Every junior day — like the one Nebraska will host Saturday — is different.
Some attract talent from all over the country. Others focus more on local prospects. Some produce multiple commitments while others may not see a kid pledge on that day. New offers are almost always handed out, but not every one of those recruits will eventually commit.
So to show what all can come out of a junior day, we took a look at the Huskers’ last five to see what impact each one had on the full class. That’ll include Mike Riley’s first two junior days with the Huskers and Bo Pelini’s final three, starting with the event held in 2012 for recruits in the class of 2013.
What’s almost guaranteed is that someone in attendance will end up in the Huskers’ class, it’s just not certain who or when. Based on the research over that span, an average of four visitors per junior day eventually signed with NU.
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Class of 2017
Mike Riley’s second junior day at Nebraska — on March 12, 2016 — had fireworks before fans had finished their first cup of coffee. Jaevon McQuitty announced his commitment that day shortly after 9 a.m. McQuitty was the Huskers’ second commit in the class at that time.
The headlining visitor for that junior day was Keyshawn Johnson Jr. He had already been to Lincoln several times before that visit, but he wasn’t yet committed at the time. Johnson Jr. eventually made his commitment to the Huskers official before the end of the month. Johnson Jr. was accompanied on that visit by Darnay Holmes, the five-star corner that eventually landed at UCLA.
At least two other members of NU’s 2017 signing class were in attendance for that junior day, both from the state of Nebraska. Austin Allen had received his scholarship offer about a month prior and that was his first visit to the Husker campus since getting it. He’d commit the following month. Bellevue West running back Jaylin Bradley was also there. He wouldn’t get his NU offer for another 10 months but committed on the spot once he did.
And while that event was technically a “junior day,” there were a handful of notable sophomores — who are now juniors — in attendance. Cameron Jurgens was there and already committed to the Huskers. Other top targets like Kamryn Babb, Will Farniok and Houston Griffith were in attendance as well.
Class of 2016
Riley held his first Nebraska junior day on March 14, 2015, attracting a little more than a dozen recruits to campus, most of whom were either in-state prospects or from within the 500-mile radius.
The day didn’t produce any new commitments, but several of the visitors would eventually join the class.
Both JD Spielman and JoJo Domann received offers during that junior day. Domann committed about three months later in June, and Spielman made his pledge in August after taking one more visit to reconfirm everything he felt the first time.
Another eventual signee in attendance that day was Ben Stille. The Ashland-Greenwood prospect didn’t have an offer at that point, and he didn’t receive one that day. His offer came in May and he committed the next month.
Class of 2015
Bo Pelini’s final junior day with Nebraska would have the most immediate success of any in recent years. The Huskers received commitments from four players within 48 hours of that junior day on Feb. 1, 2014.
Colorado corner Eric Lee committed to the Huskers that afternoon while still on campus. His friend Avery Anderson would make the decision to flip from Arizona State to Nebraska the next day. Offensive lineman Christian Gaylord followed both two days later in making his commitment.
The fourth commitment that weekend came from running back Kendall Bussey, but he didn’t end up in Lincoln, eventually flipping his commitment to Tennessee before ultimately signing with Texas A&M.
Also at that junior day were at least three key prospects that would eventually land in the class.
In-state lineman Michael Decker was the first player from within the borders to receive an offer in that class. He attended the junior day and committed a few months later.
The big headliners were the Davis twins, Khalil and Carlos. The Huskers rode the momentum from their junior day visit and received their commitment a month later on March 1, 2014.
Class of 2014
Nebraska held its junior day for the 2014 class on Jan. 26, 2013. No commitments were made that day but at least five players that would eventually sign were in attendance.
Three of those already had offers by that time and were among some of the Huskers' top targets in that class — Jerald Foster, Monte Harrison and Peyton Newell. All three would commit that following summer, one each in June, July and August, respectively.
Two other members of that class were in attendance for that junior day but didn’t have offers from the Huskers — Drew Brown and Luke Gifford. Neither received his offer that day, but they didn’t have to wait too long. Gifford committed two months later in March, and Brown joined the class in June.
Class of 2013
We’ll last look at the junior day for the 2013 class, which was held on Feb. 18, 2012. No commitments were made that day, but a couple of attendees would eventually land in the class.
Perhaps the biggest news from that day was the offer that went to in-state linebacker Josh Banderas. It had been expected at the time, and Banderas would only wait until April to accept the offer and commit.
Wisconsin defensive lineman AJ Natter already had an offer from the Huskers when he attended that junior day. He too committed by the end of spring.
A familiar name to most college football fans was also there that day. Ezekiel Elliott was a four-star running back from St. Louis, and he was one of the biggest names at that junior day in 2012. He’d obviously end up at Ohio State though and is now poised to be a first-round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Photos: Nebraska's highest-ranked commit from each recruiting class since 2002
Check out the Huskers' highest-ranked commit, according to Rivals.com, from each recruiting class since 2002.