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2017 Recruiting Class Summary

Ranking the Top 40 classes and analyzing Nebraska's class

Top 40 Recruiting Classes

1. Alabama
2. Ohio State
3. Georgia
4. Michigan
5. USC
6. Oklahoma
7. LSU
8. Florida State
9. Auburn
10. Florida
11. Texas A&M
12. Miami (Fla.)
13. Notre Dame
14. Stanford
15. Clemson
16. Penn State
17. Maryland
18. Tennessee
19. Virginia Tech
20. Washington
21. Nebraska
22. Oregon
23. South Carolina
24. UCLA
25. Mississippi State
26. Arkansas
27. Kentucky
28. Texas
29. North Carolina
30. Michigan State
31. Mississippi
32. Colorado
33. Louisville
34. TCU
35. Utah
36. Baylor
37. Pittsburgh
38. Arizona State
39. Oklahoma State
40. Rutgers

Ranking Nebraska's Commits

1. WR Tyjon Lindsey (Nevada)
2. LB Avery Roberts (Delaware)
3. CB Elijah Blades (California)
4. QB Tristan Gebbia (California)
5. WR Keyshawn Johnson Jr. (California)
6. WR Jaevon McQuitty (Missouri)
7. OLB Guy Thomas (Florida)
8. DL Deontre Thomas (Oklahoma)
9. OL Matt Sichterman (Ohio)
10. OT Brenden Jaimes (Texas)
11. NG Damion Daniels (Texas)
12. DL Deiontae Watts (Texas)
13. TE Kurt Rafdal (Indiana)
14. LB Willie Hampton (Florida)
15. LB Andrew Ward (Michigan)
16. FB Ben Miles (Louisiana)
17. OL Broc Bando (Nebraska)
18. RB Jaylen Bradley (Nebraska)
19. OL Chris Walker (Nebraska)
20. TE Austin Allen (Nebraska)

The Huskers signed 20 players to their 2017 class. The 20 recruits hail from 12 different states: Nebraska (4), California (3), Texas (3), Florida (2), Delaware (1), Indiana (1), Louisiana (1), Michigan (1), Missouri (1), Nevada (1), Ohio (1), Oklahoma (1)

Position Group Summaries

Quarterback: For the second straight recruiting class, the Huskers have pulled arguably the best quarterback recruit out of the state of California - and one of the top pro-style quarterback prospects in the country. Tristan Gebbia (6-3, 180), who enrolled early and has been on campus since the first week of January, was recruited by Nebraska for nearly two years. The Huskers first jumped on Gebbia's radar when he visited in March of 2015 with his 7-on-7 teammates. A few months later in June, Gebbia worked out with Nebraska's coaches at a Los Angeles satellite camp and was eventually offered in August. Tristan then took a visit to see Lincoln again in October (2015) for the Wisconsin game. By then he was the top QB target of Husker coaches for the 2017 class.

The nation's No. 81 overall recruit held offers from Alabama, Washington, Miami, West Virginia and South Carolina among many others, but ultimately his decision came down to Nebraska and Ole Miss. Gebbia and his family visited Oxford twice (Feb.19, April 1-2) and Lincoln two times as well (March 7 & 29-30) before committing to the Huskers on April 4.

Gebbia comes to Lincoln as one of the most decorated passers in California High School history. As a junior, Tristan threw for 4,435 yards and 45 touchdowns, completing 62.9 percent of his passes. He took his game to another level this past fall. As a senior, Gebbia was 341 out of 455 (75%) with 5,338 yards, 61 touchdown passes and 10 rushing touchdowns. For his career, Gebbia passed for 13,109 yards (#2 all-time in California) and 141 touchdowns (#3 all-time in California). The honorable-mention Parade All-American had 858 completions on 1,294 career attempts, good for 66.3 percent.

The plan is to redshirt Gebbia. This allows the Huskers to put a year between he and Patrick O'Brien, while Gebbia is allowed to get started on mastering the playbook and working to get his frame prepared for the Big Ten. Grade: A

Running Back: I have been a pretty vocal critic of running backs coach Reggie Davis. Each year, the Huskers only need to add one running back. This year the opportunity was there for Nebraska to make a big splash with playing time to offer. Instead, running back recruiting was stagnant throughout the year. According to 247Sports, Nebraska only brought in one running back for an official visit (Alaric Williams), a kid from Gadsden who was committed to Auburn at the time. Davis was still making new offers to running backs in January when local standout Jaylin Bradley received a qualifying ACT score and essentially bailed the Huskers out. With only three viable running backs set to return next season, the team could have used two guys in this class. Nebraska made a late push for C.J. Verdell, an Oregon commit at the time who signed with the Ducks. The bottom line is Davis is not carrying his weight as a recruiter and Mike Riley needs to address the situation, whatever that entails.

So who is Nebraska adding from this class? Bellevue West standout Jaylin Bradley enjoyed a record-setting senior season while leading his team to the Class A state title. The 6-foot, 180-pound Bradley rushed for 2,915 yards and 50 touchdowns on 324 carries, a 9 yard per carry average. Bradley was an All-Nebraska and All-Metro selection by the Omaha World-Herald as a junior and senior. He was also a member of the Lincoln Journal Star's Super State team the last two years. While his athleticism doesn't jump out at you, Bradley has outstanding vision and instincts for the position. In most years, Bradley would be an ideal second back in a class. The team would prefer to have Bradley redshirt this upcoming year - if depth allows that to happen.

Riley also brought in arguably the best fullback of the 2017 class. Ben Miles, son of former LSU head coach Les Miles, is regarded among the top three fullbacks in the nation by all four major recruiting sites. An all-district selection as a senior, Miles is ranked as the No. 22 overall prospect in Louisiana by ESPN. Miles brings a skillset to the Huskers that is reminiscent of Andy Janovich. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Miles could see time as a true freshmen. Miles can be used as a traditional fullback and also flexed out as an H-back. Grade: C-

Wide Receiver: The team is tasked with replacing three productive seniors. Jordan Westerkamp, Brandon Reilly and Alonzo Moore are a tough trio to see graduate, it leaves a pretty big void at the position. Unfortunately, Nebraska missed on their target number. Not only did Nebraska need to replace three seniors, attrition has thinned the ranks at the position. From 2014-16, the team signed six receivers (Kevin Gladney, Monte Harrison, Jariah Tolbert, Glenn Irons, Lavan Alston, Derrion Grim) who are no longer with the program. That has left Nebraska with just five scholarship players at the position, including a converted quarterback. Stanley Morgan and De'Mornay Pierson-El are basically the only proven commodities heading into 2017. Riley had hoped to bring in four receivers with the possibility of signing as many as five. Fortunately, the three players that Keith Williams was able to add are outstanding prospects.

The headliner of this group and the highest rated prospect overall in this class is Bishop Gorman High School star Tyjon Lindsey. Nebraska first positioned itself as an option for Lindsey (5-9, 160), the No. 32 overall player in my top 300, during the spring and summer, when the receiver made two visits to Lincoln, one for the spring game and one for Friday Night Lights. He also worked with Keith Williams during Nebraska's satellite camp in southern California the first week of June. Lindsey held offers from Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas A&M, USC and dozens of others, but eventually chose Ohio State over Nebraska in August. He eventually decommitted on January 11. Williams and the Huskers never stopped recruiting Lindsey and he quickly committed to Nebraska three days later on January 14.

Athletically, Lindsey is in elite company. He was invited to The Opening Finals in both 2015 and 2016. This past July, he posted a SPARQ score of 129.33. He posted a 39.3-inch vertical and his laser-timed 3.86 shuttle would have been second-best at last year's NFL Combine. Lindsey won the Rivals100 Five-star Challenge WR/TE MVP award after a dominating performance in Atlanta last summer. He was considered a five-star prospect heading into his senior season, but saw that rating drop slightly after being limited to just three games this past fall. A broken clavicle cost him the first four games of the year and then he suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee towards the end of October. Lindsey will be completely healthy by fall camp and is expected to return to the form that had many people calling him the best slot receiver to come out since Christian Kirk in 2015.

Lindsey's combination of natural talent and athleticism makes him the best receiver prospect to ever sign with the Huskers. Unfortunately, this also means he will enter college with Marlon Lucky-esque hype and expectations. His skillset and fit in Langsdorf's system should allow him to really flourish. The pressure that will be put on his shoulders will be difficult to navigate. How will Lindsey handle it?

One of the first commits of this class was Keyshawn Johnson Jr. Close friends and high school teammates with Tristan Gebbia, Johnson (6-1, 195) caught 157 passes in his three seasons at Calabasas, totaling more than 2,300 yards and 20 touchdowns. Keyshawn has admitted to having low expectations when he first decided to visit Nebraska (along with Gebbia and 2016 signee Marquel Dismuke) with his 7-on-7 team in March of 2015. The visit ended up opening his eyes and resulted in five more trips to Lincoln over the next year before committing to the Huskers via a Bleacher Report video on March 23. Johnson had dozens of offers, including Florida State, Georgia, Miami, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Texas and UCLA, but eventually chose the Huskers over a final group that included USC, Ohio State, Alabama and Clemson.

Johnson, the No. 276 overall recruit, was able to enroll early and will participate in spring practices. Having the extra time with Mark Philipp and the strength and conditioning program should serve Johnson well as he works to shed some baby fat and begin to transform his body. Keyshawn has outstanding hands and isn't afraid to make contested grabs in traffic. He will be given every opportunity to come in and earn immediate playing time. This spring will be an important start for him. Can he show enough to get himself on track with a strong fall camp to get on the field as a freshman?

Johnson won't be the only receiver enrolled early looking to make some noise and earn the coaches trust this spring. Jaevon McQuitty, a four-year starter for Battle High School in Columbia (MO), finished his career with 147 receptions, 2,649 receiving yards and 31 touchdowns. McQuitty (5-11, 190) was the second commit in Nebraska's 2017 class, and like Johnson, will be looking to get on the field early in his career. McQuitty and Johnson became fast friends after first meeting each other during Nebraska's spring game in 2015. Nebraska was the first school to offer McQuitty (April, 2015), who also received offers from Michigan, Iowa, Missouri, Maryland, and others. McQuitty was ranked as the No. 1 player in Missouri by ESPN, who along with Rivals, rated McQuitty a four-star prospect. Scout ranked Jaevon as the No. 276 overall player in the country. Grade: B+

Tight End: Slowly but surely the Huskers continue to replenish their tight ends room. The graduation of Cethan Carter, along with his top two backups Sam Cotton and Trey Foster, leaves Nebraska searching for answers heading into 2017. Riley added two tight ends in this class. Aurora's Austin Allen was the first in-state offer after the staff extended him a scholarship this past February. Allen (6-8, 210) collected offers from UCLA, Iowa, Iowa State and Central Florida over the next 7-weeks before committing to Nebraska on April 14. Austin was a multi-sport athlete who missed most of his senior season after injuring his knee in the summer. As a junior, the two-way player earned first-team Class B all-state honors as a linebacker from both the Omaha World-Herald and Lincoln Journal Star. Allen was also a three-time first-team all-district selection. Regarded as the consensus top prospect in the state, Allen was ranked among the nation's top 25 tight ends by both Scout and ESPN.

After watching long-time commit Reese Leitao flip to Texas in December, Nebraska was able to circle the wagons on a top-target who they first offered back in February. Kurt Rafdal (6-7, 230) took an unofficial visit to Lincoln in June and was strongly considering the Huskers prior to Leitao's commitment to Nebraska in August. As a result, the two parties went their separate ways. Rafdal eventually committed to hometown Indiana in October. Nebraska reached back out to Rafdal in December and Kurt decommitted from the Hoosiers on January 4. Rafdal's final decision came down to Nebraska and Iowa, but he held offers from Auburn, Louisville, Maryland, Pittsburgh and received late attention from LSU.

Rafdal was a first-team AP Class 6A all-state selection and an All-Indiana pick by USA Today. With the tight end position wide open heading into 2017, Rafdal has a chance to skip a redshirt season and earn playing time this fall. Grade: C+

Offensive Line: Mike Cavanaugh has done a very good job of adding talent to his position group. Cav has signed 11 offensive linemen in three classes since he has been at Nebraska. Seven of those players were considered four-star prospects. This class is not as heralded as the 2016 haul, but it's filled with talented kids who fit Cav's profile for the position. Cavanaugh is rebuilding the pipeline the right way. He is avoiding the temptation of early playing time in favor of valuable redshirts. This group will follow suit and will be better off in the long run for it.

Nebraska came into this recruiting class intent on adding numbers at offensive tackle. They signed a class of four who all project to the outside, yet are versatile enough to play elsewhere too. That description is most evident with Matt Sichterman, a standout at Kings High School in Kings Mills, Ohio. The 6-5, 270-pound Sichterman will be looked at as a tackle, but is capable of playing guard or even center. Matt earned all-state honors for his play, was a first-team All Tri-State pick and was a first-team All-Southwest District selection. Both Rivals and the 247Sports composite rankings list Sichterman as one of the top 25 players in Ohio. Sichterman's stock really blew up at the start of 2016. He picked up his first offer around Christmas of 2015 and by his commitment to Nebraska in May, he had nearly three dozen, including at least one from each Power Five conference. Sichterman is rated a four-star prospect by ESPN and also regarded as the No. 252 overall player in the country by Scout. He chose the Huskers over Michigan State, Penn State and Pittsburgh.

The first linemen to commit to this class was Lake Travis standout Brenden Jaimes. The 6-5, 250-pound Jaimes was first offered by the Huskers in March. He visited Lincoln for the spring game a month later and committed. Jaimes was named the District Offensive Lineman of the Year and was a Class 6A honorable-mention all-state choice. Scout lists him as one of the nation's top 30 offensive tackles (3rd best in Texas), while ESPN and 247Sports listed him among the top 50 tackles in the nation. Jaimes was ranked as the No. 291 overall player in the country by Scout. After a strong senior season, Jaimes received offers and strong pushes from local programs Texas, TCU and Baylor. Brenden chose to stay loyal to the Huskers, who many around the program consider to be the left tackle of the future.

Another versatile member of this class is Broc Bando, who comes to the Huskers via the IMG Academy in Bradenton (FL), but is a Lincoln native who began his prep career at Lincoln Southeast High School. The 6-5, 280-pound Bando will get a look at tackle, but his best position is probably guard. After earning honorable-mention All-City honors following his sophomore season at Lincoln Southeast, Bando chose to transfer to IMG Academy, one of the nation's top prep teams. Once there, Bando started at guard (2015) and right tackle (2016). Bando is regarded as one of the nation's top 50 offensive guards by the 247Sports composite rankings. He is one of five mid-year enrollees who will be able to participate in spring ball. Bando had offers from Georgia, Louisville, Mississippi State, Georgia Tech and Kansas State, before selecting the Huskers in June.

When the Huskers missed out on Foster Sarell and Chuck Filiaga in January, coaches immediately turned their attention to local standout Chris Walker, a two-way standout at Lincoln East High School. The staff offered on January 6 and Walker, Wyoming commit since November, took an official visit a week later. The staff had been keeping tabs on Walker all season, bringing him in for unofficial visits twice in September. Walker officially flipped to the Huskers on January 16. The 6-8, 275-pound Walker grew up wanting to be a Blackshirt and prefers the defensive side of the ball. While he could be developed into an intriguing defensive end in Bob Diaco's 3-4, the plan is for him to start his career on the offensive line. Chris was an honorable-mention all-state pick during his junior season, and followed that up with being named a first-team All-Nebraska selection as both an offensive and defensive lineman by the Omaha World-Herald as a senior, while also being named a Super State pick by the Lincoln Journal Star as an offensive lineman. Grade: B+

Defensive Line: When John Parrella was hired to replace Hank Hughes in late February, the main concern most people had was his ability to recruit. Well, he put those concerns to bed in a big way. Despite a late start to the 2017 class, Parrella signed four outstanding players. Nebraska started out recruiting to a 4-3 scheme, but by December, the goal was to fit players into a 3-4. Luckily, all four of his recruits appear to be strong fits for the new system.

I decided to include Guy Thomas in this group because he was a Parrella recruit, originally targeted to be a pass rushing defensive end in a 4-3. But with the switch to the 3-4, Thomas (6-3, 200) will be allowed to play outside linebacker - probably a better fit for him in the long run. Thomas committed to Parrella and Nebraska site unseen back in August and coaches had to sweat out late pushes by Louisville, Pittsburgh and Maryland. Guy was a second-team Florida 4A all-state pick and is ranked among the top 25 weakside defensive ends in the country by Rivals, ESPN and the 247Sports composite rankings. He was also listed among the top 55 prospects in Florida by both ESPN and Rivals. A four-star prospect according to both ESPN and Rivals, Thomas received offers from Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Florida State, LSU, Miami, Michigan, USC and dozens of others. He might need a season to build his body up, but he is an ideal fit in the new defense and should be a key contributor before too long.

The Huskers also had to worry through a late push from Notre Dame with another commit, Mustang High School standout Deontre Thomas. The 6-3, 280-pound Thomas is an example of Parrella's impressive eye for talent. The Huskers offered Thomas in early April when he was just starting to get noticed and was unrated by the recruiting services. He took a trip to see the Husker spring game a week and a half later. Thomas and his mother developed a strong relationship with Parrella, which was instrumental in him choosing the Huskers over his other finalist Michigan on his birthday - April 30 - and ultimately deciding to stick with the Huskers late. Thomas racked up 79 tackles and eight sacks as a senior, earning first-team all-state honors from the Daily Oklahoman and USA Today. Originally recruited as a 3-tech for a 4-3, Thomas is ranked among the top 45 defensive tackles in the country by Rivals and ESPN. Thomas received scholarship offers from Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Arkansas, TCU, Arizona State, Colorado and Kansas State among others.

Like Guy Thomas, the switch to a 3-4 might allow Deontre to play in a scheme better suited for his overall skillset. Thomas should be a great fit as a defensive end in the new system. I wouldn't be surprised to see Thomas bypass a redshirt and be a contributor on the d-line this coming fall. Deontre is rated as a four-star prospect by ESPN and is ranked as the No. 179 overall player by 247Sports.

Nebraska was able to go into the Dallas area and pull one of the top defensive tackles in the state of Texas. Deiontae Watts (6-3, 300), comes from Plano East High School. Considered a four-star prospect by Scout, Watts received scholarship offers from Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M, USC, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Arkansas and UCLA among others. This, despite junior and senior seasons that were cut short because of injuries. As a senior, Watts was named second-team all-district despite only playing in six games.

Watts was originally offered by the Huskers last February and took his official visit to see the Huskers beat Oregon in September. He committed the next day. He was forthright with coaches of his intentions to take other visits and did so to see Texas A&M (November) and also January visits to see Baylor and Colorado. Watts is ranked as the No. 3 defensive tackle prospect in Texas and among the nation's top 25 defensive tackles by Scout. Watts is considered one of the top 60 prospects in Texas and the No. 31 defensive tackle recruit in the nation by the 247Sports composite rankings.

One of the most important pieces to this class is Damion Daniels. Finding a space-eating nose guard is key for any successful 3-4 defense and the 6-2, 310-pound Daniels seems tailor-made for the position. Daniels was a long-time target of Parrella's after being offered back in April. Damion took an unofficial visit to Lincoln in June and an official to see the Huskers beat Fresno State in the season opener. Daniels starred at Bishop Dunne High School, where he earned first-team all-state honors as a junior. As a senior, despite often seeing double and triple-teams, Daniels finished with 78 tackles, 26 tackles for loss and nine sacks. He also forced three fumbles and had a blocked punt on his way to being named the TAPPS Defensive MVP and again earning first-team all-state honors. Damion also competes in track for Bishop Dunne, throwing the shot put and discus. He finished second in the district in the shot put as a senior.

Long-considered a Husker lean, Daniels chose Nebraska on signing day over Colorado and Texas-San Antonio. He also held dozens of offers, including LSU, Texas, USC, Oklahoma, Michigan, Florida, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Tennessee, UCLA, TCU, Arkansas, Baylor and Mississippi State. Damion is ranked among the top 25 defensive tackles in the nation by both Rivals and ESPN, while Scout lists him as the No. 7 defensive tackle in Texas. He is also listed among the top 55 players in Texas by Rivals, ESPN and in the 247Sports composite rankings. Considered a four-star prospect by ESPN, Daniels could see time along the d-line this fall. Grade: A-

Linebacker: Trent Bray has done a marvelous job of transforming the linebacker unit. When he first arrived the Huskers only had four scholarship linebackers. Now that room is filled with versatile athletes and the competition for playing time will be fierce, which only strengthens the unit as a whole. Irons sharpens iron.

You can make a strong argument that the best player in this class is Avery Roberts, one of the top prospects on the entire East coast. Bray has been recruiting Roberts pretty much since he got to Nebraska. Avery was one of the first offers made by Riley (February 2, 2015) when he took over at Nebraska and was quickly made a top priority for 2017. The 6-1, 220-pound Roberts was the staffs No. 1 defensive target, and has been for nearly two years. The Huskers were Roberts' first Power Five offer, but the consensus four-star recruit ended up with nearly 30 from schools like Clemson, Oklahoma, Miami, Penn State, Oregon, Mississippi State, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Stanford, Louisville and others.

Roberts first visited Nebraska for their 2015 spring game, and despite several visits to Happy Valley in the year since, his relationship with Bray led to him committing to the Huskers over Penn State last April 21. Roberts was a four-year starter at Concord High School in Wilmington, Delaware. The No. 76 overall recruit was named linebacker MVP at Nike's The Opening Regionals in New Jersey in 2015, and at The Rivals Camps Series in New Jersey in 2016. Roberts had 135 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, eight sacks, four fumble recoveries, three forced fumbles and two defensive touchdowns as a senior, on his way to being named 2016 Delaware Defensive Player of the Year. Avery was a four-time all-conference selection, a three-time first-team All-Delaware selection and a USA Today All-Delaware pick. He finished his high school career with 423 career tackles, including 24 sacks and three interceptions.

Capable of playing every linebacker position, Roberts is listed as the No. 6 inside linebacker in the 247Sports composite rankings, the No. 13 inside linebacker by ESPN and as the No. 8 outside linebacker in the nation by Rivals. Roberts' film shows he can do everything. He has 4.6 speed and loves contact. He can hit, tackle, run and cover. Nebraska loses Josh Banderas and Michael Rose-Ivey and the switch to a new 3-4 means Roberts (an early enrollee) will be on the ground floor of the installation. Nebraska has plenty of depth at linebacker, but much of it is unproven. Roberts won't redshirt and it wouldn't shock me to see him manning one of the two inside spots come fall.

The first commit in this class came from Willie Hampton back in March. The 6-1, 225-pound Hampton helped lead American Heritage High School to a perfect 14-0 record and a Class 5A state title this past season. Hampton had 71 tackles, including 14 tackles for loss, six sacks, two forced fumbles and returned an interception for a touchdown. He earned second-team Florida 5A all-state honors.

In addition to football, Hampton also runs the 100 and 200 in track and throws the shotput. He was one of the top athletes at the Miami Nike Camp this past February, posting the top SPARQ score (117.66) of the 1,106 athletes competing. His numbers: 4.53-40 (electric), 4.53 (20-yard pro agility shuttle), 43.0 (power ball), 35.3 (vertical). Hampton was ranked among the nation's top 50 outside linebackers by both ESPN and 247Sports, while also being ranked as one of the top 85 players in Florida.

The third linebacker in this class is Andrew Ward, from Muskegon High School in Muskegon, Michigan. Once thought of as an ideal WLB in a 4-3, it will be interesting to see where he is developed and used in the new 3-4. The 6-1, 200-pound Ward racked up 122 total tackles as a senior after collecting 90 as a junior. As a senior, Ward earned first-team Division 3 Michigan all-state honors from the Associated Press and was a second-team All-Michigan choice by USA Today. He was also the Muskegon Chronicle Defensive Player of the Year and an all-conference selection. Ward was ranked among the top 25 prospects in Michigan by Rivals and 247Sports. Andrew was also ranked among the top 20 inside linebackers in the nation by Scout. Grade: B

Defensive Back: The team fell short on its numbers here, but not by much. The only scholarship player who is graduating is Nate Gerry, and the staff came into this recruiting season probably wanting to add two guys - perhaps three if the right guy was available. Nebraska brought in several top-ranked defensive backs but were unable to gain much traction with any of them. The were runner-up for a few and it appeared the team would not sign a defensive back until new cornerbacks coach Donté Williams was hired in December. Williams quickly reignited interest from Husker targets who had seemingly moved on from Nebraska.

Williams was hired a week before the month-long recruiting dead period, which put a damper on his efforts. The limited time to visit with recruits and the short time at his new home probably hamstrung him a bit with some guys. Regarded as one of the best recruiters in the country, Williams took aim at Darnay Holmes, Greg Johnson, Thomas Graham, Deommodore Lenoir and Elijah Blades. The aforementioned Holmes, Johnson and Graham had already used official visits to Lincoln, but Williams was able to get visits from Lenoir and Blades.

If Williams had been at Nebraska for a bit longer, it's likely he would have gotten commitments from Thomas Graham and Greg Johnson, who had committed to Williams and Arizona last March.

In the end, Williams was able to add the commitment of Elijah Blades, the No. 80 overall player in my top 300. The 6-2, 170-pound star from John Muir High School in Pasadena, California, chose the Huskers on signing day after being committed to Florida since June. At one point, Blades was a silent commit to Williams and Arizona prior to his verbal to the Gators. Blades visited Nebraska on January 20 and officially decommitted from Florida on the 25th. Blades was a second-team All-California selection by USA Today and was second-team all-state among Medium Schools according to Cal-Hi Sports. Blades is ranked among the top 50 overall prospects in the country by 247Sports and among the top 100 by Rivals, while also being a member of the ESPN 300. Blades is regarded as the third-best cornerback in the nation by 247Sports and No. 7 by Rivals. He is also regarded among the top 12 players in California by both 247Sports and Rivals.

Nebraska returns both starters at cornerback and promising youngster Lamar Jackson. This won't stop Blades from competing for immediate playing time. Don't expect to see a redshirt. Grade: B+

Prior to contributing to HuskerMax, Jeremy Pernell co-founded the all football website N2FL.com. He served as the editor in chief of the college football portion of the website which focused heavily on recruitment and talent analysis, including the NFL Draft. You can email him at N2FL@hotmail.com.

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