Brian Norman

Nebraska steers through busy signing day to land recruits that can fuel Huskers’ turnaround

Cam Taylor — from Montgomery, Alabama — was one of five recruits that chose Nebraska on signing day.

Coach Scott Frost’s first recruiting class wrapped up Wednesday with 24 signees — NU’s largest class since 2013. Frost and his assistants — imported entirely from Central Florida, Frost’s last coaching stop — turned the class from a Big Ten also-ran into a top 25 class in two months. Better than any other in the Big Ten West. Better, according to Rivals, than Michigan’s class.

The tally was nearly six, if not for a snow day and a flip from Javontae Jean-Baptiste that belongs in Nebraska’s hall of recruiting gut-punches. Jean-Baptiste, who was committed for two hours to NU before changing his mind and picking Ohio State, will be remembered by Husker fans alongside Jamire Calvin, Andrus Peat, Owa Odighizuwa and Adrian Mayes as dramatic signing day misses.

The hits matter more. The most pleasant surprise was four-star Lithonia (Georgia) Miller Grove outside linebacker Caleb Tannor spurning Florida and Auburn for the Huskers in a joke-filled hat ceremony. The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder tried on three hats — including a Nebraska one — that he tossed, Frisbee-style, off his table. Then he brushed away two more hats, before pulling one from his lap and jamming it on his head. It was red with a block white N.

So did Montgomery (Alabama) Park Crossing athlete Cam Taylor — who could play receiver, safety or cornerback at NU — and Belle Glade (Florida) Glades Central offensive tackle Willie Canty, who picked Nebraska over Louisville. The Cardinals had consistently beaten the Huskers on the recruiting trail in recent years, including a win during the December signing period for athlete Marcus Riley. Canty preferred NU’s approach.

Nebraska missed on Tampa (Florida) Hillsborough cornerback Ken Montgomery Jr. — who signed with Maryland — and Katy (Texas) Taylor defensive tackle Otito Ogbonnia, who signed with UCLA. And while NU expected to miss on Javonte Jean-Baptiste, it nearly had the four-star linebacker in the fold.

“I want competitors,” Frost said. “I want guys that like football. I am also really proud of who these kids are. I think our staff approached recruiting from the perspective that we are going to be genuine and we are not going to be used car salesmen. Not lying, cheating, stealing and blowing kids phones up to get them. More than anything I think that helps us get the right kind of kid. The kid that doesn’t need to have all that happen to him to pick a school.

Wide receiver Andre Hunter, Lancaster (Calif.) Paraclete

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