Recruiting: Late additions have played big role in Pelini era

2013-01-22T20:00:00Z 2013-01-29T20:59:08Z Recruiting: Late additions have played big role in Pelini eraBy BRIAN CHRISTOPHERSON / Lincoln Journal Star JournalStar.com

The fax machine in the Husker football offices will be spitting out important papers just two weeks from now.

But the road to get from here to there comes with its twists and turns and sometimes names out of nowhere, with coaches across the country scrapping for last-hour additions from a dwindling pool of recruits.

Eventually, there’s a list and a press conference.

First, however, come those final commitments who, rightly or wrongly, seem to have more attention paid them for no other reason than timing.

As you will find, Nebraska’s recruiting classes have been altered dramatically during Bo Pelini’s tenure by those players who have come aboard in the final two weeks before a signing day.

Every Pelini class, save for 2009, has added at least three recruits in the final 14 days.

Some big hits and misses.

They're worth remembering now.

2012: Signing day commits included athlete Alonzo Moore and defensive tackles Aaron Curry and Vincent Valentine, who now are two of the more buzzed-about prospects of the offseason as the Huskers look to rebuild their front four.

But there were other additions in the days just before, with athlete LeRoy Alexander and offensive lineman Corey Whitaker committing in those final two weeks.

One other late commitment? Running back Imani Cross, who pledged to Nebraska just five days before signing day. Of the 17 members of that class, six joined in the final 11 days.

2011: Defensive tackle Todd Peat Jr. was considered the big late recruiting victory at the time, with the four-star recruit picking Nebraska over a list of name programs.

Going to show that you never know what’s going to happen, Peat is no longer on the Husker team.

But there were four other additions in those final two weeks, including kicker Mauro Bondi, defensive end Joe Carter, tight end David Sutton and … an under-the-radar running back from Alabama named Ameer Abdullah.

As stated, you never know.

2010: It was one of the more dramatic signing days, with defensive back Corey Cooper picking Nebraska, and then Brion Carnes, a quarterback at the time, changing course and going with the Huskers, too.

There also was one tough defeat for Husker coaches, with five-star defensive lineman Owamagbe Odighizuwa picking UCLA when many felt Nebraska might be the place.

The only other addition to the class in the final two weeks was when Millard South quarterback/defensive back Bronson Marsh chose to take a grayshirt offer and come to Nebraska eight days before signing day.

But it's worth noting one other key recruit who did pick the Huskers early in January, less than a month before the big day — wide receiver Kenny Bell.

2009: This was the quiet finish.

Only one recruit committed in the final two weeks. But he quickly became a fan favorite. Eric Martin pledged to Nebraska three days before signing day.

But go back several weeks before, and you’ll find a rather significant addition fairly late in that class. Rex Burkhead joined it less than two months before signing day.

2008: This was the busy finish.

And that would be expected given that Pelini and his new staff took over in December of 2007, with just a couple of months to convince previous commits to stay and new recruits to join.

Mason Wald was the only addition on signing day. But Justin Rogers and Tim Marlowe joined the class only a day before.

And Antonio Bell, Courtney and Steven Osborne, Lester Ward and P.J. Smith all committed in the final two weeks.

But perhaps the biggest find came when small-town Georgia cornerback Alfonzo Dennard committed to Nebraska just six days before signing day.

He picked Nebraska without having visited Lincoln.

You just never know.

Reach Brian Christopherson at bchristopherson@journalstar.com or 402-473-7439. You can follow him on Twitter @HuskerExtraBC.

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