LINCOLN, Neb. -- A signing day without coaches?
The scene at Nebraska was unorthodox on Wednesday as the early signing period opened. With new coach Scott Frost and his staff on the practice field in Orlando with UCF to prepare for the Jan. 1 Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl, a small group convened in the offices at Nebraska to collect letters of intent.
Director of recruiting Sean Dillon ran point in Lincoln. And forget the fax machine. As recruits texted Dillon photos of their signed letters, he stayed in touch with Frost’s chief of staff, Gerrod Lambrecht, on the ground in Florida.
Frost, hired Dec. 2, worked to keep and collect 13 pledges -- headlined by three members of the ESPN 300 and three in the ESPN Junior College 50 -- the majority of which signed on Wednesday. In a teleconference from Orlando, Florida, with reporters, Frost said he is pleased with the Cornhuskers’ position and looks forward to the recruiting work left before the traditional signing period begins Feb. 7.
“One thing we weren’t going to do is just sign kids to fill spots,” said Frost, named the Associated Press Coach of the Year among several national awards. “We want kids that we know can come be good people and become good football players.”
Alongside Dillon, staffers Ryan Callaghan and Kenny Wilhite convened on leather couches in the lobby of the football office to enjoy doughnuts and later pizza. Associate AD Matt Davison worked nearby -- and all of them, in Davison’s office, watched the announcement of juco running back Greg Bell, erupting in celebration when he picked the Huskers over Tennessee.
Frost called Dillon to check on progress during a break in the UCF practice.
The first letter of intent arrived shortly after 6 a.m. from receiver Justin McGriff of Tampa, Florida, though it was lacking a parent’s signature. Three hours later, his signing was official.
Quarterback Adrian Martinez, a four-star prospect out of Fresno, California, whom Nebraska flipped from Tennessee and was targeted by Frost’s staff as a top priority immediately after Frost accepted the job, sent his paperwork at 9:20 a.m.
Its arrival captured the attention of all in the area of Dillon.
Frost said he believes Nebraska had good talent in Lincoln -- better than its 4-8 record under coach Mike Riley this season indicated.
“Whether they’re seniors or freshmen, I don’t care, we’re going to play the best kids,” Frost said. “But every one of them is going to have to earn it. And everyone is going to have to come in and outperform the people on campus.”