Published Saturday, February 9, 2013 at 12:01 am / Updated at 1:51 am
FOOTBALL
Nebraska football recruiting round table

With a few days to digest the results of football signing day, four recruiting analysts were asked their thoughts on various parts of the latest Nebraska recruiting class. Here are their answers:

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HUSKERS ILLUSTRATED

— Mike Schaefer covers recruiting for Huskers Illustrated, part of the 247Sports Network

>> Best overall prospect: Randy Gregory. The juco defensive end is the jewel of this class and will provide an immediate impact.

>> Best offensive prospect: Terrell Newby. He provides home run speed, but is extremely consistent in all phases of the game.

>> Best defensive prospect: Gregory. He gives Nebraska a unique athlete with a strong pass-rushing skill set.

>> Strongest position group: Offensive line. Nebraska added five players, two of whom could contribute early in Matt Finnin and Chongo Kondolo.

>> Hidden Gem, Offense: Cethan Carter. He wasn't a well-known name before his visit, but with his size, speed and versatility, he'll be a key contributor from this class. He is also an extremely good pull from the South.

>> Hidden Gem, Defense: A.J. Natter. He is not hidden necessarily, but should be talked about more. He has great upside and great character and won't be outworked.

>> B1G recruiting win: Marcus Newby. Nebraska pulled the linebacker out of Maryland, away from the Terrapins and Penn State, strong teams in the Chesapeake Bay region.

>> B1G recruiting loss: James Clark. Nebraska almost stole the wide receiver from other Big Ten teams, only to see Urban Meyer come in late and snatch him away.

>> Immediate Impact, Offense: Chongo Kondolo. He is going to provide immediate help at guard or even center. The coaches are impressed with his ability and length.

>> Immediate Impact, Defense: D.J. Singleton. He enrolled early and will get to compete for two open safety spots this spring. He is big and fast and has a nice balance between coverage and run support.

>> Overall Class Strengths: NU needed help on the lines and found it. The Huskers finished with 12 total linemen and will get immediate help from all three juco players. The Huskers also added two exciting running backs and a potential quarterback to build around.

>> Needs not fully addressed: While NU did bring in six defensive linemen, the Huskers would have liked to add a juco defensive tackle. Nebraska also needed a slot receiver and missed on several at the end.

>> Key needs for next year: Expect Nebraska to go hard after defensive backs. A slot receiver is another immediate need.

>> Best B1G class: Ohio State. Tons of athleticism was added in key places with running backs Dontre Wilson and Ezekiel Elliott.

>> Best national class: Notre Dame. So much defensive talent added in one year has the Irish looking scary for the next few seasons.

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HUSKERONLINE.COM

— Sean Callahan, HuskerOnline.com

>> Best overall prospect: RB Adam Taylor. Taylor's work ethic, physical makeup and winning attitude make him a perfect fit for Nebraska, and his running style is geared for the Big Ten.

>> Best offensive prospect: RB Terrell Newby. Newby is a more explosive version of Ameer Abdullah, and the combination of him with Taylor gives Nebraska a “thunder and lightning” backfield for the future.

>> Best defensive prospect: DE Randy Gregory. Gregory gives Nebraska a legitimate pass rushing defensive end with the size and frame to make an immediate impact.

>> Strongest position group: Defensive line. Rick Kaczenski and John Papuchis have basically flipped the roster by bringing in six athletic defensive linemen who all appear to be difference-makers.

>> Hidden Gem, Offense: TE Cethan Carter. Anytime both LSU and Alabama come calling late on a three-star tight end, that's all you need to know. Carter can play.

>> Hidden Gem, Defense: DB Nathan Gerry. Gerry is that once-every-five-year player who comes out of South Dakota. He's a speedy and athletic safety built to play in cold weather.

>> B1G recruiting win: LB Courtney Love. rarely will Ohio State lose out on an in-state prospect, but credit Nebraska for winning this battle against the Buckeyes.

>> B1G recruiting loss: OL Dan Samuelson. The distance factor caused the Indiana lineman to flip from Nebraska to Michigan.

>> Immediate Impact, Offense: OL Matt Finnin. The 6-foot-7, 305-pounder should play immediately at tackle and helps replace Tyler Moore.

>> Immediate Impact, Defense: Gregory. With NU replacing three defensive ends, Gregory could be a Blackshirt by the end of August.

>> Overall Class Strengths: Nebraska addressed its major needs on the offensive and defensive lines. By the end of the season, it was clear the line needed some fresh bodies. I also really like Newby and Taylor at running back. This is as good a running back duo as you will find in any recruiting class.

>> Needs not fully addressed: I would've liked to see Nebraska sign at least one junior college defensive tackle and even a defensive end who could've been here for spring practice. Just having one or two more bodies here for the spring would've been huge for Bo Pelini to develop the defensive line for the fall.

>> Key needs for next year: Offensive line and cornerback. Nebraska will lose five scholarship offensive linemen and four scholarship corners. I look for the Huskers to take a class of around 20, and nearly half the players will be at those two positions.

>> Best B1G class: Ohio State — Urban Meyer is not going away anytime soon, folks.

>> Best national class: Alabama — The rich get richer.

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ESPN.COM

— Mitch Sherman is a senior writer for ESPN who covers recruiting. He formerly worked for The World-Herald.

>> Best overall prospect: Randy Gregory, primarily because he's experienced beyond high school, which will allow him to contribute early at an area of need.

>> Best offensive prospect: Adam Taylor. Much like Rex Burkhead, he comes from a big-school Texas powerhouse program. Nothing will surprise him in college, and his work ethic appears Burkhead-like.

>> Best defensive prospect: Marcus Newby. As an athletic outside linebacker who's solid against the run and pass, he looks to fit right into the scheme that works best at Nebraska.

>> Strongest position group: Defensive line. Gregory got most of the acclaim, but NU identified prospects who it felt fit Bo Pelini's system with Maliek Collins, A.J. Natter and Kevin Maurice.

>> Hidden Gem, Offense: Cethan Carter. He played in the SEC hot spot of New Orleans and didn't got much notice from the regional schools until late.

>> Hidden Gem, Defense: Drake Martinez. He's got the athletic bloodlines, for sure, and lots of raw ability, but stayed somewhat outside of view.

>> B1G recruiting win: Courtney Love. Ohio State and Michigan State went after him, but in contrast to so many top recruits this year, he stayed true to an early commitment.

>> B1G recruiting loss: Dan Samuelson. The Huskers did fine on the O-line, though it's a double-whammy to lose a committed player to a division rival in Michigan.

>> Immediate Impact, Offense: Terrell Newby. His ability as a back who can thrive in many roles may help the Huskers replace Braylon Heard and provide needed depth.

>> Immediate Impact, Defense: Gregory. Without Eric Martin and Cameron Meredith, Nebraska needs Gregory to provide a presence right away off the edge.

>> Overall Class Strengths: Clearly, it's in the trenches. The Huskers have struggled mightily for the past decade to develop and retain offensive linemen. While there's no slam dunk in this group, prospects like David Knevel and Dwayne Johnson offer hope. Matt Finnin and Chongo Kondolo, perhaps, can help next season. Defensively, Nebraska needs help up front, too. These additions might help fix problems in a hurry.

>> Needs not fully addressed: NU considered it a priority to find a play-making tight end. The Huskers went after multiple juco players and struck out. Same thing in the secondary, where Nebraska lost commit Marcus McWilson to Kentucky and failed to snag big fish Priest Willis. At receiver, too, NU could have used another body.

>> Key needs for next year: Start with tight end to make up for the misses of this class. Just like this year, the Huskers always need numbers on the lines. And while NU did well in signing linebackers this year, none of them is likely to grow into the dominant kind of inside player necessary in the Big Ten.

>> Best B1G class: Ohio State signed 17 players in the ESPN 300.

>> Best national class: Alabama cleaned up again, with 14 of its 26 signees among the ESPN 150.

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SCOUT.COM

— Josh Harvey, writer for Scout.com

>> Best overall prospect: RB Terrell Newby. A defense must defend the entire width of the field against him.

>> Best offensive prospect: Terrell Newby.

>> Best defensive prospect: DE Randy Gregory. He's arguably the best junior college defensive end in the country and has three years to play.

>> Strongest position group: RB. The trenches added a lot of depth, but Newby and Adam Taylor have the potential to be All-Big Ten runners early in their careers.

>> Hidden Gem, Offense: OT Dwayne Johnson. He might not be ranked the highest, but his versatility allows him to play all five spots up front.

>> Hidden Gem, Defense: DE Ernest Suttles. He's raw with only two years of experience, but should develop and is very athletic.

>> B1G recruiting win: DE A.J. Natter. The Huskers beat out at least five Big Ten schools to get him, and they picked him up right out of Wisconsin's backyard.

>> B1G recruiting loss: OL Dan Samuelson. The former commit would have been the second highest rated offensive line prospect in the class.

>> Immediate Impact, Offense: Terrell Newby. It's clear when watching him: Nebraska doesn't have a player on its roster who looks like him.

>> Immediate Impact, Defense: Gregory. If healthy after missing 2012, Gregory could fill the role left by Eric Martin.

>> Overall Class Strengths: Both lines added major depth. On offense, Nebraska needed to get bigger, yet stay athletic. The Huskers have that in offensive linemen Matt Finnin and Chongo Kondolo. On defense, they added immediate playmaking help on the edge in Gregory, and Natter could start in a pinch as a freshman. While neither defensive tackle is probably ready to play in the fall, both project to develop into starters down the road.

>> Needs not fully addressed: Nebraska would have liked a shutdown high school corner, and a junior college defensive tackle would have been nice. The Huskers might be able to get a junior college defensive tackle in May, when certain guys get academically qualified. At corner, fans must remember that former Auburn defensive back Jonathan Rose will have three years to play and should make an instant impact.

>> Key needs for next year: cornerbacks will be important with four seniors set to use up their eligibility. In addition, Nebraska always needs to focus on both lines, with NU likely taking at least four offensive linemen. But it's a little early to know all of Nebraska's needs in the next class. All BCS programs have attrition, and at certain positions, guys might not develop as projected.

>> Best B1G class: Ohio State. Twenty-one players were four-stars or better.

>> Best national class: Alabama. Michigan was ranked higher on FOX Sports NEXT, but 'Bama had more top 100 players.

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