The move to the B1G created concern over how the Huskers would recruit. Now that weíre headed into year two I thought I take a look at the numbers and compare NUís 2008-2010 recruiting classes to the 2011-2013 classes. I included only high school athletes in the analysis.
First off, the numbers indicate NU has gotten about the same number of athletes from neighboring states and SEC states in each of the two time periods. Personally, Iíd like to see us recruit Missouri a little better. Perhaps that will happen in the Tigers crash and burn in the SEC.
I think the general assumption was that NU would be badly hurt by a reduced presence in Texas. It appears that concern was warranted. NU has signatures/commitments from an average of 4 fewer players each year from the Lone Star State (21 in 08-10 compared to eight in 11-13). The more important question is whether recruiting less effectively in Texas will hurt the product on the field. I think that question is still very much open for debate. Texas, OU and A&M already generally got first pick in Texas. Though a quick check shows LSU, Arkansas and Alabama have exactly one commit among them from Texas for the 2013 class, youíd have to think the SEC schools will now recruit Texas harder than they have in recent years. There was already a lot of competition for Texas talent and itís likely to get more intense. I suspect NU will pull an occasional athlete from Texas, but wonít likely sign eight a year, as happened in 2008 and 2009.
The recruiting losses in Texas have been offset by gains in B1G territory. NU has two athletes a year more from Ohio in the last three classes and another extra athlete per year from the other B1G states. The one thing that was surprising is NU has fewer California HS athletes in the last three classes compared to the previous three (3 compared to 7). I think thatís an anomaly. The Huskers have some strong recruiting roots in California. Over the long run, Iíd be surprised if California athletes donít make up for a good part of the reduced number of recruits from Texas.
At the end of the day, Husker coaches have always had to recruit nationally. In that sense, nothing has changed. It seems to me the coaching staff has adjusted well to the new conference alignment and is doing a great job of building a program we can all be proud of.