DB Coach Added
Nebraska has replaced departed defensive backs coach Terry Joseph with Charlton Warren, most recently the defensive coordinator at Air Force for the past two seasons. Before that, Warren coached DBs and was a three-year letterman at defensive back himself for the Falcons. He coached numerous all-conference players, and his pass defense was ranked third nationally in 2012 and second in 2010 in passing yards allowed.
As of Thursday evening, Warren was awaiting completion of background checks before official confirmation from the University of his hire. His first orders of business will be to visit committed defensive backs Trai Mosley (5-10/171) of Pflugerville, Texas and Joshua Kalu (6-1/169) of Houston, Texas. Warren will also make it a priority to see Grossmont (Calif.) CC defensive back Kweishi Brown (5-11/180).
After Joseph’s departure Mosley was considered a likely decommit, but Nebraska linebacker coach and recruiting coordinator Ross Els visited Mosley when the dead period ended. Shortly thereafter, Mosley reaffirmed his commitment to NU, and from what he told BigRedReport.com it appears that Joseph played a part in his decision.
“When I first heard that Coach Joseph was leaving, I honestly didn’t really know what to think,” Mosley told the recruiting site. “But a couple of days later, I spoke with him and he was telling me that Nebraska is the best fit for me. He didn’t want me going anywhere else. The coaching staff loved me.
“He didn’t want to recruit me to Texas A&M because he had too much respect for Coach Pelini and the staff. I respect that. He said he had to do what he had to do for his family, and I understand that.”
Brown will visit Arizona State officially this weekend, and then host Warren and head coach Bo Pelini before making his decision. The Sun Devils have been considered his leader, but his willingness to meet Warren is a good sign for the Huskers.
Losing a pledge
The news wasn’t all good for NU, as defensive end Darius Slade (6-5/237) of Montclair, NJ decommitted. Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer hand-delivered an offer to Slade Thursday, and with new defensive line coach Larry Johnson one of Slade’s lead recruiters at Penn State the Buckeyes are in good shape with him. Michigan State will be in the mix until the ink is dry, but NU is out of it and pursuing other prospects.
Spencer Williams (6-4/230) of Jacksonville, Fla. and Kevin Bronson (6-3/247) of Delray Beach, Fla. are the most likely replacements.
Williams is committed to Cincinnati but also weighing an offer from Auburn. He’s being guarded with his public comments, but is expected to visit Lincoln Jan. 24.
Bronson is a guy that NU has been recruiting for months. Like many Florida prospects, Bronson put his recruitment on hold during the season to focus on his team. Now he’s scheduled to visit South Florida, Virginia Tech and NU (Jan. 31) before Signing Day.
Receiver DeSean Blair (6-4/180) and cornerback Chris Jones (60-175) of Jacksonville, Fla. are high school teammates who are currently committed to Louisville and Purdue respectively. That won’t stop them from taking official visits to Lincoln this weekend, though. NU receivers coach Rich Fisher visited the pair at Sandalwood High School Thursday and both are legitimate possibilities to switch their commitments to the Huskers.
Blair is a big bodied wideout who turned down offers from Vanderbilt and West Virginia and interest from Wisconsin to pledge to Louisville. That was before head coach Charlie Strong left for Texas, though. Blair has promised new Cardinals coach Bobby Petrino that he’ll visit Louisville before Signing Day, but NU seems to be in good position here.
Jones is a long, lean defensive back who spurned offers from Indiana and South Florida along with interest from Florida State and Wisconsin to choose Purdue. With NU’s need for cornerbacks, he is a “high value” target. He was blown away by his visit to Purdue, so I’d expect Nebraska’s facilities and support system to impress him. The opportunity for early playing time should be a draw also, along with the chance to play with his teammate and friend Blair.
Joining them is running back Mikale Wilbon (5-8/191) of Chicago, Ill., a bowling-ball of a back and the No. 166-ranked overall player nationally according to Rivals. Wilbon committed to Vanderbilt last spring, but with head coach James Franklin taking the Penn State job he’s reopened his recruitment. His visit to Lincoln will be followed by an official visit to Vanderbilt, and he’s also considering Penn State with Franklin there now. Wilbon is impressed with the success Ameer Abdullah has had at NU, and feels that he is a similar type of back.
While the NU coaches have hit the road en masse after the end of the dead period working to fill out their 2014 class, they’ve also jumped heavily into their 2015 class. They’re approaching 70 offers for 2015, including a number of prospects within the 500-mile radius of Lincoln.
In-state, the first offer went out to Omaha North offensive lineman Michael Decker (6-4/278), who projects as a guard in college. Already a two-time all-Nebraska selection by the Omaha World Herald, Decker is among the best line prospects in the Midwest region for 2015.
Offers are also out in Missouri to running back Marquise Doherty (6-1/190) of Kansas City, tight end Hale Hentges (6-4/230) of Jefferson City, and twin defensive linemen Carlos (6-3/260) and Khalil Davis (6-3/255) of Blue Springs.
Also holding Husker offers within the region are offensive linemen Jon Dietzen (6-5/305) of Seymour, Wis. and Christian Gaylord (6-6/270) of Baldwin City, Kan.; defensive ends Jashon Cornell (6-3/238) of Saint Paul, Minn. and Terry Beckner, Jr. (6-4/270) of East St. Louis, Ill.; defensive back Eric Lee (5-10/176) of Highlands Ranch, Co.; and athlete Austin Conway (5-11/165) of Aurora, Co.
Sean Stevens, a Falls City native, is a former staff writer for HuskerIllustrated.com and Rivals.com