World-Herald staff writer Sam McKewon chatted for an hour on signing day to discuss the 2016 class and what to expect for the rest of the day. Here’s the best of the chat, edited for length and clarity.
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What lessons should the staff learn from this first full recruiting cycle here at NU?
Sam McKewon: You'll hear them say that it's important to get more kids to camp, to develop relationships even more, to keep studying and evaluating for prospects in the region and firming up visits.
Who are your favorite recruits in this class anywhere yet?
Which guys do you think can be special teams gems?
Sam McKewon: Top 20 or so. Of the three, Simmons has the most upside, in my opinon.
Solid class, but I think that it was hampered by the win-loss record. Opposing coaches recruiting against NU have used this angle. What effect will this have going forward and what does NU need to do record-wise to have a great recruiting year with the Calabasas crew and other big fish?
Sam McKewon: Nebraska needs to land those Calabasas players — which I think they will — and lock down the very best in the 500 mile radius that fits NU's needs.
So how should we "feel" about a 20's class rank? Is this overperforming given our 6-7 record? Or is this as high as we can ever expect? In the future do we "win" the close recruiting battles that we lost this year? Or is that wishful thinking?
Sam McKewon: It's a pretty good class, but Bill Callahan finished 5-6 and inked a top 10 class. Nebraska could have done a little better, and I think this staff knows that. Of course, we're 11 years down the road from Callahan's class. Back then, Nebraska was much closer to its glory days. Not so now.
Dealing with Lamar Jackson — boundary corners need to be the more physical guys and better tacklers at the position, but is there anything else a boundary corner needs to be good at?
Sam McKewon: Coverage in the red zone. Denying those fades, quick slants, etc., as hard as that can be. It's harder in the NFL than college. It's hard for college quarterbacks to throw back shoulder fades from the opposite hash.
Which guys do you see making an immediate impact next year?
Sam McKewon: A little early to know that for sure for sure, but you always look at the early enrollees (O'Brien, Grim) and some of the skill guys: Jackson, Bryant, Spielman, Dismuke. I think Quayshon Alexander could be really interesting.
In your opinion, does Lamar Jackson play his true freshman year? And if so, whose job does he take?
Sam McKewon: I suspect he will, yeah, but he may not take anyone's job. He might just be a special teams guy to start. But he can help on special teams, that's for sure.
Do you think it was just too late to get in with the Cali RB?
Sam McKewon: Yeah, I do. He'd have been a nice H-Back/TE piece. Beau Bisharat is the name, and he committed to Colorado late last night.