Nebraska Football Recruiting: Huskers Take 2017 Big Ten West Title

If Mike Riley’s Nebraska football team is going to get to the Big Ten Championship Game anytime soon, it needs to win its division. You may think that starts on the field, but before chinstraps can even be tightened, a team has to have the Jimmies and Joes to wear those helmets.

Nebraska finished the 2017 recruiting cycle ranked No. 5 overall in the Big Ten conference according to the 247Sports Composite Index, but all four programs in front of them are from the East division.

We’re focusing on the West today and not only did Nebraska take the divisional recruiting crown, the next-best school was Wisconsin at No. 7 while Iowa took the No. 8 spot.

Illinois, Northwestern, and Minnesota sat at 10th, 11th and 12th, respectively. Purdue was this year’s cellar dweller at No. 14.

To make these numbers even more interesting, let’s break down how many offers the average prospect had in each school’s class:

Nebraska: 12.25
Wisconsin: 6.67
Northwestern: 5.16
Illinois: 4.44
Iowa: 4.32
Minnesota: 3.38
Purdue: 2.5

Yes, you read that correctly. Despite being ranked No. 10 and 12, Northwestern and Illinois actually had prospects that were more desired than the Hawkeyes’.

It didn’t exactly help Kirk Ferentz that he had five de-commitments in four-star recruits Eno Benjamin and Chevin Calloway along with three-star prospects Gavin Holmes, Juan Harris, and Beau Corrales.

Interestingly, Riley’s Nebraska football staff bested the Big Ten West during the 2016 cycle as well.

Nebraska came in at No. 5 while Wisconsin nipped at the Cornhuskers’ heels with a No. 6 finish. Minnesota, Iowa and Northwestern finished at Nos. 8, 9 and 10 while Illinois and Purdue brought up the rear at 13 and 14.

With two classes that best the entire division, Nebraska should be able to compete with the teams in their division even more so now that players specifically meant for Riley’s offense are in place.

There may be a bit of a growing period for the defense as new defensive coordinator Bob Diaco morphs the current scheme from a 4-3 to a 3-4, but there are already players that fit the necessary roles.

The Cornhuskers have quality momentum building on the recruiting trail and as of this writing, the Big Red trails only Penn State and Michigan in the conference rankings for the 2018 class.

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