Jim Harbaugh might be the current king of satellite camps, but Nebraska's Mike Riley, quietly, isn't far behind him.
Riley saw firsthand how recruiting momentum can be generated by satellite camps when he was the coach at Oregon State, where he was among the first coaches to take his staff across the country with satellite camps and guest coach at instructional camps. The results spoke for themselves, as the Beavers landed a number of quality prospects they would have never gotten without the camps. Riley continues to stress the value of satellite camps now that he's at Nebraska, and he was one of the most vocal proponents of the camps when the NCAA temporarily banned them before later reversing course and allowing coaches to work with kids off campus.
Riley hasn't quite garnered the same national headlines Harbaugh has with his barnstorming, jersey-wearing world tour, but the Huskers made some positive moves with prospects in the last two weeks after sending coaches to two camps in California and making stops in Atlanta, Detroit and St. Louis. Much of that momentum is coming from targets in the Golden State, where the Huskers are one of the hottest brands on the market.
Last week, the Huskers hosted around 160 prospects in Oak Park High School in suburban Los Angeles. The event featured Nebraska ESPN 300 pledges Tristan Gebbia and Keyshawn Johnson Jr., along with ESPN 300 receiver Tyjon Lindsey, four-star Arizona running back pledge Nathan Tilford, fast-rising receiver Jamire Calvin and blue-chip 2018 running back T.J. Pledger. Third-ranked cornerback Darnay Holmes showed up before the camp but didn't work out.
"The number of scholarship-appearing players on the field at that camp was pretty high," Riley said. "All of these camps, but especially the ones in California, are great opportunities for us to be around the players that we think could be difference-makers in our program.
"You always want as much information as you can get, and these camps are great for helping us learn more. We get to find out not only how good this player is, but also what kind of person is he. And they get to find out what it's like to interact with coaches, to see how we run practices. I think it's outstanding for them to say, 'Yeah, I want play for this guy.'"
And one guy that might really want to play for the Huskers is Lindsey of Corona (California) Centennial. Lindsey, the 13th-ranked receiver, said after the NU camp that he will announce his decision on Aug. 22, and the Huskers made the final cut, along with Auburn, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Tennessee, USC, Oregon and Alabama. Lindsey told reporters Sunday at the camp his growing relationship with Huskers receivers coach Keith Williams "changed my whole process" and he loved working with him at the event.
Observations from around satellite camps
Florida brought their entire coaching staff to Trinity Christian for a satellite camp last Wednesday. The Gators' coaches traveled in style by taking Florida's new bus, which had been used by head coach Jim McElwain to attend various speaking engagements.
Florida wasn't the only staff in attendance. UCF, Southern Miss., Appalachian State, Mercer and Troy also sent coaches.
Ohio State five-star defensive back Shaun Wade made an appearance at the camp but did not go through drills. The talented DB left on Thursday to take a college road trip with some teammates and assistant coaches to see several schools, including Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Duke, Georgia, Tennessee, Michigan, Ohio State, Auburn and Alabama.
-- Derek Tyson
Nick Saban made it perfectly clear that he will not be attending any satellite camps this offseason.
"We sort of made the decision that it's more important [to spend time with our players]," Saban said Thursday at a charity event. "Especially in this time period, because there's only limited time periods in the summertime where we have time to spend with our players."
Yet, you might have thought the Alabama coach was at Samford's Mega Camp on Saturday. There was somebody walking around in Alabama gear with the straw hat made famous by Saban. It wasn't Saban, though; it was Rob Ezell, a former walk-on who joined the Crimson Tide's support staff this offseason.
To read more from Greg Ostendorf, click here.
Houston and Texas A&M joined forces in the Dallas Metroplex.
Both head coaches, Tom Herman & Kevin Sumlin, in the house for the Houston + Texas A&M satellite camp at Lancaster. pic.twitter.com/BZS6yXeXaT— Sam Khan Jr. (@skhanjr) June 9, 2016
Houston with some signage near the registration table showing DFW products. Nice touch for the incoming campers. pic.twitter.com/ISOMvBIppw— Sam Khan Jr. (@skhanjr) June 9, 2016
Both Tom Herman and Kevin Sumlin took a different tack on the satellite camp circuit. Neither have been the globetrotters that some of their colleagues have, but both have instead redoubled their efforts in their home state and given themselves an opportunity in the talent-loaded Dallas-Fort Worth area.