Through Friday, Mad Chatter will post a series of blogs reflecting on Husker recruiting history.
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The worst recruiting class in Nebraska football history signed in the first year of a new millennium: 2000.
If the Huskers are lucky, they won’t sign another like it for another 1,000 years.*
*2003 was also horrible, but those guys were recruited to a totally different system. I’ll cut ‘em some slack.
You can’t evaluate recruiting classes by results only. A recruiting class becomes great largely because of the instruction it receives. Clearly Nebraska’s player development machine had dipped in the early ‘00s. And clearly it didn’t help the class of 2000 when Bill Callahan overhauled the system before their redshirt senior seasons.
But here’s the bottom line: Not one player from the class of 2000 earned first-team all-conference honors. That’s unprecedented in Husker history. Only T.J. Hollowell played in the NFL.
You ready for the list?
DeWayne Long Jr.
There are good players here. There are others whose careers were wrecked by injury. But as a whole, man, that’s a cringe-worthy class.
So what did people think of the Class of 2000? Did they cringe, as we do now? Not exactly. These quotes appeared in a World-Herald story in February 2000:
Bobby Burton, Rivals.com recruiting analyst: "I think this year Frank really answered the bell, both on the field and in recruiting. He put together an elite class this year. I think what the last two years have really shown is that Frank brings a real passion for recruiting. He's very aggressive, and that shows in the timing and the decisions they're making. They knew who they were after, and they went after them hard."
Dave Gillespie, NU recruiting coordinator: "I think when you lose someone like Tom, there's always a question about impact. No one knows for sure what kind of impact not having Tom would have on our recruiting until his successor had a chance to get out there and get his feet wet and get it done.
"I don't know if anyone here ever made that big a deal about it, but it was in the back of a lot of people's minds. The was a little bit of apprehension on whether the loss of Tom would have a significant impact. Fortunately, even though Tom did a great job, Frank has been able to do an equally great job."
Craig Bohl, NU defensive coordinator: "Frank really has a passion for recruiting. He has an understanding and knowledge of what it takes to be a successful recruiter. He knows a lot about a player before he even steps in the door.
"He knows all of this doesn't happen by chance. Preparation can make the difference between getting the player and not getting him. Frank recognizes that, and he does his homework."
Burton again: "I think Frank learned some things from his first year, and there's also something to be said about doing this for the second time as a head coach," Burton said. "There were times last year where there seemed to be some indecision in regard to Nebraska's recruiting efforts.
"This year, things seemed to be more well orchestrated. You could see things falling into place for them. You'd think they needed one more lineman, and they'd go out and get him. Then it would seem like they needed one last linebacker, and they'd go out and get him, too. When Plan A fell through, they had Plan B ready to go. They really got after it this year."