Four-star cornerback Thomas Graham chose to stay on the West Coast when he announced his commitment to Oregon on Dec. 16.
Nebraska was one of six finalists with the Ducks, Arizona State, Arizona, Notre Dame and UCLA. Graham made his choice public during a ceremony at his high school.
The Huskers felt they had a lot of momentum entering the final couple weeks of Graham’s recruitment. The addition of Donte Williams to the NU coaching staff was a big boost, as he had previously been Graham’s lead recruiter to Arizona and had forged a strong relationship with him.
NU’s pursuit of Graham dated back to before Williams’ hiring, though. The Huskers first extended Graham an offer on Aug. 1, and about a month later brought him in for an official visit. Graham and high school teammate Jaylon Redd made the trip together for the season opener on Sept. 3.
Redd would eventually commit to Oregon a few weeks later, and Nebraska seemed to fade among the contenders for Graham as well.
At least until Williams came aboard. One of his first in-home visits as a Nebraska assistant was to check in on Graham. He and Husker coach Mike Riley made that visit on Dec. 6, and Williams returned on the final day before the dead period, even attending a church service with Graham.
But it wasn’t enough, even though Oregon didn’t have a defensive backs coach in place at the time of Graham’s commitment. New Oregon coach Willie Taggart made Graham a big priority though, using one of his first in-home visits to meet with Graham. That was enough to help convince Graham that Oregon was still the place for him.
Graham was a consensus four-star prospect, ranked as the No. 61 overall recruit nationally by the 247Sports composite. Those same rankings pegged him as the No. 8 cornerback in the country.
Nebraska’s 2017 class is still without a defensive back. The focus will shift to Quran Hafiz, a three-star out of Jacksonville, Florida, who is scheduled to announce his commitment on Dec. 19. The Huskers are also targeting cornerbacks Greg Johnson, Elijah Blades, Deommodore Lenoir and Chevin Calloway.
These are the players who built Nebraska football.
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