Recruiting rankings don't tell everything

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Nebraska’s football signing class will be announced on Wednesday, one that will most likely be projected just outside the Top 25.
Disappointing? Yes. Surprising? No.
It’s not very often that the Huskers land inside the top 15 or so when it comes to recruiting. I remember one of Tom Osborne’s senior classes that won a national championship was labeled initially as the 32nd best recruiting class to sign on the dotted line. Go figure.
And if you consider the type of season the Huskers just put together, even though they did beat a pretty good UCLA team in San Francisco in late December, it’s not surprising at all.
A good class? Yes. Great? Maybe next year.
What does matter right now is how this coaching staff is able to develop these young players by the time they’re sophomores and juniors, so hopefully when they’re seniors they’ll take charge of the program.
The obvious headliner is on campus right now in California quarterback Patrick O’Brien. I’ve watched lots of Hudl videos of him and he looks like an excellent pro-caliber pocket passer with decent foot speed. Highlight videos are just that, but he can put the ball in a tight window. The key will be how soon he can grasp the offense and and how fast he adjusts to college life. Stay tuned.
What has me the most excited is the potential of the four offensive linemen, because as we all know, it all starts up front. Boe Wilson, Matt Forniok, Bryan Brokop and John Rairdon will undoubtedly make this program better, and I think those four alone have a chance to take the offense to another level. All are top-caliber national recruits. Wilson is the third best center according to Scout, Forniok the 14th best offensive tackle, Brokop the 25th best guard, and Rairdon the fifth best guard, both according to 247 Sports.
When Big Red was really good, when they were winning conference and national championships, they leaned on the offensive line to get them a lot of big wins. The game that stands out is when the Huskers traveled to K-State in 1994, minus Tommy Frazier along with a bruised and battered Brook Berringer. Third string quarterback Matt Turman handed the ball off that day to the late Lawrence Phillips, again and again and again. In fact, Phillips carried the rock 31 times that day, running behind the line of Brenden Stai, Zach Wiegert, Aaron Graham, Rob Zatechka and Steve Ott. It was simply a masterpiece.
Fast forward to next season for Mike Riley, the pressure mounting. He’s going to need to start building a dominant, mean, nasty, aggressive offensive line, one we haven’t seen around these parts in quite awhile.
Do that and Nebraska won’t be outside the top 25 much longer.

DAVE BRADLEY can be reached at advertising@hamilton.net

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