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NU No. 1 ... in recruiting expenses
We're No. 1! A recent report came out showing the Husker football team was tops in the conference in at least one thing: recruiting expenses. Now whether that's a good thing or a bad thing is open to discussion. Nebraska had a jump in recruiting spending in 2013 by $65,828 over the previous year, and a whopping $339,955 over 2011. Illinois placed a close second in 2013 by spending $791,972, followed by Penn State, Michigan, Minnesota, Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue, Iowa, Indiana and finally Wisconsin, a school that spent only $256,967 a year ago. Northwestern is not bound by state open-record laws so that university was not included. What does this increase and what do these numbers all mean? It says that most Big Ten schools are spending more of their resources, time and energy on recruiting, which of course is where it all starts. If you've paid any attention to next year's Husker football class, you'll see that Coach Bo is near or in the top 10 on most of the websites. According to espn.com, the Huskers, with their 10 early commitments, currently sit 15th and are putting themselves in prime position for one of their best classes in a few years. Alabama has 16 commitments and tops the list, but as we all know, that can totally change by next February's signing date. Maybe. Out of ESPN's top 300 recruits, NU has two verbals plus an offer (among others) to the second rated player, Martez Ivey from Apopka, Fl., from the same high school as current freshman quarterback Zack Darlington. Ivey is a 6-6, 268 pound offensive tackle with other offers from Alabama, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Florida State among others. He'd be a good fit in a Husker uniform so keep an eye on his story. Despite the increase in spending, the Big Ten, at least to this point, only has 17 players listed in the top 300 (and that includes Maryland and Rutgers, who contribute none). The SEC, on the other hand, has 49 verbal commitments from the list, so once again all the other conferences are chasing teams from the south. It's curious because in 2013, a total of 22 Big Ten players were drafted, while the SEC had 63. I'm not a math wizard but those numbers, percentage-wise, look kind of similar to the 2015 commits so far. Ouch. Hopefully that increase in spending by the conference on recruiting will begin to pay dividends as time goes on. If not, the SEC will continue to dominate. *** Dean Morgan called me the other day and said he and Gip Barnell recently ate lunch in the small town of Nelson (just north of Superior), a restaurant that featured lots of Husker football and professional baseball memorabilia on the walls. Turns out the baseball things were in tribute to Russ Snyder, a native of Oak, Neb., who went on to play in the major leagues from 1959 to 1971 with the Kansas City Athletics, Baltimore Orioles, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians and finally the Milwaukee Brewers. Turns out Russ was there eating at that same restaurant so Dean and Gip got to say hello. Snyder played the outfield and batted left-handed with a career batting average of .271. His best year came in his first with Kansas City when he batted .313. He played in the World Series in 1966 for Baltimore, when the Orioles swept the L.A. Dodgers to win the franchise's first-ever championship. The Baltimore Sun called him the "unsung hero of the series" as well as "a sharp-fielding outfielder whose glove served the team down the stretch," making a diving catch to clinch the pennant over the Oakland Athletics. Snyder actually finished third in 1959 for the American League Rookie of the Year. Quite a story. In Nelson.
DAVE BRADLEY¬† can be reached at advertising@ hamilton.net
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