LINCOLN — Dalvon Stuckey received a bit of a surprise about three weeks ago: sudden interest from Nebraska's football program.
The 6-foot-4, 305-pounder out of Pearl River County (Miss.) Community College isn't some diamond in the rough. He's a four-star defensive tackle currently committed to Miami and mulling trips to Auburn and West Virginia.
The Huskers just hadn't been in the picture, until they were, in force.
“They said they're looking for an older guy who can make an immediate impact,” Stuckey said in a phone interview. “I think I can do that.”
When the high school recruiting front is slightly in doubt, it's time to consider the junior-college route. NU struck out on juco defensive tackles last year. It's doubling down to attract one this year.
Smart move. It's a good year for the position in the junior college ranks. And though the Huskers have made strides in shoring up depth, they clearly want that powerhouse, mature guy who can make plays like Arizona Western transfer Randy Gregory. Stuckey is one of several tackles Nebraska is courting to make an official visit.
The best of them might be the guy NU hasn't officially offered yet: Dodge City (Kan.) Community College star Terrell Clinkscales.
The 6-foot-3, 315-pounder, ranked as the top juco defensive tackle by 247Sports and the No. 6 juco prospect overall, said in an interview he has sent his class transcripts to NU to show his grades are in order. Iowa State already has had him in for an official visit. Kansas State and Texas Tech will. Alabama just offered.
“The No. 1 team in the nation offers, you must be doing something right,” Clinkscales said.
He is. His Hudl tape is terrific. Clinkscales consistently engages the blocker, pounds him back, shucks him off and finds the ball carrier. It's not a highlight tape full of gap-shooting and speed rushing. It's full of the stuff Nebraska likes in its tackles.
“I'm good at the point of attack and I know how to use my hands,” said Clinkscales, who attended the same Chicago high school as current NU safety Corey Cooper. “I actually know the game pretty well.”
If the Huskers don't offer — it wouldn't be for lack of talent — they're still pursuing several other targets at tackle:
Ľ Calvin Heurtelou: He seems SEC-bound to Missouri or Tennessee, but the 6-foot-3, 305-pound three-star could visit Nebraska. Heurtelou, who plays at Scottsdale (Ariz.) Community College, texted that he still has interest in NU.
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Ľ Claude Pelon: The 6-foot-4, 275-pound four-star out of Mesa (Ariz.) Community College could play end or either tackle spot. He's scheduled to visit the weekend of the Northwestern game, but Washington, where he visited Oct. 12, will be tough to beat.
Ľ Jarran Reed: He signed with Florida last year out of East Mississippi Community College, failed to qualify academically, went back to East Mississippi and now appears to be open to schools outside of the Gators, according to Big Red Report. The 6-foot-4, 315-pound four-star has visited Alabama unofficially and Tennessee and Kentucky officially.
Nebraska is pursuing junior college guys at corner and wide receiver, too. Yes, wideout, where coach Rich Fisher has developed a culture of high competition and will court whoever he thinks can elevate the position.
That target appears to be Hinds County (Miss.) Community College receiver Robert Lockhart, the 6-foot-1, 180-pounder whom Fisher saw during the last bye week. Lockhart visited NU just before the 2011 signing day. He committed to Virginia Tech but instead spent a year at a military school. He changed to Miami, which is near his home in Boca Raton. He left the Hurricanes after the wide receivers coach moved to Syracuse, then enrolled in Hinds and now leads the team with 26 catches for 458 yards and four touchdowns.
“He's a long-ball threat,” said Hinds' wide receivers coach, Dwike Wilson. “He handles his business the right way, and he has good ball skills. He knows how to attack the ball when it's at its highest point.”
Lockhart said he wanted to go to Nebraska out of high school, but his mom wanted him to stay closer to home. She's signed off on him potentially heading to Nebraska now.
“Nebraska's really high on my list,” said Lockhart, who's also considering Ole Miss, Kentucky and Colorado. “I feel like they can get me the ball. Education comes first in that program, and I like Coach Fisher. He gets straight to it.”
Another receiver to watch: Saddleback (Calif.) Community College star Eric Lauderdale, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound four-star who told Big Red Report he's interested in NU after decommitting from Tennessee.
At corner, Blinn (Texas) Community College athlete Shyquawn Pullium has decommitted from Kentucky and may be open to Nebraska. He comes from Erie (Pa.) Cathedral Prep, the alma mater of Husker defensive line coach Rick Kaczenski.
Nebraska fans are conditioned to accept a handful of junior college signees each year, and coach Bo Pelini has been as good as most at identifying and quickly developing junior college talent. Getting that tackle, out of a large list of prospects, is crucial for improving depth on the defensive line.
Yes, young guys abound at the position, and yes, they'll eventually be difference-makers. But a top lineman could be that last piece Pelini needs, and some of the names on the board are frankly ahead of some of the guys in NU's program.
Bison attract a good one
A quick hat-tip to Creighton Prep quarterback Easton Stick, who committed to North Dakota State last week. Stick is good enough to play at the FBS level; then again, NDSU is good enough to win eight or nine games in the FBS, so Stick is more or less heading to an FBS program. Iowa State and Iowa play in bigger leagues, have larger stadiums and slightly better facilities, but the Bison would beat both this year.
A late Nebraska offer might be an intrigue. Though 2014 quarterback signee Zack Darlington has told several news outlets he plans to enroll at NU and play football despite two recent, scary concussions, the Huskers — with a new, world-class concussion facility — will obviously be doing their due diligence when he arrives in January. And one of the other quarterback targets on NU's board, Miami-area athlete Quinton Flowers, committed to South Florida.
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Video: Bo Pelini discusses Taylor Martinez, Minnesota (Oct. 24):