Scott Frost and the Cornhuskers Could Further Complicate the Big Ten's Recruiting Landscape

By Andrew Ellis on October 30, 2018 at 1:15 pm
Scott Frost seems to have the Husks on the rise after a rocky start.
Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan have been the dominant recruiting forces in the Big Ten. The Spartans have had a few decent classes over the years, but for the most part the big three have ruled the conference in recent years. 

Scott Frost's arrival in Lincoln has brought new hope to the Cornhusker faithful. And while the Husks haven't exactly set the world on fire in his inaugural season, there's plenty of reason for optimism with one of the country's hottest young coaches at the helm. 

Nebraska is a bit of a strange place. States like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and even Michigan all provide fertile recruiting grounds for the local programs to sift through. That's not the case in the Great Plains, and once Frost has the program on the mend – which is bound to happen eventually – the Huskers may present some problems for the Big Ten powers. 

Top-250 Prospects by State
  2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 TOTAL
Ohio 9 11 11 7 1 39
Pennsylvania 5 6 7 9 0 27
Michigan 3 8 5 3 6 25
Nebraska 0 0 0 1 1 2

It's not really a surprise, but the 247 Sports composite rankings give a pretty good idea of what the Husks typically work with when it comes to the in-state talent pool. Dating back to the 2015 class, Nebraska has produced just two prospects ranked inside the top 250 of the composite.

Comparatively, the most talent-rich states in the Big Ten are producing far more and the Buckeyes, Nittany Lions, and Wolverines (and Spartans to a degree) have had plenty of success keeping the state's top players at home. Nebraska faces the same problem that fellow West Division foes such as Wisconsin and Iowa deal with on an annual basis.

While there's nothing the school can do about the state's high school talent, there's plenty Frost can do to boost the Huskers' recruiting efforts. The program actually feels like it's heading in the right direction after the disastrous Mike Riley tenure, and Frost more than made a name for himself while at Central Florida. The fast-paced offense and overall excitement may eventually make some waves on the trail.  

One of Ohio State's top remaining targets is set to announce his decision on Thursday, and Nebraska appears to be in line to deliver a bit of a blow to Urban Meyer and Brian Hartline's efforts on the trail.

We've had four-star all-purpose back Rondale Moore Wandale Robinson toward the top of the recruiting board since our latest update, and the Kentucky playmaker would bring a unique skill set to Ohio State's 2019 class. We've long been comparing him to the dynamic true freshman in West Lafayette, and the Buckeyes view Robinson as a slot/H-back type of player. 

He was in Columbus earlier this month for an official and things were looking great following the trip. Over the last few weeks, however, this one has taken a major Cornhusker turn. The Buckeyes still have the interim tag on Brian Hartline and while Zach Smith was previously involved in the recruitment, the relationships simply may be stronger with Frost and the Nebraska staff. 

There are plenty of 5-foot-9 slot wideouts in the country, but make no mistake about it, Robinson is a kid the Ohio State staff has really been pushing for. He'd be a tremendous fit in Urban Meyer's system and has been putting up absurd numbers as a high school senior. We'll find out for sure on Thursday afternoon, but this would be a major victory for the Cornhuskers.

Former Ohio State commit Tyjon Lindsey sided with Mike Riley back in the 2017 cycle, but the Bishop Gorman wideout already left the program and has been reunited with Riley in Corvallis. The Buckeyes showed plenty of interest in Cornhusker true freshman Adrian Martinez, but they elected not to offer the former four-star quarterback who's performed admirably in his first season. 

Ohio State sees plenty of Midwest battles with Michigan, Penn State, and Notre Dame. Urban Meyer's national approach also leads to numerous recruiting showdowns with Alabama, USC, Texas, and other powerhouse programs. These are never going to go away and have become a major part of each and every recruiting class.

Nebraska clearly isn't in that tier right now and it will take some time for the Husks to get back to their winning ways, but with a hotshot young coach and potential for a high-scoring offense, there could be plenty more run-ins on the recruiting trail; especially for players like Wandale Robinson.

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