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2001 RECRUITS


Click on the player's name for biographical information from the athletic department. Footnotes indicate a player ranking significantly higher than that of Rivals.com.

 Titus Adams, NT, 6-4, 285, Omaha, NE (Creighton Prep),
    December 2000 (Rivals #13)
 Philip Bland, ROV, 6-0, 205, Lafayette, CO (Fairview),
    December 2000 (Rivals #69)
 Clifford Brye, SE, 5-10, 175, Lincoln, NE (Northeast H.S.,
    Univ. of Wyoming, Hutchinson C.C.), November 2000 (Rivals N.R.)
 Daniel Bullocks, FS, 6-2, 200, Chattanooga, TN (Hixson),
    January 2001 (Rivals #43) 
 Josh Bullocks, ROV, 6-2, 200, Chattanooga, TN (Hixson),
    January 2001 (Rivals #44)
 Rodney Burgess,^ DB, 6-2, 180, Del Ray Beach, Fla. (NW Mississippi C.C.)
 Seppo Evwaraye, NT, 6-5, 325, Laurel, NE (Laurel-Corncord,
    June 2000 (Rivals N.R.)§
 Antwon Guidry, RB-DB, 6-1, 185, Campbell, CA (Leigh),
    December 2000 (Rivals #34)
 Jared Helming, NT, 6-4, 275, Springfield, MO (Kickapoo),
    June 2000 (Rivals #10)
 Richie Incognito; C, 6-4, 310, Glendale, AZ (Mountain Ridge);
    May 2000 (Rivals #58)
 Randy Landingham, CB, 6-0, 180, Sonora, CA, December 2000 (Rivals #85 RB)
 Danieal Manning, CB, 6-0, 195, Corsicana, TX, January 2001 (Rivals #16)
 Mike McLaughlin, QB, 6-0, 175, Omaha, NE (Millard North),
    April 2000 (Rivals #20)
 Gary Pike, OT, 6-4, 280, Pueblo, CO (Centennial),
    July 2000 (Rivals #29)
 Cory Ross, IB, 5-7, 190, Denver, CO (Jefferson),
    June 2000 (Rivals #11)
 Barrett Ruud, MLB, 6-2, 220, Lincoln, NE (Southeast),
    June 2000 (Rivals #56)
 Marques Simmons, IB, 5-10, 190, Davenport, IA (North),
    February 2001, (Rivals #59)
 LeKevin Smith, DT, 6-3, 295, Macon, GA (Stratford Academy),
    February 2001 (Rivals #14)
 Mike Stuntz, QB, 6-2, 185. Council Bluffs, IA (St. Albert),
    June 2000 (Rivals #30)* 

denotes letter earned * Stuntz is Tom Lemming's #15 QB
§ Evwaraye is SuperPrep's #31 DL CLASS SCORECARD 39 letters earned by 13 of 19 recruits All-America: 1 (J. Bullocks) All-conference: 3 (J. Bullocks, Incognito, Ruud) Notable walk-on: Sam Koch, P (all-conference) ^ Burgess committed in May 2001

2001 SIGNING COVERAGE

 

Titus Adams
DL...6-4...285...Omaha, Neb. (Creighton Prep)
A two-time All-Nebraska defensive lineman, Titus Adams is one of five Husker recruits in the 2000 class to hail from Nebraska. Adams attended the Big Red Football School last summer and only visited Nebraska, committing after his December visit. Adams was a three-year starter for Coach Tom Jaworski at Omaha’s Creighton Prep. Adams helped lead his team to a state championship in 1999 and a runner-up finish in 2000. He was a two-year Omaha World-Herald All-Nebraska all-state honoree and was the OWH Defensive Captain in 2000. He was also a two-time Lincoln Journal Star Super-State honoree and was the LJS Defensive Player of the Year in 2000. Adams is an All-American by Parade, PrepStar, Student Sports and Rivals.com and is listed as the 13th-best defensive tackle this year by Rivals.com and the 16th best by PrepStar, making their elite Dream Team. As a senior, Adams had 81 tackles, 12 tackles for losses, seven sacks and 15 quarterback hurries. He said he chose Nebraska because: “When I visited, it was such a close family atmosphere. I’m from a big family and I wanted to stay close to home. I felt very comfortable with the coaches.” Adams was also recruited by Tennessee and Iowa State. The son of Frances Adams and Jerry and Diane Johnson, Titus was born on Jan. 28, 1983 in Omaha. His older brother Jerry played for Wayne State. He also has three younger brothers and a sister.

Solich comments: “Titus is well known across Nebraska – and really in the Midwest – for the great job that he has done in terms of playing football at Creighton Prep. He was a dominating lineman for Creighton Prep on both sides of the ball. We’ll play him as a defensive lineman. He, along with Cory Ross, played in the national high school all-star game in Texas.”

Philip Bland
Rover...6-0...205...Lafayette, Colo. (Fairview)
One of three recruits to sign with the Huskers from the state of Colorado this year, Philip Bland visited the Nebraska campus in December and shortly thereafter committed to the Huskers. A first-team all-state safety by both the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News, Bland also made the Denver Post’s 2001 Blue Chip List and was the No. 6 defensive back in the midlands by PrepStar. As a senior at Fairview, Bland played rover and receiver for Coach Tom McCartney and recorded 90 tackles and two interceptions, playing seven of Fairview’s 11 games with a cast on his broken hand. He saw little action as a receiver during his senior year because of the break. A three-year starter, Bland had 70 tackles and two interceptions his junior season, earning all-county and all-league honors. Bland also played baseball, earning second-team all-league honors. With a 3.4 cumulative GPA, Bland is a solid student. He was also recruited by Notre Dame, Colorado, Colorado State and Kansas State. He picked the Huskers because: “Overall, Nebraska was the best fit for me. I was impressed with the staff and facilities. For the type of defense I play, Nebraska fits me perfectly.” The son of Sarah and Richard Bland, Philip was born on Jan. 2, 1983 and has a brother and sister. His father Rich, played safety for Colorado from 1971 to 1973.

Solich comments: “Philip Bland will lineup at rover. Philip is the type of player that reminds you of Mike Brown. He is extremely aggressive, a great tackler and yet is able to play pass defense very well. He is a very instinctive player. We’re really excited about Philip and the fact that he’s chosen to come play his football at the University of Nebraska.”

Clifford Brye
WR/Athlete...5-10...175...Lincoln, Neb. (Northeast/Hutchinson, Kan. CC)
A Nebraska native, Clifford Brye will return to his homestate after competing one year at the University of Wyoming and one year at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas. An all-around athlete, Brye runs a 4.4. 40-yard dash and is the only junior college recruit in the Huskers’ 2001 class. He will have two years of eligibility remaining. As a wide receiver for Hutchinson last year, Brye had 20 receptions for 344 yards and five TDs averaging 17.2 yards per catch. He also rushed two times for 39 yards and one touchdown, had six punt returns for 72 yards and 10 kickoff returns for 245 yards and one touchdown. Brye helped Coach Dave Wheeler and the Dragons to a 6-4 record in 2000. After redshirting at Wyoming in 1998, he led Wyoming in rushing in 1999 with 451 yards (5.9 per carry), before transferring to Hutchinson. Brye earned first-team All-Nebraska/Super-State honors as a running back at Northeast High School in Lincoln in 1997. Clifford is the son of Wanda Varnadoe.

Solich comments: “I think Clifford is one of the examples of the athleticism we have among the players in this class. Clifford, without question, could play on either side of the ball. His coaches indicate that he could lineup at corner and be a great corner for us. He was also their bullet on covering punts. They said he was one of the best bullets that they ever had there at Hutchinson (Community College), which will come into play in terms of what he might be able to do for us here at Nebraska. We’ll line him up at wide receiver. He has outstanding speed and will be a guy that can get deep on people as well as catch the short one and make people miss.”

Daniel Bullocks
FS...6-2...200...Chattanooga, Tenn. (Hixson)
The first set of twins to ever sign with the Husker football team, Daniel and Josh Bullocks are both versatile athletes who were instrumental in turning around the Hixson High School football program. The identical twins both played four years for Coach Dan Duff and during their careers at the 4A school, Hixson went from being considered one of the worst prep teams in the state to one that has made the playoffs every season for the last four years. Hixson posted its first winning season in 1997 (6-4), making the playoffs for the first time in school history. The team won its first regional championship in 1998 with a school record nine wins and went 6-5 the past two years. Daniel took over the starting quarterback duties as a sophomore, without previously having played the position. An excellent athlete and natural option quarterback, Bullocks totaled more than 50 touchdowns in his career. As a senior, he was the player of the year in Chattanooga by the Times Free Press and was Mr. Tennessee for football in class 4A. In 2000, Bullocks rushed for 1,432 yards on 153 attempts with 21 TDs. He completed 11-of-41 passes for 309 yards with five TDs and also caught 10 passes. He recorded 43 tackles as a free safety with four interceptions and two fumble recoveries. He had four kickoff returns for 102 yards and four punt returns for 27 yards. Both Daniel and Josh were named to the Associated Press Tennessee All-Star Team and both will play in the Tennessee vs. Kentucky All-Star Game in Knoxville. Daniel is rated as the fifth-best overall college prospect from Tennessee by the Knoxville News-Sentinel. He earned first-team all-state class 4A honors, is a PrepStar All-Southeast region honoree and is listed by SuperPrep as the 10th best overall pick from Tennessee. Neither attended football camp, and both visited Nebraska and Auburn together. The pair wanted to go to the same school and after visiting the Lincoln campus picked Nebraska. They were also recruited by Alabama, Mississippi State, Florida State, Georgia and Tennessee. Daniel said he picked Nebraska because: “It was the best decision for me. We fit right in the program, and we wanted to go to the same school together. After visiting, it was an easy decision.” The son of William and Gerline Williams, Daniel and Josh were born on Feb. 28, 1983 in Chattanooga. The twins have two older sisters.

Josh Bullocks
Rover...6-2...200...Chattanooga, Tenn. (Hixson)
The twin brother of Daniel Bullocks, Josh Bullocks took handoffs from his brother as Hixson’s running back and also played a variety of positions on defense, serving primarily in the secondary as a cornerback. Josh rushed 99 times for 683 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior. He had seven receptions for 212 yards and four TDs and made 33 tackles with three tackles for loss, two interceptions and returned a fumble 43 yards for a touchdown. Also pairing with Daniel on returns, Josh had 11 kickoff returns for 310 yards and two punt returns for 75 yards. Josh is rated as the 15th-best overall college prospect from Tennessee by the Knoxville News-Sentinel, earned first-team all-state 4A honors, is listed by SuperPrep as the 11th-best overall pick from Tennessee and is a PrepStar All-Southeast region honoree. Josh was named to the AP All-Star Team and will play in the Tennessee vs. Kentucky All-Star Game. The younger of the twins by one minute, Josh combined with Daniel on Hixson’s 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 meter relay teams, placing second in the 4 x 400 at state, breaking the state record, but losing by 0.1 seconds. Both Josh and Daniel served as team captains their senior year. Visiting Nebraska and Auburn together, Josh said: “The Nebraska program fit me and my brother well. My mom liked it too, and she is going to move to Nebraska to be closer by us.” Coach Dan Duff said: “Nebraska is not only getting great athletes, but also men of great character. We are very excited about having them both go to Nebraska.” The son of William and Gerline Williams, Daniel and Josh were born on Feb. 28, 1983 in Chattanooga. Daniel and Josh are cousins of former U. S. Olympic gold medalist Evelyn Ashford.

Solich comments: “Daniel is a great athlete on both sides of the ball. He is also an excellent track man. He has excellent speed. Both Daniel and Josh have excellent size. If you look at the two of them, it’s very difficult to tell them apart, and it’s difficult to tell them apart when you turn on the film in terms of their play. Josh played as a running back and also as a defensive corner. Both guys could line up at a number of positions in our defense. I think the one thing about them is that their athleticism is outstanding. They have excellent size, strength and toughness. Daniel’s coach also believes he could lineup at quarterback here. We feel both of them are excellent additions to this class.”

Seppo Evwaraye
DL...6-5...325...Laurel, Neb. (Laurel-Concord)
Finland native Seppo Evwaraye (pronounced SEP-oh Ev-vwar-AYE-yea) came to the United States and Laurel, Neb., as an exchange student in 1999. He had played just one year of club football in Finland before joining coach Michael Halley’s Laurel-Concord Class C2 team. But in just two years, Evwaraye earned enough attention to be named an All-American by PrepStar on offense and an All-American on defense by SuperPrep. He was listed as PrepStar’s 18th-best offensive lineman in the midlands and 24th overall in the midlands by SuperPrep. Evwaraye earned All-Nebraska offensive first-team honors from the Omaha World-Herald and super-state honors from the Lincoln Journal Star in 2000. The biggest signee in the class at 6-5, 325, Evwaraye helped Laurel-Concord to a state title in 2000 and to the second round in 1999. He played defensive tackle as a junior and started on both sides of the ball as a senior. He is expected to be a defensive tackle for the Huskers. Evwaraye missed the first three games of his senior season while appealing a Nebraska School Activities Association ruling that allows foreign exchange students just one year of eligibility. His eligibility was restored on Sept. 18. Evwaraye attended the Big Red Football School after his junior season, and only visited Nebraska, although he was also recruited by Iowa, Iowa State and Nebraska-Omaha. He said: “I chose Nebraska because the people, facilities and the staff are all wonderful. Nebraska has great legends, past glory and tradition and has a good academic program. Another factor was that Jim and Carla would be close by to support me.” Jim and Carla Erwin were his host parents in 1999 and now share legal guardianship with Seppo’s mother, Sirpa. His father is the late Frederick Evwaraye. Seppo was born on July 1, 1982 in Vaasa, Finland. He has an older brother Ari and a younger brother Efe. Evwaraye, who can bench-press 400 pounds and squat 600, has a 4.9 second time in the 40-yard dash. He intends to try his hand at throwing the shot put this spring for Laurel-Concord.

Solich comments: “Seppo, we feel, has tremendous potential as well as ability. But you have to understand that Seppo is a foreign exchange student from Finland, and has really only played football in this country for a year and a half. So he is a baby when it comes to football. But Seppo is not a baby. He is 325 pounds. He is built very well. Seppo is tremendously quick off the ball. There is no question that he can play on either side of the ball. We expect that he will develop in to a great player here at the University of Nebraska.”

Antwon Guidry
CB...6-1...185...Campbell, Calif. (Leigh)
Antwon Guidry is one of 14 All-Americans in the Huskers’ 2001 recruiting class and is an excellent all-around athlete, lettering four years in football, basketball and track. A three-year starter on both sides of the ball, Guidry was recruited as a cornerback for the Huskers. As a running back, Guidry rushed for 1,845 yards with 22 TDs. He completed 19 of 27 passes for 717 yards as quarterback and caught three touchdown passes as a receiver. He scored 41 touchdowns total, with two on interception returns, two on kickoff returns and two on punt returns. He was an All-America athlete by PrepStar and an All-America defensive back by Student Sports. Guidry was the San Jose Mercury News Offensive Player of the Year and the Leigh High School Player of the Year. Guidry earned first-team all-state honors from the Mercury News and from CalHiSports.com. He was the PrepStar second-best athlete in the West and was named to that publication’s All-Western Region Team. He received votes for the Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West list and SuperPrep lists him as the 78th-best athlete in the far west. A team captain as a senior for Coach Ken Padia, Guidry rushed for more than 300 yards against Leland. He also earned four letters in basketball and will complete his fourth year on the track team this spring. He currently averages 20 points per game as a shooting guard with six steals and five assists per game for his 20-2 basketball team (ranked third in the Central Coast Section). He has run a 10.6 100-meter dash and a 21.5 in the 200. Guidry committed to the Huskers before his visit in January. While he only visited Nebraska, he was also recruited by Fresno State, Idaho, Washington and Colorado. He said: “I picked Nebraska because of the whole program. Nebraska has a strong academic program as well, and I wanted to go where I could get help on and off the field.” Michelle and Garry Glaznap are his guardians. Antwon was born on Dec. 31, 1982. He has a brother Ricky and a sister Cassandra.

Solich comments: “Antwon is a multi-dimensional athlete. He is a great basketball player and is an outstanding track man. He is one of those guys that you would feel comfortable lining him up with the great receivers we’ll face in this conference.”

Jared Helming
DL...6-4...275...Springfield, Mo. (Kickapoo)
A consensus prep All-American (Parade, PrepStar, SuperPrep and Rivals.com), Jared Helming is one of four defensive linemen to sign with the Huskers this year, and the only recruit from Missouri. Playing for Kickapoo, he was coached by Kurt Thompson, the former coach of Grant and Tracey Wistrom at Webb City (Mo.) High School. Playing both sides of the ball, Helming is a four-year starter on the defensive line and a three-year starter on offense. He was the Missouri Gatorade State Player of the Year, and is listed as the ninth-best offensive lineman overall by SuperPrep and the 10th-best defensive lineman by Rivals.com. He is a two-time class 5A all-state defensive lineman, as he totaled 73 tackles in 2000, 87 in 1999 and 69 in 1998. Last season he had 25 tackles for loss, including three sacks, and an interception as Kickapoo lost in the state semifinals to Rockhurst, the eventual state champion. Helming is a three-year letterwinner in track, throwing the shot and discus. He won the shot and discus at the Ozark Conference meet as a junior. An honor roll student all four years, Helming boasts a 3.8 cumulative grade-point average. Helming attended the Big Red Football School this summer and committed to NU the day after. He was also offered scholarships by Michigan, Tennessee, Missouri, Kansas, Kansas State, Illinois, Florida State, Purdue, Northwestern and Texas. He said: “Nebraska was the place I wanted to go all along. It is a great program with great tradition and great coaches. When I came on my trip, it was more than what I expected. When they offered I took it.” Helming said he also consulted Steve Warren’s family, a Kickapoo graduate who was a third-round pick of the Green Bay Packers in 2000 after playing four years for the Huskers (1996-99). The son of George and Patty Helming, Jared was born on Dec. 23, 1982. Helming’s older brother, Ryan, starts at quarterback for Northern Iowa.

Solich comments: “Jared is another player that played both ways. He is just a tremendous all-around athlete that we will start out as a defensive lineman. He is aggressive, has great movement and is really a guy that plays every play out to his fullest. We feel like he is going to have a great career here.”

Richie Incognito
OL...6-4...310...Glendale, Ariz. (Mountain Ridge)
An All-America offensive lineman, Richie Incognito was named to PrepStar’s 120-man Dream Team and is that publication’s No. 6 offensive lineman overall. He was a second-team honoree on the Long Beach Press-Telegram’s Best in the West List and is listed as the No. 1 offensive lineman in the West by PrepStar. Incognito played both sides of the ball for Mountain Ridge High School in Glendale, Ariz., and also served as his team’s deep snapper. Playing for Coach Jim Ewan, Incognito helped lead his team to an 8-4 record and the first round of the state playoffs. Incognito was a finalist for the Arizona Player-of-the-Year Award and won the Brian Murray Award, which goes to the best lineman in the state, and the Frank Kush Award, which annually goes to the best offensive lineman in Arizona. He earned first-team all-state honors on offense by the Arizona Republic and was named to its Super All-State Team. Incognito also earned one letter in track, throwing the shot put. He can bench press 450 pounds and squat 625 pounds and has competed in weight lifting. He is the first Division I-A player to come out of Mountain Ridge, which is in its fifth year of operation and competes in Arizona’s largest class. Incognito only visited Nebraska and committed in May of last year, before attending the Big Red Football School last summer. He picked Nebraska because: “Nebraska is the best lineman school in the country. I wanted to go where I could be the best at my position. Also the coaches and fans are the best in the nation.” Incognito was also recruited by Michigan, Michigan State, Southern California and Oregon. The son of Richard and Donna Incognito, Richie was born in Englewood, N.J., and moved to Glendale in 1995. He has a younger brother Derek.

Solich comments: “Richie is 6-4, 310 and maybe still growing. It all looks great on Richie. He has tremendous power, excellent explosiveness and great agility. He’s the type of lineman you need in our system in terms of being able to show movement and get places on the football field. We feel he’ll just be an outstanding football player for us.”

Randy Landingham
CB...6-1...180...Sonora, Calif. (Sonora)
One of 14 prep All-Americans in the 2001 class, Randy Landingham joins Antwon Guidry as one of two Husker recruits out of the state of California. Landingham was a PrepStar All-American running back and was listed as the 12th-best running back in the West by the same publication. SuperPrep listed Landingham at No. 36 among Far West recruits and he also received votes for the Long Beach Press-Telegram’s Best in the West listing. Coached by Robert Cendro at Sonora High School in northern California, Landingham runs the 40 in 4.41 seconds and has a 31-inch vertical jump. Playing in California’s second-largest high school classification, he earned all-conference honors by rushing for 1,400 yards and 19 touchdowns as a senior. In his career, he totaled more than 3,500 rushing yards. Recruited as a cornerback, Landingham helped lead Sonora to a 20-3 record the past two years. Also recruited by Oregon State and Washington. Randy’s twin brother Rodney has committed to Oregon State. Coach Cendro is also the twins’ legal guardian.

Solich comments: “Randy is also a track man with outstanding speed. He’ll start out as a corner for us. He is a very aggressive football player. He has good height – excellent size for a corner with really great speed.”

Danieal Manning
CB...6-0...195...Corsicana, Texas (Corsicana)
Texas native Danieal Manning (pronounced Dan-YELL) was a three-year starter at cornerback for Coach Jeff Berry at Corsicana High School. Manning helped lead Corsicana (Class 4A) to a 9-4 record this season and to the regional finals. He totaled 67 tackles, three interceptions (two for TDs) and had five fumble recoveries (one TD), 10 pass breakups and three blocked kicks. Manning was a second-team all-state honoree by the AP and the Texas SportsWriters Association and was a captain in 2000. He is a PrepStar All-Midlands Region honoree, was listed as the 117th-best player in the Southwest by SuperPrep and as the 16th best cornerback by Rivals.com. As a junior, Manning had 35 tackles and six interceptions, including one each in four consecutive games. He also returned kicks and had 213 kickoff return yards over the last two years, 192 punt return yards, 215 interception return yards and four return TDs including a 90-yard blocked kick return and a 13-yard fumble return. In his three-year career, he totaled 138 tackles. Manning visited Nebraska and Texas A&M before committing to the Huskers. He said: “Nebraska seemed like a good fit for me. I liked the coaches and the players.” He was also recruited by Texas, Oklahoma, Penn State, Purdue, Arkansas and Alabama. Manning also competes in track, running a 4.3 40-yard dash and a 21.4 200 meters. He has gone 47 feet in the triple jump and 23 feet in the long jump. The son of Tammy and Joe Brown and the grandson of Tinnas Manning, Danieal was born on Aug. 9, 1982 in Corsicana.

Solich comments: “Danieal will also lineup at corner for us. Even though he could play a number of positions, he is really a pure corner. He committed to us awhile back and has really been hit hard as it came down to the wire. We feel really very good about Danieal and the rest of those guys that committed early and had to hang around until signing day came around to become a part of this program.”

Mike McLaughlin
QB...6-0...175...Omaha, Neb. (Millard North)
The Class A All-Nebraska/Super-State quarterback by both the Omaha World-Herald and the Lincoln Journal Star, respectively, McLaughlin is one of five Nebraska natives on this year’s recruit list. McLaughlin comes from Millard North High School, the same high school as current Husker quarterback Eric Crouch and Husker teammates Mic Boettner, Judd Davies and Pat Ricketts. Playing for Coach Fred Petito, McLaughlin rushed for more than 3,400 yards in his three-year career and passed for another 800 yards. He also played some wide receiver at Millard North, but has been the starting quarterback since his sophomore season. McLaughlin was an All-American by PrepStar, SuperPrep and Rivals.com, and was listed as the No. 20 quarterback overall by Rivals.com, No. 117 by SuperPrep and the fourth-best QB in the Midlands by PrepStar. He was also the Gatorade Nebraska State Player of the Year. Also a standout in track, McLaughlin has run a 10.72 100 meters and a 21.7 in the 200 meters. He assisted his 4 x 400-meter relay team to a state championship as a junior and also runs on the 4 x 100-meter team. McLaughlin committed as a junior and has attended the past three Big Red Football Schools. He only visited Nebraska and said: “It has always been my dream to go to Nebraska. The coaches are amazing. They really care about you, and the players are great. It’s a real family atmosphere.” McLaughlin said when people ask him if he is a Nebraska fan, he says, “Have you ever seen my basement?” The son of Steve and Gerri McLaughlin, Michael was born on Jan. 27, 1983 in Long Island, N.Y.

Solich comments: “Mike McLaughlin is a track star, and we feel he has the kind of speed to be a threat as a runner in our system. He runs an option attack at Millard North, so he is very adept at running the option. He has gotten bigger as time has gone on. We believe he will be able to hold up. He has shown great toughness throughout his career there at Millard North. He also has the ability to be a defensive back or receiver if you want him to. But he will start out at quarterback.”

Gary Pike
OL...6-4...280...Pueblo, Colo. (Centennial)
An All-America offensive lineman as named by SuperPrep and Rivals.com, Gary Pike is one of two offensive linemen in this year’s class and one of three recruits from the state of Colorado. Pike started on both sides of the ball for the past three years playing for Centennial High School (Class 4A) and Coach Troy Niccoli. Pike is ranked by SuperPrep as the 19th-best offensive lineman overall and the 16th-best player in the midlands. Rivals.com lists Pike as the 30th-best offensive lineman. He earned first-team all-state honors his senior year from the Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post, and was named to the Post’s 2001 Blue Chip List. Pike had 38 tackles as a senior with four sacks and 87 tackles his junior season with eight sacks. He averaged 11 pancake blocks per game last season, but missed two games with a sprained ankle. Pike attended the Big Red Football School last year and committed in the summer. He only officially visited Nebraska, but was recruited by Stanford, Colorado, Colorado State, Oklahoma and Notre Dame to name a few. Coach Niccoli said 34 Division I schools came calling on Pike in May alone. Pike chose Nebraska, because: “of the stability of the coaches and the longevity of the staff. It was such a great family atmosphere. I got along great with everyone, there were no strangers there. I also want the opportunity to play for a national championship, and I can do that at Nebraska.” With excellent speed (4.85 40-yard dash) for his size (6-4, 280), Pike also bench presses 350 pounds and squats 460 pounds. He was the starting center for the basketball team as a junior, but is not playing this season. Pike was named to the Honor Roll every year and with a 3.85 GPA, ranks among the top 15 in his class. He is a three-year member of the National Honor Society. His junior year, he was named the math and science student of the year at his school. The son of Gary Sr. and Leslie Pike, Gary was born on Nov. 15, 1982.

Solich comments: “Gary is a player that played on both sides of the ball. He could probably be used as a defensive player if you wanted to use him that way. He also showed great mobility. We had both of those guys in our camp (Pike and Richie Incognito), so we got a chance to work with them first hand. Beyond seeing their talent on film, we were also able to see their talent in person.”

Cory Ross
RB/Athlete...5-7...190...Denver, Colo. (Thomas Jefferson)
One of three recruits from Colorado, Cory Ross played for Coach Tim Cross at Thomas Jefferson High School in Denver. Ross was named an All-America athlete by PrepStar and SuperPrep and an All-America defensive back by Student Sports and Rivals.com. Rivals lists Ross as their 12th-best cornerback overall, while SuperPrep lists him 17th. Nebraska has recruited Ross as a running back/athlete and in 2000, Ross rushed for 1,543 yards and 23 touchdowns. He led the state in total offense with 3,700 yards, as he also had 12 return TDs (six on kickoffs and six on punt returns). He had five interceptions as a senior (two for TDs) and was third on the team with 84 tackles. A Denver Post 2001 Blue Chip and a two-time all-state player, Ross has a 37-inch vertical jump and runs the 40 in 4.45. He was named to the Colorado all-star team and will play in the National High School All-Star Game in Texas. As a junior, he rushed for 986 yards and 13 TDs and was utilized mainly as a receiver. He was awarded the school’s Spartan Award for dedication, teamwork and sacrifice, as he played nearly every position on the field. Ross also played two years of basketball and this spring will earn his fourth track letter. He has run the 100-meter dash in 10.5. Ross only visited Nebraska after attending the Big Red Football School. He was also recruited by Colorado, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Miami, Washington, Tennessee and Texas to name a few. He said he chose Nebraska because: “When I was out there for camp, it felt like home. I was very comfortable there. I liked the atmosphere and the fan support.” The son of Roger Rose and Gale Frazier, Cory was born on Sept. 22, 1982 in Denver. His older brother Roger will be a senior wide receiver at Kansas this fall.

Solich comments: “Cory has great mobility, great instinctiveness and is recognized as one of the top players in the Midwest. Cory did come to our camp, so we got a chance to see him first hand and visit with him. He ended up committing shortly after coming to our camp. We have a number of players that commit early and then they have to hang on because there’s a barrage of telephone calls from schools that will continue to call in trying to persuade a player to forgo that commitment and go to their school. Cory has been one of those guys that had to take phone calls up until the final minute.”

Barrett Ruud
LB...6-2...220...Lincoln, Neb. (Southeast)
The son of former Husker Tom Ruud, Barrett was the first Husker to orally commit to the Huskers. Ruud played I-back and linebacker for the state championship Lincoln Southeast Knights, and as a four-year letterman helped lead Chuck Mizerski’s teams to a 48-2 record, playing in the state playoffs every year and winning in 1997, 1998 and 2000. Ruud is a two-time All-Nebraska/Super-State honoree by both the Omaha World-Herald and the Lincoln Journal Star, respectively. Ruud earned All-America honors as a linebacker from PrepStar and Student Sports. The World-Herald named him honorary captain of the offense while the LJS named him as the offensive player of the year. He was listed as the 34th-best recruit in the midlands by SuperPrep and the No. 3 linebacker in the midlands by PrepStar. Ruud rushed for 1,400 yards as a senior with 25 touchdowns. He had 85 tackles, including three sacks and two interceptions. He was the USA Today Nebraska Player of the Year. Ruud is also a standout on the basketball court, starting at forward two years for the No. 1 Knights. He currently averages nine points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals per game. Last season he earned honorable-mention all-state honors on the hardwood. An excellent student, Ruud has made the honor roll every semester, earned academic all-state honors and is a member of the National Honor Society. No stranger to Nebraska football, Ruud follows his father, Tom (1972-73-74), two uncles (Bob Martin, 1973-74-75; and John Ruud, 1978-79) and his grandfather Clarence Swanson (1918-19-20-21) to the Husker gridiron. Ruud attended the Big Red Football School the last two summers. He only officially visited Nebraska and took an unofficial visit to Notre Dame. Ruud was also recruited by Notre Dame, Michigan and Tennessee. He said: “I picked Nebraska because it is the best situation for me both academically and for football. Growing up here, I’ve been a fan for as long as I can remember.” The son of Tom and Jaime Ruud, Barrett was born on May 20, 1983. He has a sister Kim and a brother Bo.

Solich comments: “Barrett Ruud will start out as a middle linebacker for us. Barrett was excellent on both sides of the ball. We feel that he certainly will have a great career here.”

Marques Simmons
RB...5-10...190...Davenport, Iowa (North)
Committing on signing day, Marques Simmons (pronounced MAR-cus) is one of two running backs in this year’s class and one of two recruits from Iowa. Playing for North High School in Davenport, Simmons totaled 1,335 yards with 10 TDs as a junior. As a senior he ran for 1,788 yards, breaking Iowa star Tavian Banks’ state rushing records, and scored 15 TDs on an 0-9 team. In his career, Simmons rushed for 4,238 yards. Also a star in track, Simmons has run a 10.34 in the 100 meters and a 21.44 in the 200 meters. He won the state gold medal in the 100 meters as a sophomore, but missed his junior meet with a pulled hamstring. He has won the 100 meters at the Drake Relays the last two years and plans to also run track at Nebraska. He set the Drake Relays 100 meters record with a 10.63 electronic time last year, bettering a 12-year old record. Playing for Coach Mark Bloom, Simmons earned first-team all-state honors and was named to the Des Moines Register Elite Team. He was ranked as the No. 8 running back in the midwest by PrepStar, the 40th running back overall by SuperPrep and the 26th-best recruit in the midlands by SuperPrep. Simmons was also recruited by Iowa, Iowa State and Wisconsin. The son of Clancy and Diane Simmons, Marques was born on Aug. 1, 1982. His father, Clancy, is the principal at Davenport Central, while his mother, Diane, is the coordinator of student teachers at the University of Northern Iowa. Clancy was one of the top track athletes in Iowa history, competing in the sprints and jumps. He was a member of the U.S. Olympic team and posted a 53-foot best in the triple jump. He also played professional baseball in the minor leagues.

Solich comments: “Marques Simmons has tremendous speed. He has run a 10.3 in the 100 meters. But beyond just great track speed, he has the ability to make people miss. He’s also a guy that you could throw back there on punt returns and kick off returns. We’re excited about both Cory (Ross) and Marcus in terms of what they can offer our program.”

Le Kevin Smith
DL...6-3...295...Macon, Ga. (Stratford Academy)
One of two Huskers to formally commit on signing day, Le Kevin Smith (pronounced Leh-KEE-vin) is one of the top defensive linemen in the country. An All-American as named by PrepStar and Rivals.com, Smith is listed as the No. 5 defensive lineman in the Southeast by PrepStar. Playing defensive tackle and some offensive tackle in short yardage and goal line situations, Smith helped Coach Rodney Collins and Stratford Academy win the last two Class 3A state championships. As a senior, Smith had 87 tackles (45 solo), 20 tackles for loss, two fumbles caused, four fumble recoveries (one for a touchdown), one pass breakup, an interception, 13 quarterback hurries and a blocked punt that he returned 48 yards for a touchdown. Both of his touchdowns came in the first game of the season vs. Tattnell Square. He was a first-team all-state defensive lineman by the coaches and the Macon Telegraph’s all-city player of the year. He was the Macon Touchdown Club Lineman of the Year and Georgia Player of the Year and was named the USA Today Georgia Player of the Year. He will earn his fourth letter in track this season and is a three-time state discus champion. He is also the defending champion in the shot put, as Stratford Academy won the last two state track titles. His best discus throw is 171-0. Smith picked Nebraska after also visiting the Auburn and Florida State campuses. He was also recruited by Georgia, Georgia Tech, Colorado and Arkansas. He said: “I really liked the people I met on my visit. Not only the players and the coaches, but also the weight room staff and academic support staff, and I liked the campus.” The son of Kimberly Smith. Le Kevin was born on July 21, 1982 in Macon. He has two younger brothers.

Solich comments: “We think, without question, that he is a great defensive lineman. That greatness has shown on high school film. He has excellent speed, excellent strength and the guy is instinctive. We don’t feel that there’s any question that Le Kevin can have a great career here at Nebraska. We believe he will play and play early. I think we had a lot to offer Le Kevin in terms of academics. He was down to visit here with his high school coach. They both went through the entire weekend looking strongly at academics as well as football. I think when Le Kevin walked away from here that he felt this school had maybe the best combination of those two things. From that point on, I think Le Kevin was very strong on his thinking about Nebraska. It still remained to be seen as far as what Le Kevin was going to do. But as we continued to talk to Le Kevin, it became clear that he thought an awful lot of this program and the people that are involved with this program.”

Mike Stuntz
QB...6-2...185...Council Bluffs, Iowa (St. Albert)
One of three native Iowa recruits and one of two quarterbacks in the class, Mike Stuntz has led St. Albert High School in Council Bluffs to a 30-4 record the past three years. Playing quarterback, defensive back and returning kicks for Coach Jim Duggan, Stuntz was an All-America athlete by PrepStar and an All-America quarterback by SuperPrep. Rivals.com lists him as its No. 32 quarterback this year. The left-hander threw for 425 yards as a senior and tallied 1,065 rushing and 419 yards in returns for 1,909 total offense yards. He also had 50 tackles and four interceptions. He had 18 rushing TDs and six via pass with just three interceptions thrown. In his three-year career, Stuntz totaled 1,713 rushing, 990 passing and 1,040 return yards for 3,743 total. He has been St. Albert’s starting quarterback the last two years. As a sophomore, Mike was a receiver, while his older brother Tony was the quarterback. Stuntz earned first-team all-state honors as a defensive back and the Omaha World-Herald named him to the All-Western Iowa team and the All-Omaha area team. He was named the city player of the year by the Daily Nonpareil. SuperPrep has Stuntz listed as the ninth-best player in the midlands and the No. 13 quarterback overall, while PrepStar lists Stuntz as the No. 1 athlete in the midwest. Stuntz also lettered the past three years in basketball and has been St. Albert’s starter at the two-guard position for two years. He played soccer as a freshman, sophomore and junior, but did not compete this season. Stuntz attended the Big Red Football School last summer and committed to the Huskers a couple of weeks after camp. He unofficially visited Texas A&M, Stanford and Iowa. He said he picked Nebraska because of the “coaches, the fans and the winning tradition.” An excellent student, Stuntz has a 3.96 grade-point average and was named to the all-district academic team. The son of Wendell and Lyn Stuntz, Mike was born on Nov. 23, 1982 in Iowa City. He has two older brothers, Ryan and Tony, who are both students at the University of Iowa, the alma mater of both his parents. Stuntz rejoins former teammate and friend Blanchard Johnson III, who is a sophomore Will linebacker at Nebraska.

Solich comments: “Mike Stuntz has really only played quarterback the last two years at St. Albert. Prior to that, he was a receiver. We think he is an excellent running/throwing quarterback. He also returns punts, as did Mike McLaughlin. Both those guys are really multi-dimensional guys. Mike Stuntz has been recruited as a defensive back by many schools, of course, with our style of offense, we recruited Mike as a quarterback.”

 
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