DaiShon Neal

DaiShon Neal, Omaha Central.

Willie Sykes liked Mike Riley plenty already when the coach was at Oregon State. Now put that coach at Nebraska. Give him more tools. Give him more passionate fans.

Sure, the defensive back figured he'd jump on that train and see where it goes.

"When he offered me at Oregon State, they were my No. 1 school, so it's kind of like, 'I had to go with Coach Riley, man,'" Sykes said Monday night. "It's really going to be Oregon State with better resources and better players, because he's going to coach the same."

Sykes made his commitment to the Huskers known publicly Tuesday afternoon, announcing it on Twitter.

"I wanna thank (God) for having opportunity (to) be that small percentage to play Division I football!" he tweeted in a lengthy message.

In that message, Sykes wrote about how he believed Nebraska offered the best chance to "help me get to the next level," announcing in all calls that it's time to "THROW THE BONES UP."

The 6-foot, 175-pound prospect from Spring, Texas, gives Nebraska 15 known commitments with four spaces still to fill. He had committed to Washington State just a week before, but then Sykes visited Lincoln this past weekend.

"I liked the coaching staff," he said. "I liked everything."

He said he likes that secondary coach Charlton Warren is "a real guy" with a lot of experience as a coach. "He's been a defensive coordinator. I like that."

Warren paid an in-home visit to Sykes on Monday night, obviously hearing good news while there. The coach tweeted: "What a great trip to Houston tonight! The #BLACKSHIRTS just got a lot better! #GBR"

Sykes said he also felt a good vibe with the fellow committed players, as well as current players such as sophomore Joshua Kalu, who is also from the Houston area.

"They got a lot of down-South guys on that team," he said.

Rated a three-star prospect by 247Sports, Scout and ESPN, and given two stars by Rivals, Sykes earned some high accolades in his region, including being named All-Texas first-team in Dave Campbell's Texas Football publication, which is well-respected.

The commitment from Sykes added to what already had been an encouraging day for Husker recruiting.

Omaha Central defensive end DaiShon Neal reaffirmed his commitment to the Huskers on Tuesday morning after courtships from the likes of Oregon, Oklahoma and Michigan.

"This is my brotherhood," he announced on the "Sharp and Benning" radio show on 1620 AM. "My family is already in Lincoln."

It didn't hurt NU's cause that, at least in the eyes of Neal and his family, a Michigan coach delivered an off-putting comment while trying to recruit him.

The Wolverines were NU's last roadblock to Neal, offering him this week, and sending defensive line coach Greg Mattison to visit him at Central, and the family home, on Monday.

Neal's father, Abe Hoskins, said on the show that Michigan came in like a powerhouse, "but they made one bad statement and it ruined it."

According to Hoskins, "They said without football, DaiShon wouldn't be able to go to Michigan, like we couldn't afford to send them there or we couldn't get him there academically. … Once he said that, we pretty much escorted him out of the house."

"He basically tried to call me stupid in front of my face," Neal said.

That's one side. Coaches are unable to respond directly about recruits who have not yet signed. In any event, Neal said he knew he was coming to Nebraska for sure 10 minutes after the Michigan coach left his house.

Now he's eager for what comes next.

"I can't wait," Neal said. "I want to bring everything I got to this table to help the team down in Lincoln, and we can win a national title and keep it moving from there."

While there remains plenty of room for Neal’s game to grow, Central coach Jay Ball told the Journal Star the recruit can be special when he puts it all together. Ball recalls the first game of last season against Lincoln North Star.

“I was watching the end-zone shot (on film), and they were down on our goal line and ran a play away from him, and he sliced through the line and tackled this guy behind the line of scrimmage on the other side from where he was lined up."

The coach said one word to himself: whoa.

"That’s an incredible play that not very many people in the country can make," Ball said.

Neal originally committed to Nebraska in early April during the Bo Pelini era. He maintained that pledge throughout, though he admits he thought about decommitting after the previous staff was fired. His dad told him to hang tight, reminding him that NU would bring in a solid coaching staff. In the meantime, Neal kept his eyes open as other big-time programs approached him.

Neal even visited Oklahoma in January, but wasn't as big on the campus in Norman, nor how the Sooners planned to use him in their scheme.

The recruit says he was just exploring his options after a coaching change and not trying to bring attention to himself.

"A lot of people tried to say I was acting like a drama queen and all this and that on Twitter, social media, but that's not the case," Neal said on the show. "I don't really listen to those type of people, because I know for a fact I'm not just about the attention. This is my next four to five years of my life that I got to make, so you best believe that I'm going to look around the best decision for me, especially when y'all the ones that got rid of the coaching staff.

"You can't really be upset with me about looking around because this is not your life, this is my life, that I got to make my own decisions. So you can call me what you want, but I think I handled that process pretty maturely. You don't know how much hard work, blood sweat and tears I had to put in this process, to earn this scholarship with my dad."

Reach the writer at 402-473-7439 or bchristopherson@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraBC.


Load comments