Big Red Recruiting Report — 1/28/14
Nebraska has parted ways with defensive tackle commitment Terrell Clinkscales (6-4/315) of Dodge City (KS) CC. Exactly what caused Clinkscales to flip his pledge to Kansas State is debatable, but it was unlikely that he would have been eligible at Nebraska next fall anyway given that he has 31 credits to complete to earn his Associates Degree from Dodge City.
With Clinkscales out of the equation, NU has begun pursuing other targets. Specifically they seem to be targeting high school prospects. After the breakouts of players like Vincent Valentine, Aaron Curry and Maliek Collins this past season, a juco player is no longer a necessity.
Jamiyus Pittman (6-2/280) of Moultrie, Ga. is currently committed to Central Florida (UCF), the team that defeated Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl earlier this year. A three-star prospect and the No. 53-ranked overall player in Georgia, according to Rivals.com, Pittman is considering visiting Lincoln before Signing Day. Colquitt County HS where Pittman plays is among the top schools in the talent-rich state, and on film Pittman shows the ability to shed blockers and both play the run and rush the passer. Stealing him from UCF would be a big win for NU.
DE commit Darius Slade (6-5/237) flipped his pledge to Michigan State earlier in January, and then starting end Avery Moss left the team for personal reasons. What had been a position of strength is now a significant need for Nebraska in this class, and they’re pursuing numerous high school prospects with fervor as Signing Day approaches.
Some of the top targets are Antonio Simmons (6-4/210) of Jacksonville, Fla., Lloyd Tubman (6-3/228) of Louisville, Ky. and Kevin Bronson (6-3/247) of Delray Beach, Fla.
Simmons is committed to Georgia Tech and is a long shot to flip, but he’s at least listening to what Nebraska has to say. He recorded an astounding 29 sacks during his senior season, and is the type of long, lean pass rusher the Blackshirts are looking for. NU is trying to get him to visit Jan. 31. Although he’s still leaning heavily to the Yellow Jackets, he’s a least considering the trip.
Tubman was committed to Vanderbilt, and then flipped to Penn State, following head coach James Franklin to the Nittany Lions.However, he visited Kentucky last weekend and is scheduled to be in Lincoln Jan. 31.He can be considered a “soft commit” to Penn State at best. In fact, he recently hosted Nebraska coaches John Papuchis and Rick Kaczenski for an in-home visit.
Bronson is someone NU has been chasing since the summer.He has visited South Florida and Virginia Tech, although the Hokies have yet to offer. His trip to Lincoln is also scheduled for Jan. 31, and if he leaves Virginia Tech uncommitted, the Huskers will stand a good chance to land him.
While they were losing Clinkscales and Slade, NU picked up a new commitment in CB Chris Jones (6-0/175) of Jacksonville, Fla. Jones is a legitimate 6-footer, with long arms. He played for Sandalwood HS in Jacksonville, which is perennially one of the top programs in that area.
He was previously committed to Purdue and also considered offers from Indiana and Florida International. With NU losing four seniors in the defensive backfield, Jones will have an opportunity to play right away next fall.
In addition, they added three players on the offensive side of the ball in tackle Nick Gates (6-4/272) of Las Vegas, Nev., RB Mikale Wilbon (5-8/191) of Chicago, Ill. and WR Glenn Irons (5-10/170) of New Orleans, La.
Rivals 4-star Gates has long been considered NU’s top target on the offensive line, and chose the Huskers over a host of offers, including UCLA, Oregon and Texas A&M. Line coaches Barney Cotton and John Garrison spent nearly 18 months courting Gates, whose commitment now opens up a pipeline to nationally rated Bishop Gorman HS in Las Vegas.
Wilbon, also a 4-star and the No. 168-ranked player nationally at all positions according to Rivals, also considered Penn State, Missouri and Vanderbilt. His pledge likely ends NU’s recruiting at the running back position.
Irons is a teammate of fellow NU commits LB Jaevon Walton (6-0/236) and Jariah Tolbert (6-3/185). Irons brings dynamic kick return capabilities to the class, along with his receiving talents. The three commitments from Edna Karr HS has opened a door to one of the most talent-rich schools in talent-rich New Orleans.
Taking another QB?
There are questions about the status of 2014 QB recruit Zack Darlington (6-1/210) of Apopka, Fla. Darlington suffered two concussions this past season, the second during his team’s season-opening loss to Byrne, SC, and missed the remainder of his senior year.NU flirted with some other QBs during the early part of the recruiting cycle, but had seemed to settle on Darlington, who is already enrolled in classes in Lincoln.
Over the last couple of weeks, though, NU has renewed their pursuit of selected signal-callers. Jaquez Parks (6-1/195) of Griffin, Ga. and Tez Parks (6-1/185) of Hogansville, Ga. (no relation) seem to be at the top of their list.
Jaquez Parks led his team to an undefeated state title in Georgia’s class 4A this year. Despite throwing for over 3,600 yards and 28 touchdowns while also running for over 1,300 yards and 17 scores and being named the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s all-class state player of the year, Parks doesn’t have a lot of high-profiles scholarship offers to his name. An excellent student, Parks lists offers from Air Force, Army, Harvard and Yale. As of Jan. 27 Parks had not been offered by NU.
Tez Parks has offers from Florida State, Tennessee and Georgia Tech as an athlete, but NU sees him as a QB. He’s a more explosive runner than Jaquez and played in more of a run-first offense. I’m not sure from watching his film if he’s a QB at the BCS level, but he is definitely athletic enough to play receiver or cornerback at Nebraska.
Additional visitors from the Jan. 24 weekend include OT Kenyon Frison (6-5/290) of West Valley City, Utah, RB Corey Avery (5-10/170) of Dallas.
Frison is down to NU, Arizona State and Oklahoma. The trip to Lincoln went extremely well, and he has developed relationships with NU pledges Gates and guard DJ Foster (6-3/312) of Lincoln from their time playing together in the Semper Fi all-star game. He was very non-committal in interviews after the visit, and this could come down to a Signing Day announcement.
Avery has a trip to Kansas next weekend, but there are questions whether NU’s offer still stands after the pledge of Wilbon. He says NU is his leader, but he won’t make his decision known until Signing Day as well.