Big 10 Shouldn’t Alter Husker Recruiting
The knee-jerk reaction to Nebraska’s move to the Big 10 was that it is sure to hurt football recruiting efforts in Texas.
Say what you want about Texas, but if you look at Big 10 football rosters the league fairs pretty well in all the major recruiting hotbeds — Florida, California and Texas.
There are 187 players on Big 10 rosters from those three football factories, including Nebraska’s current roster.
If NU was in the conference effective today, NU would have more players from those three states than any other Big 10 school.
Nebraska has 42 players on its current roster from Texas, Florida and California, and surprisingly, Purdue has 40 from those states.
Surprisingly, Penn State enters the 2010 season with no players from any of the hotbed states.
Clearly there is an upper Midwest feel to Big 10 rosters, but even traditional powerhouse Ohio State has 13 players from Florida, Texas and California. Even Minnesota has 18 players from those three states.
Let’s face it, if the Gophers can draw any talent from those states it’s because they’re trying. Apparently geography matters little.
It is clear the Big 10 has a significant national appeal.
On the other hand, Penn State is proving that northern teams can win without recruiting the warm states. The Nittany Lions have a significant population base to draw on in the East, and probably are the exception to the rule.
Penn State pulls in most of its players from Pennsylvania, Ohio and the rest of the East Coast population base.
Nebraska doesn’t have that luxury.
So what does this say about the future of Nebraska football recruiting?
Sure, NU will be able to make some headway into Ohio, Michigan and other states that Nebraska has largely gone around.
In the early going current Texas commits have said they are firm on Nebraska, mostly because they like the idea of playing against the likes of Michigan and Ohio State on a fairly regular basis.
Nebraska will continue to pull in players from the warm states, mostly because it has to.
NU has succeeded by recruiting nationally. The move to the Big 10 should enhance that appeal.
Nebraska will find its way into Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania and other areas that have seen limited success.
In Iowa, NU has had good success drawing talent to Lincoln.
When you look at Nebraska’s influence in neighboring Missouri over the years (Grant Wistrom, Tracey Wistrom, Mike Rucker, Will Compton, and the list goes on), I think what we’ll likely see is more Iowa prep players looking at Nebraska — especially with the likelihood of NU and Iowa playing every year.
If anything, Nebraska recruiting could improve in California, as NU could and should be the California pipeline to the Big 10. That’s because a move to Lincoln for California prep players has little to do with the conference affiliation. Playing in the Big 10, California kids stand a good chance to be seen on television back home.
For those pundits who question whether Nebraska can maintain its Texas connection, they need look no further than Purdue’s success in the state.
And arguably, Nebraska’s connection to the Big 12 is a good reason to believe Texas kids will continue to come to Lincoln.