Kendall Bussey

Newman running back Kendall Bussey.

The firing of Nebraska football coach Bo Pelini on Sunday morning was met with mixed emotions among players who have committed to the Huskers.

Many were just waking up when they heard the news. 

Offensive lineman Mirko Jurkovic of Bradenton, Florida, was among three recruits who decommitted Sunday.

The 6-foot-5, 276-pound Jurkovic, ranked a three-star recruit by Rivals.com, took an official visit to Ohio State over the weekend.

Kendall Bussey (5-8, 200 pounds), a four-star recruit from New Orleans and ranked by Rivals as the third-best running back in the 2015 class, said he was open to other offers.

"Coach Pelini is a great man and a big reason why I found Lincoln to be a good home for me," Bussey said in a tweet. "Thanks to the University of Nebraska and all of those who have supported me and while I have not entirely closed (the) door on Nebraska, I feel that it is in my best interest to reopen my recruitment."

Bussey, who's been recruited heavily by Texas A&M and Tennessee, wasn't alone. Stanley Morgan (6-0, 185), a four-star wide receiver from New Orleans, also tweeted that he would consider other schools, but wasn't "completely done with Nebraska."

Other players were still debating whether to reopen their recruitment. 

"I was in shock," said Khalil Davis (6-2, 260), a four-star defensive tackle from Blue Springs, Missouri. "I thought something like this might happen, but I still don't know what to think about it."

He and his twin brother, Carlos Davis, rated a three-star recruit by Rivals, still hadn't made a decision when reached by phone Sunday afternoon.

"You gotta keep your options open, but right now we're staying committed," Khalil Davis said.

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The status of defensive line coach Rick Kaczenski will loom large in whether they remain committed, according to Carlos Davis. He added that the two will definitely be going to the same school, whether it's Nebraska or somewhere else — they've also received offers from Missouri, Arizona State and Arkansas, among others.

"I(f) coach Kaz goes I GO!" Carlos tweeted.

The same can be said for Reuben Jones (6-4, 225), a three-star defensive end from Lakeland, Florida. Jones said he was firmly committed to Nebraska because of Kaczenski, but if the assistant leaves, "that kind of defeats the purpose of me going there."

"If I don't speak to somebody about the D-line coach within a day or two, I'm going to have to open my commitment," Jones said. "I want to go to Nebraska and I like the school; I just need to make sure I have a connection with the new coaches. They might not even like me, so I might be forced to look somewhere else.

"If they want me to take Randy Gregory's place, I need a coach who I know is going to help me do that."

Others weren't ready to jump ship just yet. Even if there are shake-ups with the assistant coaches, safety Aaron Williams said he wasn't worried about the coaching change. Williams (6-0, 185), a three-star recruit from Atlanta, said he was going to speak with his parents and high school coaches about the situation, but that he remained committed.

"The only thing that changes is my outlook for when I go in there," Williams said. "I just will need to get to know the new coaches and everything."

Nebraska athletic director Shawn Eichorst said during Sunday's news conference that he was well aware of the recruiting challenges the school now faces. 

"We will honor any commitments that we've made, and we would hope that those young people have looked at Nebraska as a place to get an education and play football at the highest level," Eichorst said. "Those things will take care of themselves in time, but we'll be very nurturing and supporting in that environment."

Eichorst added that assistant coaches will be in contact with recruits, but will do all of their recruiting from campus. That's a notable decision,  considering December is normally a busy month for coaches to go on the road recruiting.

Reach the writer at alantz@journalstar.com or 402-473-7431. On Twitter @AlexLantz.



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