Mike Riley learns lesson after getting burned by silent commits

NU coach Mike Riley learned a valuable lesson after losing a recruit that had been committed silently to the Huskers.

Silent commitments are a tricky part of recruiting.

Some prospects make them simply because they want to hold a bigger, more public announcement later. Others make them knowing they want to keep their options open without being tied down.

Nebraska coach Mike Riley experienced both the positive and the negative with the 2016 recruiting class.

There was the good, like Lamar Jackson, who made a silent commitment so he could essentially release a short film announcing his decision to be a Husker. 

Then there was the bad. Dez Fitzpatrick had committed silently, only to catch NU off-guard and flip to Louisville two days before signing day.

So what lesson did Riley learn through all this?

"You better keep recruiting at that position," he said Wednesday at his signing day press conference.

No commitment is binding when it comes to recruiting, whether it's silent or public. Not until that National Letter of Intent arrives does anything become official.

So it's good practice for a coach to have a backup plan in case the whims of a teenager take him elsewhere at the last minute.

Riley brought up a wide receiver from Dallas — probably Zach Farrar, but he didn't mention him by name. NU showed late interest in Farrar but eventually backed off because they felt sure about Fitzpatrick.

Farrar ended up signing with Oklahoma, and the Huskers didn't get Fitzpatrick either.

"We had one in the Dallas area that I think we could have gotten," Riley said. "He ends up at a real good school, but we kind of trusted this situation to be what it looked like, so we didn’t do that."

Riley knows now you better keep your options open.

"If you don’t have what you feel is a real solid public commitment that you feel is going to last," Riley said, "you better maintain some versatility in the numbers that you’re still recruiting.”

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