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February 6, 2013

Husker Buzz: 10 takeaways from signing day

The 2013 recruiting cycle has come and gone for Nebraska. As focus begins to shift towards spring football here are 10 takeaways I took away from signing day.

The Huskers recruiting class finished No. 17 overall and No. 3 in the Big Ten behind Ohio State and Michigan.

1 - The depth of the class

Top to bottom this if Bo Pelini's deepest recruiting class. I know the class of 2011 was ranked higher, but to me this is far and away Pelini's best class because of the overall depth.

2 - Addressing the line play

It was clear during Nebraska's final few games of the season they had some major issues that needed addressed on the offensive and defensive lines. I felt like by adding six defensive and five offensive linemen they really addressed those needs. I love the mix of junior college players they added as well. Randy Gregory, Chongo Kondolo and Matt Finnin all should provide immediate depth and impact.

3 - Best running back combo in a long time

Nebraska has signed a lot of good running backs over the years, but it's hard to think of a more decorated pair than Adam Taylor and Terrell Newby. Offensive coordinator Tim Beck was gushing from ear-to-ear when talking about their potential. I predict both will see time as true freshmen.

4 - 13 states, two countries

Unofficially it's hard to ever remember Nebraska signing recruits from 13 different states and two countries. If you want to get technical Gregory played his JUCO ball in Arizona so Nebraska actually hit 14 different state plus Canada. I think that should show just how much work Pelini and his staff put in down the stretch to close this class out.

5 - Dixon's late drama

When asked about Tre'vell Dixon's late signing day drama Pelini actually had no problem with how things played out. Pelini understood the situation and said there were so many different people trying to pull Dixon in different directions that at the end of the day he had to make the best decision for him and not what everybody else wanted.

6 - "Get your butt ready to play"

Pelini said his message to all of the incoming recruits is "get your butt ready to play." It was a different signing day message from Pelini than in past years. Typically Pelini downplays the early impact of recruits, but he's grown as a head coach and understands the importance going forward of having trust in younger players.

7 - Saying goodbye to Heard and Rome

During the middle of Pelini's signing day press he slipped in the news that running back Braylon Heard and defensive tackle Chase Rome are leaving the program. We obviously knew Heard was leaving, but Rome was somewhat of a surprise. It sounds like it was mutual between both Pelini and Rome to go their own separate directions.

8 - Diamonds in the rough

My diamonds in the rough are safety Nathan Gerry, defensive tackle Kevin Maurice and tight end Cethan Carter. I think all three of these players will make an impact and surprise people early in their careers.

9 - Another Martinez

Pelini said he handled the recruitment of safety Drake Martinez a little bit differently, mainly because he didn't want to pressure Drake to join his older brother Taylor in Lincoln. Martinez is another player you could call a "diamond in the rough." I think the low key approach the Martinez family took in the recruiting process really kept his name under the radar. In my opinion he's a much better player than a 5.5 three-star.

10 - New recruiting rules

One of the more interesting things going forward to watch will be the new recruiting rules put in by the NCAA that will allow unlimited support staff members to contact, offer and evaluate recruits. This is going to change the game unlike anything we've seen before in recruiting. It will be important for Nebraska to keep up in this area and I have full confidence Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst won't hold back because you can't cut any financial corners if you want to compete. Football pays the bills. Look for Nebraska to hire former players, high school coaches and even just recruiting savvy people in these future roles.


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