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Recruiting: Huskers produce night of fireworks

Recruiting: Huskers produce night of fireworks

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Boom is the word.

The code word Husker coaches use was a popular one Saturday night, as Nebraska picked up three recruits in a dizzying day of recruiting that might be followed by more noise Sunday.

There were booms for not just the 2014 class -- with defensive end Blake McClain committing to Nebraska on his visit -- but also the beginnings of the 2015 class, with cornerback Eric Lee and running back Kendall Bussey becoming the first names in next year's edition.

McClain teased his commitment throughout the day, tweeting out a single word in the morning: "Tic...". By late afternoon, there was another tweet: "Tic ... Tic ..." By evening, there was a "Boom Baby!"

"Biggest #Boom of the day," tweeted defensive coordinator John Papuchis soon after.

"Man, he's a big very athletic kid," said McClain's high school coach, Adam Geis. "You don't see too many kids like that who can run like that at this size. That's what you get when you come to Florida, man. The fact that Nebraska got a kid like that, that's a big, big recruit kid for that recruiting class."

The 6-foot-3, 265-pound prospect from Sandalwood High School in Jacksonville, Fla., was a Florida State commit until last week, but decommitted after the Seminoles approached him with a grayshirt offer.

"Florida State tried to pull a fast one and Nebraska happened to be there at the right time," Geis said. "They recruited him hard out of the gate and he went up there and liked it."

Geis said Husker assistants Rich Fisher and Charlton Warren walked into his office about 10 minutes after Florida State had tried to convince him it'd be a good move for McClain to grayshirt.

"I was like, 'Bulls---, that ain't happening,'" Geis said. "I'd let his parents make the decision, but as far as I'm concerned, I'd never think about that. And Blake said, 'Nope, I ain't doing that. Later.' Nebraska walked in 10 minutes later pretty much."

McClain now joins his high school teammate, defensive back Chris Jones, as Husker commitments in this class.

South Carolina was also hotly pursuing McClain, but Geis said the commitment by his player on Saturday ends that recruiting story.

"Oh, it's a done deal," the coach said.

While McClain giving Nebraska its 24th known commit of the current class may be the headline of the night, it was Nebraska's start to the 2015 class that was being followed just as closely on Saturday.

On a day when upwards of 15 juniors were on campus, the Huskers picked up their first two recruits for the class a year from now.

Lee, a consensus four-star defensive back from Valor Christian High School in Highlands Ranch, Colo., has the distinction of being the first commitment in that class.

"It just felt like it was the right thing to do," Lee said. "I just got the right feeling about the university."

That was soon followed up by a commitment from Bussey -- a 5-foot-9, 195-pound running back from Isidore Newman High in New Orleans.

Bussey had been committed to Tulane previously, although it was known coming into this weekend that the Huskers had a good shot to turn the prospect their way.

"They told me I'd most likely be the only running back for the 2015 class," Bussey said. "They told me I'd come in and probably play early. They were committed to me."

Bussey said the New Orleans pipeline that Nebraska is building also loomed large in his decision.

"That played a major role in my commitment," he said. "Glenn Irons, Jariah Tolbert, Jaevon Walton and Cethan Carter came from there. Definitely, that was huge."

Bussey played recreational football with Carter and Irons from ages nine to 12.

It's a year until signing day but Bussey, who figures to be a hot target, says his heart is all in with the Huskers after Saturday.

"As of right now, I'm 100 percent Nebraska."

Lee, meanwhile, announced his pledge to the Huskers on Twitter, along with a picture of him and Bo Pelini.

Lee has grown up rooting for the Huskers. He even lived here when he was little. His dad used to work at the university. He's also friends with D.J. and Trey Foster.

He also said he connected quickly with new Husker defensive backs coach Charlton Warren, who stressed the need for cornerbacks that could make an early impact.

"I just like how enthusiastic he was about everything," Lee said. "I know he can't wait for the season to get started."

Rivals ranks him among its top 250 in the 2015 class. Scout ranks him  79th among all prospects. And  247Sports site ranks him the top cornerback in the state of Colorado and 14th best nationally.

Lee said he's excited to be the first commit of the new class and hopefully a ringleader that draws others.

"It's definitely an amazing feeling to have but now I'm just going to start working on getting other kids here so they can join something special."

Standing 6-feet, 185 pounds,  Lee's position coach at Valor Christian is former NFL star Brian Dawkins.

"He's helped me just a tremendous amount, from film study to technique," Lee said. "I mean, I'm learning from a future Hall of Famer, so that kind of speaks for itself."

More additions still could be on the way this weekend, perhaps from the 2014 class.

Weekend visitors for the current class besides McClain included quarterback A.J. Bush, safety Markell Boston and defensive end Deandre Willis.

Bush, the prospect from Norcross, Ga., who just received an offer this week, said prior to his visit there was "a 95 percent chance" he'd commit to Nebraska.

And Boston, who arrived as an East Carolina commit, but has also been getting looks from in-state schools Alabama and Auburn, seemed on the verge of raising his hand for the Huskers later Saturday night.

"Tic..." he tweeted.

In other words, there might be some booms with your coffee.

Reach Brian Christopherson at or 402-473-7439. Follow him on Twitter @HuskerExtraBC.


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