Signing day for Nebraska’s 2017 class was the most eventful of the Mike Riley era, and perhaps any in recent NU memory. Eleven players — two of them committed to the Huskers — made final decisions Wednesday. In the end, NU’s class sat at 20 commits.
In the end, two new additions — cornerback Elijah Blades and defensive lineman Damion Daniels — and the maintaining of a commitment from defensive end Guy Thomas were the major wins for NU on signing day. The big losses? The defection of receiver Jamire Calvin and the "what could have been" with a slew of West Coast prospects. You can read Sam McKewon's summary of the day's events here.
The signing day marathon started with tight end Kurt Rafdal — the first to officially become a member of the 2017 Husker recruiting class.
With Daniels and Thomas having picked NU on Wednesday morning, the focus shifted west to California — or, as Nebraska fans, coaches and pundits now call it: Calibraska.
Nebraska worked tirelessly to make a mark in California during the 2017 recruiting cycle, and the final fruits of all that labor weren't known until mid-afternoon. Among those West Coast decision-makers were Los Angeles Hawkins wide receiver Joseph Lewis and defensive back Greg Johnson (both picked USC), Los Angeles Salesian defensive back Deommodore Lenoir (Oregon), Pasadena (Calif.) John Muir cornerback Elijah Blades (Nebraska) and Temecula (Calif.) Chaparral athlete Michael Onyemaobi (TCU). Also in the Golden State were Calvin, Buena Park (Calif.) High School slot receiver Jeremiah Hawkins (Cal), Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde’s Bryan Thompson (Utah) and Chula Vista (Calif.) Mater Dei Catholic running back C.J. Verdell (Oregon).
In the end, Nebraska coach Mike Riley was "excited" with his new class. "As far as positions, we hit our marks where we wanted to fill in guys," Riley said.
Now, it's Riley's job to turn those prospects into productive Power Five football players. He's up to the task.
"We’ve got versatile guys here, and guys that are going to be big, good looking guys with those pads on when they walk on the field," Riley said.