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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Nebraska Hires Rudolph

Coach Callahan completed his re-tooled coaching staff with the hire of Joe Rudolph as TE coach. Of the hire, Callahan says:
"Joe has a strong work ethic and will bring great energy to our staff. He has an excellent football mind and history of success. He was a part of winning teams on both the collegiate and professional level as a player and has been part of one of the top programs in the country the last three years."
I think that last sentence is an important component of this hire. One thing our staff seems to be lacking is overwhelming success at the college level. We know that Callahan, Cosgrove, Elmassian, Busch and now Rudolph spent time at Wisconsin in the 90s when the Huskers, Seminoles and Hurricanes were CFB’s elite. The Badgers have a solid program but have never been world-beaters. Couple that with Callahan’s tepid start and you find a staff that is perhaps short on swagger (for lack of a better term). I don’t think you can overestimate the importance of surrounding our team with “winners”. It may seem trite, but winning and the attitude it brings with it are often contagious.

Given that one of Rudolph’s main tasks last year at Ohio State was to motivate the team to work hard in the weight room and maintain focus through a 12-1 season, he should have a good idea of “what it takes”. Okay, enough triteness.

Rudolph’s nondescript official statement says:
"I am very grateful for the opportunity to join the Nebraska football program. I hope to complement the outstanding coaching staff and the elite football tradition at the University of Nebraska. I am excited and plan to hit the ground running."
Looks like another good hire and I hope he finds us a weapon at the TE spot.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Monday Bits and Pieces

Before we start, I have to admit it is getting a little lonely around here. Remember when DXP had a bunch of lively contributors? What the hell happened? I heard from Sammy Vegas this weekend and he will be returning shortly. What about T. and/or A. Rose? You guys game for some pieces this off-season? Oh and Dr. D if you can take a break from the "Fornication Vacation" you'll always have a spot too. Just let me know guys.

· The LJS is reporting that Joe Rudolph is perhaps the leading candidate for the TE coaching vacancy. Rudolph played for Wisconsin (while Callahan coached there) and earned first team All-Big Ten honors twice and helped the Badgers win the Big Ten and Rose Bowl as a senior. In the NFL, he spent two seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles and two with the San Francisco 49ers before injuries cut his career short in 1998. Rudolph is currently a member of the Ohio State strength and conditioning staff, but was formerly a GA with the Buckeyes who assisted with the offensive line.

· The Day 4 NFL Combine results are posted and Brandon Jackson seems to have had a pretty decent day. He won’t be happy with his 4.57 time in the forty, but he did show good explosiveness and change of direction with a 4.14 time in his 20-yard shuttle. Jackson also posted a 37’ inch vertical 10’2” broad jump. I’m still thinking he is a 3rd or 4th round pick.

· The Seattle Seahawks have tagged former Husker Josh Brown as their franchise player. Brown is the only kicker among this season’s seven franchise players. He led the league with four game-winning FGs in 2006 and is quickly becoming the leagues top clutch kicker. By rule the Seahawks will be forced to pay Brown just more than $2 million.

· Finally, we see what serves as a Texas-sized celebration around these parts. Apparently this is a group of Longhorn fans throwing down after the win over OU. I don’t think we really need to worry about that whole “Keep Austin Weird” movement.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Erin Andrews Picture of the Week

The face that makes ESPN/ABC tolerable. There's not a lot I wouldn't do just to hear her smile.

The Week's Three Biggest Stories

· Anna Nicole Smith is dead and her body was up for grabs at yesterday’s trial. Geez, even her corpse is litigious. I mean seriously this woman spends more time in court than Jack McCoy.

· Britney Spears is not only bald, but also busy treating rehab like an M.J. buzzer-beater – in…out…and back in again. Those poor kids. When KFed is your “normal” parent – let’s face it, you’re FKed.

· Doak Ostergard is out as head trainer for the football team after 17 years on the Husker staff.

I can give you my perspective on all three stories.

I don’t care.

Not one bit.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

10 Questions for Spring Practice

In case you were looking for a reason to pay attention to spring practice, here are some things to watch for.

1. What happens at the RB position? It is still crazy to think just how muddled the outlook at this position has become in such a short amount of time. Instead of an intact stable with four studs, we now have uncertainty abound. Marlon Lucky might be back, but this isn’t a sure thing. The same can also be said for Cody Glenn and a healthy Kenny Wilson is looking less and less realistic. Who then picks up the carries and how does this affect the progress of the offense?

2. A follow up - Is the surf and sand of Hawaii enough to convince Leon Jackson that he was right in choosing not to wait for his opportunity in Lincoln? I can’t blame the kid for the decision he made, but this is why patience is a virtue. It’s also why our coaches stockpile talent at the RB position.

3. Does Sam Keller live up to the hype? He’s got the talent and arm, but does he have the make-up to understand the terminology and nuances of Callahan’s WCO this quickly? The expectations could be a heavy load on Keller’s shoulders, especially with question marks in the running game.

4. Who or perhaps what is the future of the TE position? J.B. Phillips, Josh Mueller, and Hunter Teafatiller all got reps in 2006, but no one stood out. The spring was supposed to give Mike McNeill a chance to shine, but a shoulder injury will keep him out of action. Does someone step up and a make a name for himself, or will this unit continue to flounder?

5. Will the musical chairs along the offensive line continue or will the spring allow guys to get comfortable at one spot? Coach Wagner prefers, if not requires his players to be flexible and understand more than one position. Is it time to reevaluate this notion?

6. What happens when you lose all four starters along the defensive line? I’m really intrigued by this one. Add to that the loss of Barry Turner to shoulder surgery and we will see a plethora of new faces on the front four.

7. How does an extra spring impact the development of a JUCO CB recruit? Armando Murillo is already on campus and will enjoy a luxury not afforded Zack Bowman or Andre Jones. Will we see this payoff come fall or does the return of Bowman, coupled with the continued progress of Jones and Grixby make this a non-issue in 2007?

8. Is Larry Asante the next great Nebraska safety? We’ve had success with JUCO safeties in the past (Toby Wright, Kareem Moss), but the learning curve is often steep. Junior colleges often emphasize athleticism over technique. The coaching staff felt he was the best safety recruit in the country. How does that type of fanfare and a January enrollment translate to PT come fall?

9. Is Bo Ruud the best linebacker in the Big 12? seems to think so, and they just might be right. If it is true, the Nebraska LB corps could be pretty solid, despite the loss of Stewart Bradley. Also of note - Does Steve Octavien have more than one great game this season (see Maine 2005, Texas 2006), and how does Phillip Dillard look after returning from ACL surgery.

10. How does the coaching turnover affect the team this spring? Blake and Norvell are gone, Wyatt is slightly more entrenched and Watson sees his duties shuffled. Will the casual observer notice any changes this soon, and how might they impact the players? Perhaps more importantly will the staff be complete come spring practice or will Callahan go all Hoosiers on us?

"But you've only got 8 coach."

"I said, my team is on the field!"

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Quick Hits

First off I apologize for a lack of meaningful posts. I’m not really a planner and tend to “wing it,” when it comes to my everyday life (this blog included). I suppose lacking the context of the actual football season, has left me grasping at ways to fill the space. I’ll get better, I promise.

I’m sure you’ve all seen this week’s Dear Abby column about Nebraska football fans and their weddings. For me this column was a bit like having your friends finally realize the depth of your heroin problem. Sure folks might know you dabble a bit, but planning your daughter’s wedding around your next fix is another level all-together.

The column also hit home for another reason. For those that don’t follow my personal life closely, I got engaged just over a month ago (totally not a Russian bride, believe it or not). We are a ways from setting a date, but showing this column to the Girl Who Finds Jeffie Husker Infinitely Loveable (GWFJHIL for short), hopefully helped rule-out a Fall wedding. While blocking out every weekend from late August to the first weekend of January might play well in Lincoln, Omaha, or Ogallala, it is viewed far less favorably outside the confines of “the Good Life”. This phenomenon also does nothing to change the dominant view of Nebraska as a state of cornfields, frozen steaks and football.

In other news Baylor blog Bear Meat, takes a closer look at Nebraska from a Baptist Waco perspective. It also includes a photo log of famous Nebraskans (a short list, obviously), a taste of Lincoln’s own Melissa Midwest (careful NSFW), and a shout out to us “hornballs” at DXP. If you aren’t reading Bear Meat daily, you need to start. They are quickly making a name for themselves in the blogosphere.

I plan on getting more good stuff up here in the days and weeks that follow.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Checking in on the NFL Draft has Gil Brandt’s pre-Combine "rankings". Here is how he ranks this year’s group of Huskers: Nevermind, as Bob points out in the comment section Gil Brandt was apparently only in charge of alphabetizing the players for the combine. I suck at reading.

Adam Carriker #5 DL
Jay Moore #34 DL
Stewart Bradley #5 LB
Brandon Jackson #6 RB

In addition, Draft Tek is a really cool mock draft site that uses a computer model to generate a 7-round simulation for the 2007 NFL draft. This is how the site projects Nebraska’s prospects to go:

Round 1 (10) Adam Carriker - Atlanta
Round 3 (74) Stewart Bradley - Buffalo
Round 4 (119) Jay Moore - New Orleans
Round 7 (220) Brandon Jackson - Baltimore

For what its worth, I think the Draft Tek model undervalues BJax a bit. I can't imagine one of the Top 10 RB prospects falling to the 7th round.

I also can't help but hope that one day we see more Husker offensive talent on NFL draft boards.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Erin Andrews Picture of the Week

With this new feature I'm waiting for one of you smart-asses to suggest I change the name of the blog to "Every Day Should Be Friday."

Oh, and since its been a rough week for Husker Nation, an added dose of Ashley Russell of

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Lucky Out of Hospital

Marlon Lucky has been released from the hospital, which hopefully signals the end of the worst part of this chapter.

Of his release, Lucky said:
“I have been in the hospital and have recovered fully. I am looking forward to getting back to classes and workouts. I want to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers and concerns, and now I want to focus on my future. Lastly, thank you again for respecting my privacy.”
Bill Callahan had the following to say:
“We are happy that Marlon has been released from the hospital. He will return to classes and re-join our off-season workouts as soon as possible. I know Marlon’s teammates are excited to have him back.”
All signs point to Lucky returning to action as soon as possible. Before this happens, however, I'd certainly recommend some trauma counseling - not only for Lucky, but also for his teammates. Another reason why having a staff psychologist (sport or otherwise) around just makes sense.

If Lucky does in fact return to form, 2007 could be an emotional year for all involved.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Don't Really Know What to Say

I'm having a little trouble moving beyond the Marlon Lucky news at this point. To be trite I suppose it has "put things in perspective," or reminded us that there are more important things than football. More realistically I just haven't found the mechanism that moves me past this yet. Occasionally when I'm working with a client I become agitated when I don't ask or don't think to ask a meaningful therapeutic question. In those situations the disturbance often centers on holes in the client's narrative that could have been easily patched just by asking the right question. The holes are there in this case too. Unfortunately the questions associated with these holes probably shouldn't be asked right now. And if those questions are being asked, I need not be privy to their answers.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Official Statements on Marlon Lucky

Marlon Lucky's condition has been upgraded to fair and he continues to improve according to an offical university statement.

Marlon Lucky's family has also released the following statement:
"We would like to make it clear that Marlon's medical emergency did not come about as a result of the use of alcohol or any illicit drugs," the statement said. "We are very appreciative of the thoughts and prayers for Marlon during this time."
In addition Bill Callahan states:
"I have spent time with both Marlon and his family at the hospital over the past couple days,'' Callahan said. "Marlon knows that he has the full support of our football team, coaches and entire athletic department. We want to thank everyone for respecting the privacy of Marlon and his family."

Monday, February 12, 2007

Marlon Lucky Medical Emergency

According to KETV Marlon Lucky was involved in some sort of medical emergency on Sunday night. Vagueness rules the day, and I refuse to speculate. More details to follow...perhaps.

Update 4:31 CST - Sean Callahan of Huskers Illustrated is now reporting on 1620 AM that Lucky was hospitalized after being found unconscious due to "an overdose". Details remain sketchy to quite sketchy.

Update 4:40 CST - Sean Callahan just stated that Marlon has apparently taken a "turn for the good", and should be ok. John Blake is also reportedly at the hospital.

Update 5:00 CST - The mainstream media is now reporting his hospitalization, with no other details.

World Herald Article
Journal Star Article

Update 6:15 CST - cites sources indicating Lucky is being treated for overdose

Quick Hits

I hadn't commented on it yet but six Huskers will miss the Spring practices due to injury. They are:

Barry Turner (shoulder)
Jacob Hickman (knee)
Corey Young (shoulder)
Seth Jensen (shoulder)
Craig Roark (shoulder)
Mike McNeill (shoulder)

The two I am most concerned about are Turner and McNeill. Turner is going to be relied upon heavily to create pressure from his DE spot. Nursing a shoulder through the Spring will keep him away from the weightroom, preventing him from adding much needed strength. McNeill is a problem given the lack of depth and apparent deficiency of talent at the TE position. I had hoped that he could step up and take on a big role in the offense in 2007. Now we’ll have to see how he progresses once he is healthy.

Another thing to note is the abundance of shoulder injuries. Is the shoulder injury going to become Dave Kennedy’s athletic pubalgia? I seriously hope not.

Additionally, Chad Roark is no longer a member of the team after being forced to give up football due to a persistent back injury. This is an unfortunate situation for Chad, who looked to have a promising future.

Nebraska also dodged a bullet when WR Coach Ted Gilmore accepted and then unacceptedthe same position with the Oakland Raiders. Said Gilmore:
"It's a combination of everything," Gilmore said. "I prayed about it. Although it's a wonderful opportunity (in Oakland), it's just not the right opportunity at this point in my life. All I can do is go on my gut feeling.

"I came to Nebraska to win a championship, and haven't done that at this point."

Ranking the Recruiting Class

Here is how some of the "experts" view our class. From listening to what some of our coaches are saying, it seems as though they feel it is our strongest class of the Callahan era. I like the way this class looks from top-to-bottom and I think we hit a couple of major needs at DB and DT. I also like the number of playmakers we seem to have picked up. I guess we'll wait around a couple of years and find out.

1. Florida
2. USC
3. Tennessee
4. LSU
5. Texas
6. S. Carolina
7. Auburn
8. Notre Dame
9. Georgia
10. Alabama
11. Oregon
12. Michigan
13. Nebraska
14. Oklahoma
15. Ohio St.
16. N. Carolina
17. Illinois
18. Florida St.
19. Ga. Tech
20. Clemson
1. Florida
2. LSU
3. So. Cal
4. Texas
5. Tennessee
6. Auburn
7. S. Carolina
8. Oregon
9. Pittsburgh
10. Michigan
11. Notre Dame
12. California
13. Miami-FL
14. Ga. Tech
15. N. Carolina
16. Ohio St.
17. Georgia
18. Penn St.
19. Alabama
20. Nebraska

Tom Lemming
1. Florida
2. Tennessee
3. Texas
4. USC
5. LSU
6. S. Carolina
7. Notre Dame
8. Nebraska
9. Auburn
10. Georgia

Max Emfinger
1. Florida
2. USC
3. LSU
4. Tennessee
5. Texas
6. Auburn
7. Alabama
8. S. Carolina
9. Ohio St.
10. Notre Dame
11. Georgia
12. Miami-FL
13. Michigan
14. Nebraska
14. Oklahoma
16. Illinois
17. Florida St.
18. Clemson
19. Ole Miss
20. Texas A&M

1. Florida
2. Texas
3. USC
4. LSU
5. Tennessee
6. Notre Dame
7. S. Carolina
8. Michigan
9. Auburn
10. Nebraska

Scouts Inc.
1. USC
2. Florida
3. Texas
4. S. Carolina
5. Tennessee
6. LSU
7. Auburn
8. Notre Dame
9. Miami-FL
10. Michigan
11. N. Carolina
12. Illinois
13. Georgia
14. Ga. Tech
15. Va. Tech
16. Texas A&M
17. Alabama
18. Clemson
19. Pittsburgh
20. Ohio St.
21. Penn St.
22. Nebraska

Friday, February 09, 2007

Erin Andrews Picture of the Week v2.0

The stripes give it that whole "women's prison movie" feel. Or maybe it's just me.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

2007 Signing Day Extravaganza

Small change in plans. I found a window of time and decided to get this up now, before it became old news. The class is full as best I can tell. Latest word has recruiting-slut David Ross to Oregon State. Ugh. Anyway here it is.

Woo! We've got fresh meat! Here is the comprehensive 2007 recruiting class. This is another class that looks great on paper. Unfortunately championships are not won on paper. We can expect that some of these will never make it to Lincoln. I have severe academic concerns about at least two. Another percentage will "fail", if failing means having your education paid for, while you attempt to crack the top of the depth chart at one of the most storied football programs in the country. A few will imagine greener pastures, seeking playing time or just a change of scenery. And still others will unfortunately run afoul of team rules or worse yet - Johnny Law.

But Signing Day is a fresh start. A grocery cart filled with speed and strength and hype. And a hyped recruit can make you dizzy, like you've been drinking Jack and Coke all morning. He can make you feel high, full of the single greatest commodity known to man - promise. Promise of a better day. Promise of a greater hope. Promise of a new tomorrow. This particular aura can be found in the gait of a hyped recruit. In his smile, in his glare, the way he makes every rotten little thing about life seem like it's going to be okay. The hyped recruits, folks? That's all they are. Bottled promise. Scenes from a brand new day. Hope packaged in shoulder pads.

Prince Amukamara ATH 6’1 180 4.5 Glendale (AZ) Apollo H.S. Amukamara was named Arizona's Big School Player of the Year in 2006. He thinks of himself as a Deion Sanders type player who can do it all. Rushed for 2106 yards and 24 TDs as a Senior. Also caught 22 passes for 452 yards and 6 TDs. Amukamura has incredible vision and an uncanny ability to change direction on a dime. He also excels at finding cutback lanes, which produced some amazing runs in high school. Amukamura will need to add size and strength and might have to improve his blocking if he is lined up as a WR. He is a 3-star prospect according to Rivals, and is ranked as the 56th best Athlete prospect in the 2007 class. Amukamara selected Nebraska over offers from Colorado, Oregon State, Fresno State and UTEP.

Larry Asante S 6’1 205 4.4 Coffeyville (KS) Coffeyville C.C. Asante was the only safety targeted by the Nebraska staff, who believe he is the top safety prospect in the country. He led Coffeyville in tackles with 76, had 11 TFL, three blocked kicks and one interception in 2006. Asante has great size and possesses the quick-sudden-violent movements that you look for from the safety position. Asante will need to transfer his physical abilities and instincts to the more intelligent style of football played in the Big 12. Asante signed his LOI in December and is already enrolled for Spring semester. Could push for the starting SS spot if his development in the Spring goes as planned. Considered the 9th best JUCO player in the 2007 class, Asante was 4-star prospect according to Rivals. Chose Nebraska over offers from Clemson, Iowa State, KSU, Ole Miss, Texas A&M.

Shukree Barfield DT 6’4 310 4.9 Garden City (KS) Garden City C.C. One of two key JUCO DT signings, which should help buffer the departure of Nebraska’s entire starting D-line. Barfield is a big-bodied and athletic DT. He’s an explosive player known for his motor and tenacity. Barfield seems to have the ability to play both one-tecnique or the three-technique. He finished his sophomore season at Garden City with 54 tackles, five sacks and even one interception in 2006. Barfield is listed 3-star prospect by Rivals. Originally from Camden, NJ he signed with Rutgers out of high school, and picked Nebraska in 2007 over offers from USF, Kentucky, Louisville, and Rutgers.

Anthony Blue CB 5’10 172 4.5 Cedar Hill (TX) Cedar Hill H.S. After suffering from a lack of depth in the defensive backfield in 2006, Nebraska worked hard to solidify this area through recruiting. Blue is an athletic DB from the Lone Star state. He finished his senior campaign with 48 tackles and 1 INT. Blue’s team won the Texas 5A state title and finished the 2006 season with a 16-0 record. He registered six stops in the state finals against Garland. A Rivals 3-star prospect, Blue considered offers from Baylor, Houston, Purdue, Wisconsin, among others before selecting the Huskers. You can checkout some of his highlights below.

Jaivorio Burkes OL 6’4 311 5.7 Phoenix (AZ) Moon Valley H.S. Burkes is another in a string of recent lineman with great size. Burkes’ biggest asset from a physical standpoint may be his long arms. He is a 4-star prospect and was considered the #7 OG prospect in the 2007 class by rivals. Due to his frame Burkes may play tackle in college. Jaivorio excels in pass protection and improved his run blocking as a senior. He will no doubt benefit from Nebraska’s strength and conditioning program, but also must develop some nastiness and the desire to bring it on every play. Burkes chose the Huskers over Arizona, ASU, Colorado, Michigan, Oklahoma, Oregon and Oregon State.

Quentin Castille RB 6’ 235 4.6. La Porte (TX) La Porte H.S. Another recruiting payoff from our efforts in the state of Texas. Castille is the big-bodied back in this year’s class. He has a powerful running style and hits the hole quickly and decidedly. Castille utilizes his leg drive to break a lot tackles and he should at the very least push Cody Glenn for goal line carries. Rushed for over 1700 yards and 20 TDs, while averaging 7.9 yards/carry in 2006. A 4-star prospect by Rivals, Castille was ranked as the 36th best player in Texas. Castille chose Nebraska after considering offers from Louisville, Georgia Tech, Michigan State, Indiana, and UTEP.

Jared Crick DE 6’6 254 4.8. Cozad (NE) Cozad H.S. One of two in-state recruits in the 2007 class. Crick finished his senior season with 68 tackles, 6 TFL and 1 sack. He also averaged 18.9 yards/catch as a TE. As a DE he is quick off the ball and plays with a nasty attitude. Bull-rushed people off the line in high school, but will have to work hard on additional techniques if he hopes to excel in the Big 12. His football savvy could help him learn schemes and alignments at Nebraska. Despite coming from a small school, Crick more than held his own at the East Meets West All-American game in Orlando. He’s a 3-star prospect according to Rivals and chose Nebraska over offers from CSU, ISU, Wyoming, Kansas and Ohio.

Demetrious Davis DT 6’4 280 5.2 St. Joseph (MO) Benton H.S. A nice get for the coaches out of the state of Missouri. Davis is extremely strong (420 bench, 575 squat) and explosive off the line. He recorded 70 tackles last season as a junior including six sacks. He put off shoulder surgery to repair cartilage damage in order to play in the East Meets West All-American game, but should be recovered from this in time for Fall camp. Unfortunately it looks like grades may be an issue. At this point he either plays catch up during the Spring or Summer or we won't see him on campus. A Rivals 3-star he was ranked as the #39 DT nationally and the 10th best player from Missouri in 2007. Davis chose Nebraska after considering offers from Kansas State, Missouri, Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado and Iowa.

Kevin Dixon DT 6’3 292 4,8. Garden City (KS) Garden City C.C. Another important DT pick up for the 2007 class. Dixon was a JUCO teammate of Shukree Barfield. May be counted on to step up and play early. A little smaller than his teammate, Dixon relies on his quickness and strength to get up field. Will need to work on adding size and improving his technique. Dixon originally committed to South Florida before changing his mind after a late November visit to Nebraska. Dixon is ranked as the 36th best JUCO player in the 2007 class and is a Rivals 4-star prospect.

Curenski Gilleylen WR 6’0 210 4.5 Leander (TX) Leander H.S. Another Texan and one of several additions to the class that should improve the number of big play threats on the roster. Gilleylan looks like a nice WR prospect with good hands and a great ability to get open. He has a ton of speed and reportedly ran back-to-back 4.3 forties at the Rice camp. Gilleylan finished his senior campaign with 30 receptions for 915 yards and 9 TDs. He also rushed for over 500 yards and 4 TDs. Expected to begin his career at the X-receiver position, he may also return punts and kickoffs and Nebraska. Rivals lists him a 3-star prospect and the 49th best WR in the 2007 class. Gilleylen chose Nebraska after considering offers from Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma State, and Purdue. A collection of his high school highlights is offered below.

Eric Hagg WR/DB 4.5 6’2 192 Peoria (AZ) Ironwood H.S. Hagg is another nice looking athlete from the state of Arizona. He has good size and could end up at WR or DB at Nebraska. Hagg has soft hands and the speed to get separation from DBs. He finished his senior year with 49 receptions for 920 yards and 9 TDs. On the defensive side of the ball he also had 33 tackles and 3 INTs as a DB. Will need to work on his route running as a WR in college. If he is looked at as a DB, he will need to improve his toughness, aggressiveness and willingness to make the initial contact. A Rivals 3-star prospect Hagg was listed as the 15th best prospect in the state of Arizona. Hagg selected Nebraska over Arizona, Oregon, Oregon State, Utah and Fresno State.

Roy Helu RB 5’11 210 Danville (CA) San Ramon Valley H.S. Helu typifies one of the supposed second-tier California prospects that Nebraska initially discovers and then eventually receives numerous other offers. Helu looks to be an extremely versatile back who has a special mix of size and speed. He also has great hands and excels as a receiver out of the backfield. Finished his senior year with 1085 yards rushing and 11 TDs. He also caught 20 passes for 280 yards and a TD. Due to the late decommitment of Travis Lewis he might get a look as a LB once he arrives on campus, but we’ve all seen why depth at RB is also important. Helu is a Rivals 3-star prospect who was ranked as the 55th best RB in the 2007 class. He selected Nebraska over Cal, BYU, and Oregon.

Ryan Hill TE 6’3 230 4.7 Arvada (CO) Arvada West H.S. Another incredible athlete who played QB, FS, TE, was the all-Colorado punter for two years and was also the kicker. Will be counted on to add depth to the TE position, which did not play much of a role for the 2006 Huskers. Hill finished his senior season with 42 receptions for 924 yards and 7 TDs. Had over 800 receiving yards and 15 TDs as a junior. He will need to get bigger, and stronger and also improve his blocking before he can be expected to contribute at Nebraska. Hill flew below the radar and had very few offers prior to Nebraska. Much of this is due to work of Shawn Watson who got in on Hill early. Once he committed to NU other teams seemingly backed off.

Marcel Jones T 6’7 310 5.3 Phoenix (AZ) Trevor Browne H.S. Marcel has to be one of Nebraska’s biggest recruits ever. Possesses the prototypical body of a tackle. Has the long arms, large hands and good feet that Dennis Wagner covets in his linemen. Jones is exceptionally athletic for his size also plays basketball. He was named all-region for his efforts on the hardwood as a junior and is averaging 12 points and 8 rebounds per game as a senior. Jones will need to increase his strength, develop more tenacity and go hard on every play to be successful at NU. A Rivals 3-star he is considered the 13th best prospect from the state of Arizona. Jones chose Nebraska over scholarship offers from Arizona State and Oregon State.

Adi Kunalic K 6’0 175 Fort Worth (TX) North Crowley H.S. Adi could turn out to be the most important member of this recruiting class following the departure of Jordan Congdon. Kunalic had a fantastic junior season in which he connected on FGs of 57 and 53 yards that put him on the map. When his team faltered his senior year, his FG opportunities all but disappeared. He was able to connect, however, on 2/4 FGs, was 29-31 on extra points and averaged over 40 yards per punt as a senior. Kunalic displayed a powerful leg in high school and the majority of his kickoffs went for touchbacks. Like all high school kickers, he will have to adjust to the one inch tee for kickoffs and using no tee on FGAs. Kunalic turned down offers from Miami, Kansas, Utah, and Washington State to sign with the Huskers.

Blake Lawrence OLB 6’2 200 4.65 Overland Park (KS) Shawnee Mission West H.S. Played a lot of safety in high school, but will likely line up at the SAM spot at Nebraska. Had strong senior year that included 90 tackles, 2 sacks and 3 INTs. He also rushed for 476 yards and 16 TDs. He has quick feet and moves pretty well laterally. Also displayed a nose for the ball and is a solid tackler. Blake will need to improve his pass coverage skills as well as work on shedding blocks before he will earn a Blackshirt. Received 4-star rating and listed as the top prospect in the state of Kansas, and the 18th best OLB by Rivals. Lawrence’s brother Tyler was a member of the 2006 recruiting class at Kansas. Blake spurned offers from Kansas, Arizona State, Colorado, Kansas State, Michigan State and Texas Tech to sign with Nebraska. You can see some of Blake's work below.

Zach Lee QB 6’2 200 4.6 San Francisco (CA) City College of San Francisco. Nebraska once again dipped into the JUCO ranks to provide some much needed depth to the QB position. Hopefully this Zach will be as successful as the last one. Completed 64% of his passes for 3,471 yards and 31 TD with just 5 INTs in 2006. He signed his LOI in December and is already enrolled for Spring semester. Unfortunately he suffered a knee injury toward the end of his season, which has kept him out of winter conditioning. Recent reports indicate he may be cleared to run soon. Having an extra spring to pick up the offense could be crucial to his future development. Lee was listed as the 10th best JUCO player in the 2007 class and was a 4-star prospect according to Rivals. Chose the Huskers over Cal, Mississippi State, Oklahoma and Oregon.

Marcus Mendoza RB/WR 5’10 175 4.4 Houston (TX) Spring Woods H.S. An intriguing talent that was too good to pass up. Possesses track star speed, great agility and balance, terrific hands and surprising strength (260 bench, 485 squat). Finished his senior season with 700 yards rushing and 6 TDs as well as 259 yards receiving and 4 TDs. It will be interesting to see where Mendoza lines up for the Huskers, but it was obviously his playmaking abilities that we coveted. Could be effective as slot receiver, scat type RB and dangerous return man. Will go through spring practices having already signed his LOI and is currently enrolled in Spring semester classes. Mendoza chose the Huskers over Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and TCU.

Terrence Moore DT 6’3 267 New Orleans (LA) McDonogh 35 H.S. Displaced by Hurricane Katrina, Moore spent his junior year in Spring, TX. Returned back to Louisiana for his senior season. An extremely strong prospect, Moore is quick off the ball and sheds blocks well. Should fill out in college and has the frame to carry up to 30 additional pounds. Moore closed out his high school career with 81 tackles, an incredible 31 TFL, 14 sacks and also recovered 2 fumbles. Moore was listed as the 22nd ranked player from the state of Louisiana. A 3-star Rivals prospect, Moore picked Nebraska over Tulane, Missouri, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma State, and Rice.

Armando Murillo CB 6’0 195 4.4 Thatcher (AZ) Eastern Arizona C.C. The signing of Murillo marks the third straight year in which Nebraska has picked up a highly-ranked JUCO CB. He has good size and excellent speed. It will be interesting to again see how these physical traits mesh with his ability to pick up Nebraska’s schemes and techniques. Murillo signed his LOI in December and is already enrolled for Spring semester. While Zack Bowman and Andre Jones took most of the regular season to become comfortable at CB it is hoped that Murillo will benefit from going through winter conditioning and Spring ball. 4-star prospect by Rivals. Had 30 tackles and 3 INTs in 2006. Selected Nebraska after considering offers from WVU, Arizona State, Louisville, Kansas, Ole Miss, Oklahoma, and Hawaii.

Niles Paul WR 6’2 210 4.4 Omaha (NE) North H.S. A home-state player who also happens to be one of the most decorated members of the 2007 class. Paul is a dynamic receiver, who could push for early playing time if he improves his route running. Named a Parade All-American, he also played in the U.S. Army All-American Game and more than held his own against the elite competition. Finished senior season with 46 catches for 813 yards and 13 TDs. Niles has great body control, terrific hands and solid concentration. These attributes mean that he can catch in traffic in addition to providing Nebraska with a much-needed deep threat. A Rivals 4-star, Paul was listed as the top player from the state of Nebraska, the 73rd ranked player in the country and the 10th best WR prospect in the U.S. Paul is the nephew of Ahman Green and his spent two summers in Green Bay working out with Green and his teammates. Committed to Nebraska shortly after its Alamo Bowl victory over Michigan. Paul also had offers from Michigan and Iowa State among others. You can see Paul in action below.

Austin Stafford LB 6’2 200 4.5 Hayward (CA) Hayward H.S. Another California prospect that Nebraska was in on early. Stafford played some DE in high school, but will likely line up as a LB in college. His senior statistics are unavailable, but Stafford had 83 tackles, 12 TFL and 10 sacks as a junior in 2005. Has extremely quick feet and great lateral movement that allows him to roam from sideline to sideline. His athleticism should be a great addition to the linebacking corps. Will need to add size and strength as well as improve his pass coverage skills in order to contribute at Nebraska. Stafford is listed as the 26th best OLB prospect in the country and the 45 best player in California. He committed after his mid-December visit and selected the Huskers over offers from San Diego State and Utah.

Shawn Sullivan DB 5’9 180 4.4 Brenham (TX) Brenham H.S. Another prospect that will be counted on to eventually provide depth in the secondary. Possesses good quickness and solid strength (325 bench, 435 squat). Doesn’t have the height that Nebraska typically looks for in its CBs, but appears to be a bit more physical than Grixby. A 3-star according to Rivals, Sullivan is considered the 43rd best CB prospect and the 89th ranked player from the state of Texas. One of the first members of the 2006 class, Sullivan chose Nebraska after considering offers from TCU, Colorado, Wisconsin, Kansas, Houston and Oklahoma State.

Joseph Townsend DE 6’4 295 4.8 Los Altos Hills (CA) Foothill College. Another JUCO added to help fill the void along the defensive line. Has the body of a DT, but the quickness of DE. Although he played DT in junior college, he is expected to line up as a DE at Nebraska and will perhaps be counted on to replace Adam Carriker. Townsend managed to add 30 pounds to his frame while in JUCO to put him at his current playing weight. A rivals 4-star Townsend was listed as the 30th ranked JUCO prospect in the 2007 class. He will have four years to play three for the Huskers. His brother Larry played DT for Nebraska in the mid-90s. Townsend selected Nebraska over Arizona State, Mississippi State and Washington State.

LaTravis Washington LB/S 6’3 210 4.5 Bradenton (FL) Bayshore H.S. Another Husker legacy in the class, LaTravis is the cousin of Fabian Washington. LaTravis was a dual-threat QB in high school, who will likely play safety or linebacker at NU. Defensively LaTravis played safety and DE in high school and recorded 5 sacks from his DE spot. A Rivals 3-star he was ranked as the #39 ranked safety in the country and the 65th best player in Florida. Washington chose Nebraska over Ohio State, WVU, Louisville, and North Carolina State. Ohio State was the only school among his finalists that was recruiting Washington as a QB. Another with grade issues, he will need to raise his GPA or test scores to become eligible. Greyshirting and arriving in the Spring of 2008 could be an option so it might be best to see how this plays out.

Patrick Witt QB 6’4 215 4.7 Wylie (TX) Wylie H.S. With Witt, Nebraska picked up a commitment from its first high school QB since Harrison Beck. Witt is a big, strong-armed QB from Texas. He shows pretty good pocket awareness and gets the ball out quick. Although they clearly whiffed on some of the higher profile QB recruits, the Nebraska coaches feel Witt possesses all the skills to run their offense. Witt finished his senior campaign by completing 57% of his passes for 1846 yards and 17 TDs. He was rated as a 3-star prospect by Rivals and was listed as the #18 pro-style QB and the 84th best player in the state of Texas. Witt graduated high school early, is already enrolled in classes and will take part in Spring practice. He picked Nebraska over scholarship offers from Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Wisconsin, Baylor, Indiana, and Purdue. Witt’s brother is currently a QB at Harvard.

William Yancy DE 6’4 225 4.7 Glendale (AZ) Ironwood H.S. Another member of Coach Busch’s amazing recruiting haul from Arizona. He is very athletic and displays great quickness off the line of scrimmage. He could wind up as a tremendous pass rusher in the mold of Barry Turner. Has good height, but will need to pack on pounds and increase his strength to become an every down DE in the Big 12. Was extremely disruptive during his senior season collecting 80 tackles, 10 sacks, 12 TFL, 2 FF, and 1 FR. Probably has the athleticism to play TE in college if necessary. Yancy earned 4-stars from Rivals and is the #18 DE nationally and the #4 rated player from the state of Arizona. He selected the Huskers over offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Oregon State and Purdue.

OL Aaron Schulte (Norfolk)

C/LS Mike Caputo (Millard North)
OL Mike Masin (Lincoln Southeast)
FB Kevin Thomsen (Elkhorn)
FB/ATH Michael Hays (Papillion)
WR Matt Donahue (Fremont)
WR Keith Graham (Charleston, S.C.)
DE Luke Lingenfelter (Plainview)
DL Taylor Escamilla (Fremont Bergan)
LB Thomas Grove (Arlington)
ILB Jeff Sayre (Barrington, Ill.)
S Matt May (Imperial Chase County)
S Austin Cassidy (Lincoln Southwest)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Signing Day Eve

So tomorrow is the big day that many live for. No matter how closely you choose to follow recruiting, try and keep in mind that the signing of letters of intent should be extremely meaningful to the players (and their families) and to the coaches who have recruited them. Beyond these parties, the rest of us are just hangers-on.

That being said, the DXP Signing Day Extravaganza will make its appearance sometime after 8:00 pm Wednesday night. I have class until 8:00 and thus will be out of the loop for most of the day. Once I'm home I'll check to see who faxed in their paperwork complete with their respective Herbie Hancock and then put the finishing touches on the piece.

With Travis Lewis already fulfilling our annual quota of Josh Freeman-late in the game-type decommits, lets hope for no more surprises (unless they are good ones).

Oh and don't miss the MZone's hilarous coverage of Mike Bellotti's contract extension. Funniest thing I've seen in a long, long time.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Sex Cannon Muted in Miami

Rex Grossman is not good. How the Bears stayed in that game is beyond my comprehension.

I probably won't have much to say for a few days as I'm working on a Signing Day post that will make Tom Lemming proud. Until then go read this piece on SMQ about the Exploitation Index. It is amazing. When I write something half that good, I will walk away with the satisfaction of knowing I'm on top.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Erin Andrews Picture of the Week

Or what Chuck wants, Chuck gets, because no request at DXP goes unnoticed. A new feature might be just what we need to get us through the bleak midwinter. She might be Erin to some, but us "insiders", know her better as "Poopsie". Or in this case "Poopsie in HD".

Reducing the Pile

Things have certainly piled up as I’ve reminded myself that graduate school is not a time for leisurely pursuits. Nope, that’s what law school is for. In other words, I’ve found it difficult lately to fill space here with my proboscis pressed firmly to the proverbial grindstone. But better days are hopefully ahead when something Nebraska football-related actually happens. Who knew the off-season was going to be so off?

· The 2006 College Football Blog Awards wrapped up yesterday, and you can play catch-up if you missed the whirlwind presentations back at Rocky Top Talk.

· DXP is humbled to have finished second in the Best Big 12 Blog category to BON. I didn’t find out about said finish until seeing DT’s comment here. I guess that is the blogging equivalent of receiving an Oscar nod and then blowing off the ceremony. But seriously finishing second to BON is a bit like placing runner up to Miles Davis in a “cool” contest. Those guys are just that good.

· My original joke above was “like finishing second to a high school wrestler in a herpes contest”. What? Too soon?

· National Signing Day is officially less than one week away. The always punctual SMQ jumped the gun and provides his Signing Day opus a week early. I’m with him, though isn’t it usually on February 1st? Apparently National Signing Day is more of the President’s Day floating date type holiday than that of the Christmas variety.

· Speaking of recruiting, several bloggers have noted the “creepy” feel that it seems to have taken on lately. I for one, can’t get off to the exploits of high school boys, until they’ve signed on the dotted line. Therefore, my time at high schools is spent…researching…for a book I’m writing…on cheerleaders.

· Heisman Pundit has a great read about the recruitment of recent Heisman winners, including that of Eric Crouch.

· The Nick Saban “Piss off the World World Tour” continues with a derogatory ethnic slur that “is highly offensive to descendants of Acadians, who are commonly referred to as Cajuns”. I’m not claiming Nick’s not a nice guy, but its like my rabbi always says, "The first time someone calls you a horse you punch him on the nose, the second time someone calls you a horse you call him a jerk but the third time someone calls you a horse, well then perhaps it's time to go shopping for a saddle."

· And lastly, GO BEARS!!!!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

College Football Blogger Awards

So the CFB Blogger Awards announcements started yesterday. Thus far DXP has been shut out, which is, um...absolutely the right call. You can check out all the winners in a variety of posts at the following sites:

Best New Blog
"The Trev" (funniest blog).
Dr. Z
Best MSM Blog
Jenn Sterger's Rack Award (not as enticing as you'd think pervs).
Jay Sherman Award

I may have missed some others, so I'll update if I can.