There have been some big commitments for Nebraska over the past couple of decades, but, on paper at least, none of them appear to be as big as the one the Huskers got from Jacob Hammond on Monday night.
Just as his official visit to Lincoln on Sunday and Monday was about to come to a close, the 6-foot-10, 230-pound center from Oklahoma City decided to go ahead and pull the trigger for NU head coach Tim Miles.
Hammond, who currently ranks No. 139 in the class of 2014, becomes the first Rivals150 prospect ever commit to Nebraska since the rankings first started back in 2003. He is the Huskers' first verbal commit of 2014.
"As soon as I came in and saw the campus and saw the new arena, met all the coaches and watched a practice, I mean, I pretty much knew I wanted to go to Nebraska," Hammond told HuskerOnline.com.
This weekend's visit was the first Hammond had taken of his five allotted officials, and when HOL spoke to him last week he indicated that he also planned on visiting Texas Tech and TCU before making a decision. However, Miles and lead recruiter Craig Smith, the NU players and the state-of-the-art facilities look to have been more than enough for the Dallas, Texas, native to decide he wanted to be a Husker.
In fact, as soon as Hammond set foot in Nebraska's brand-new Pinnacle Bank Arena, he was instantly sold.
"Probably after seeing the new arena," Hammond said of when he knew he was going to commit. "I mean, that place is amazing. It's so big and fits over 15,000. I was the first recruit to see it since it's been finished. It was great. That's when I pretty much knew."
Hammond actually verbally committed to Oklahoma in August of 2012, but had a change of heart this past spring and decided to re-open his recruitment and explore his options. The Sooners left a standing offer, while he also picked up offers from Nebraska, Texas Tech and TCU. Other schools like UCLA, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Wichita State and Saint Louis also showed interest.
He admitted he was initially a bit hesitant to commit on his first official visit, especially after rushing into things a bit with Oklahoma, but Hammond said that hesitation disappeared more and more the longer he spent on NU's campus.
"I thought about maybe just waiting a little longer and thinking about it some more, just because I kind of rushed into it with OU," he said. "But I got a whole different feel from Nebraska than I did at OU. It's nothing against OU, it's just Nebraska had everything I was looking for in a school. I knew this was where I wanted to be."
Hammond also said getting to meet with some of the current Huskers played a big part in making Nebraska feel like home.
"I got to hang out with a few of them and talk to them a little bit about how they liked it up there and what it's been like for them," Hammond said. "They said they go at it hard in practice and they're doing a lot of school stuff, so that was a big thing for me. They take a lot of pride in their academics, and they all said they really enjoy it here."
Hammond played his junior season last year at Sunrise Christian (Kan.) Academy, where he averaged roughly 12 points per game, but recently announced he would be transferring to Comanche (Okla.) High School for his senior season this fall. He split time this summer playing for the ProSkills (Dallas) and Oklahoma Magic AAU programs.
The commitment certainly addresses a huge need of a big man in Nebraska's 2014 class, and Hammond said Miles even told him he was the Huskers' top target on their recruiting board. Nebraska now currently has one remaining scholarship available for this class.
"(The coaches) were real excited," Hammond said. "They jumped and gave me a hug. The whole coaching staff all came in and congratulated me. It was cool."