riley's staff, that's probably the one thing missing - somebody that has their finger on the pulse of the local scene.
5 - Winning against Harbaugh
Riley joked on Wednesday that he's been coaching too long to get caught up in competing against people in recruiting like his good friend and now Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh. Riley said he tries to have fun with it. For the record Riley beat Harbaugh head-to-head on two out of three recruiting battles.
6 - Private aircraft vs. commercial
Riley told me on Wednesday that he and his staff had access to use private aircrafts whenever it was necessary. Riley said he was actually impressed with the number of flight connections out of Omaha and even Lincoln, which allowed him and his staff to fly commercial at times. However, when they got down the stretch they took advantage of using private jets to get around the country to see more guys.
7 - Charlton Warren earned his paycheck
No coach on Riley's staff earned their paycheck more over the last two months than secondary coach Charlton Warren. Right out of the gates Warren set the tone by helping NU retain defensive backs Avery Anderson, Eric Lee and Aaron Williams. Overall, Warren was responsible for signing seven of NU's 20 recruits.
8 - Linebacker need addressed
Going forward Riley said he would like to carry about 12 scholarship linebackers at all times. He walked into a situation with just four, but moving Luke Gifford from safety brought them to five. Defensive coordinator Mark Banker entertained the idea of signing up to seven linebackers in this class, but NU ending up settling for four, but athlete Antonio Reed could also player there someday as well. I would expect NU to sign at least three more linebackers in their 2016 class.
9 - Walk-on class is quality over quantity
Right now Nebraska has just nine confirmed walk-on commits, but top to bottom it is a very impressive group. All along I thought Albion (Neb.) Boone Central's Wyatt Mazour was the top target to get, and Riley and his staff were able to convince him to walk-on. I also love the addition of Ogallala linebacker Brody Cleveland.
10 - Spring football talk
Riley and his staff will have just a month now to get ready for the start of practice on Mar. 7. Already 25,000 tickets have been solid to the Apr. 11 Red-White game. These next two months should be very exciting watching Riley and his staff build their program.
Click Here to view this Link.