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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Feb. 3, 2000)
- SPORTS OPINION -
own chooses ISU
It was a choice that defied con
ventional thinking and caused more
than a few Nebraska football fans to
gasp in horror.
- But no matter what anyone says of
Omaha Central High School’s
JaMaine Billups’ decision to sign a
national letter of intent to play foot
ball for Iowa State, he has to be given
It took guts.
Nebraska’s Mr. Football 1999
picked Iowa State over Nebraska and
three other schools because of what
his heart told him. In his heart, he
wanted to be a running back and not a
defensive back, the position he was
initially recruited to play at Nebraska.
While he was choosing to accept
the scholarship offer from the
Cyclones, the Central running back
recruit turned down scholarships
from Nebraska, Michigan, Iowa and
Don’t fault the Cornhusker
coaching staff for recruiting him as a
defensive back and letting perhaps
the top Nebraska high school football
player in 1999 get away - to a Big 12
Conference school no less.
The 6-foot, 190-pounder was
named the defensive captain of the
honorary All-State team for record
ing 83 tackles last fall. And he was
rated as the 19th best player at the
position in the country by recruiting
analyst Tom Lemming.
But don’t blame Billup, either.
When he rushed for more than 1,600
yards and 23 touchdowns as a senior,
he should be able to pick the school
and the position that best fits him.
Regardless of what others may think.
Still, even the most objective
observers might see his decision to go
to Iowa State as a questionable deci
sion. Last season, ISU went 4-7. The
team hasn’t been to a bowl game
since the 1978 Hall of Fame Bowl,
which was four years before Billups
The Cyclone football team hasn’t
had a winning season since 1989,
when it finished 6-5 under former
coach Jim Walden.
Conversely, NU finished last sea
son as No. 3 with a 12-1 record. It has
won three national titles this decade
and hasn’t won fewer than six games
in a season since 1961.
Billups said his selection was
based on more than past successes.
“It’s not all about the rankings,”
Billups said. “It’s how I felt about the
school and how I get the opportunity
to play the position I want to play.”
The decision was solely Billups’..
He consulted his mother and stepfa
ther, Gloria and Lonnie Chamberlain,
and Central High School Football
Coach Joe McMenanin, but the final
call was ultimately his.
“That was a decision he made on
his own,” Gloria Chamberlain said.
“We didn’t have anything to do with
that. We told him wherever he goes
that we’re behind him 100 percent.”
He considered playing defense in
college his sophomore and junior
years of high school. But after getting
off to a good start rushing the ball the
first four games of 1999, he told all of
the schools that were recruiting him
that he was only interested in those
that envisioned him as a running
Nebraska and Michigan reversed
gears and began recruiting him as an
offensive player, but he didn’t think
either school seriously wanted him at
After taking a visit to Iowa State,
which always had recruited him as a
running back, Billups’ mind was
made up - he would be a Cyclone.
And ISU Coach Dan McCamey had
one of the best recruits ever to com
mit to play football for Iowa State.
“When you can get young men
like JaMaine Billups and Tyson
Smith, to say no to Nebraska and
Michigan and everybody else in the
county and come to Iowa State, it
opens a lot of eyes,” McCamey said.
“That hasn’t been done at this uni
versity in a long time. That got some
attention, got some kids on our cam
pus that may not have come,” he said.
Just by signing, Billups is Iowa
State’s savior. But only time will tell
if he will be a Cyclone hero or just
another player who couldn’t have
played at Nebraska anyway. But if he
runs for four years at ISU with the
same guts he showed by signing with
them, Nebraska fans might gasp in
horror like they did in 1992.
Brandon Schulte is a sopho
more news-editorial major and a
Daily Nebraskan staff writer.
NU’s 2000class highly touted but loses two key recruits
RECRUITS from pagfe 19 '•
185 pounds, should play inside at
safety. The other two recruits, Terrell
Butler and Lornell McPherson, are
expected to move into comerback.
Another position typically
stocked by Nebraska is rush end. The
Huskers signed two players who
probably won’t get on the field any
time soon. Still, Solich liked his two
recruits, Utah’s Manaia Brown and
California’s Bernard Thomas.
NU also signed a high number of
wide receivers and wingbacks—four
in all. One is from Nebraska -
Beatrice prepster Ben Zajicek, whom
Solich praised for his athleticism.
Two larger pass catchers Ross
Pilkington (6-1, 190) and DeWayne
Long (6-0, 200) should fit into the
Just recently, Alvin Marshall
committed to NU. A 5-11,180-pound
wingback who goes by the name of
“Randy,” Marshall was the only
Husker recruit who gave an oral com
mitment in the final days of the
NU got one player each at tight
end, place kicker, fullback and I-back.
Chris Septak, generally considered
one of the top tight ends in the nation,
signed with Nebraska last summer
and joined an already loaded crop of
talent at the position.
Sandro DeAngelis is the kicker,
though Solich said t^ie recruit didn’t
see himself as only a kicker. He may
play some wingback, Solich said, or
current kicker Josh Brown might play
another position along with kicking
At fullback, Steve Kriewald
became just the fourth player from a
Nebraska eight-man football to be
signed to a scholarship. Kriewald at
5-11 and 250 pounds, is an unknown,
Solich said. For now.
“If he was surrounded by 10 play
ers instead of seven, he probably
would have been recruited all over the
nation,” Solich said.
At I-back, NU has Thunder
Collins, who wanted to enroll this
semester, but was ruled academically
ineligible by the NCAA. So he’ll stay
in Lincoln to finish nine hours of
class at Southeast Community
College, which should make him eli
gible for next fall, Solich said.
Solich joked that Collins had the
talent “to re-design the offense.”
While meant in jest, Collins could
have made a run at the starting job
this spring, whereas he’ll have a hard
er time of it coming in cold next fall.
NU failed to sign players at only
two positions - defensive line, where
NU has a solid $bre of players return
ing - and, of course, quarterback.
Crouch’s backups include Jammal
Lord, a redshirt freshman who hasn’t
played a down of college football, and
Joe Chrisman, a walk-on who will
likely be at No. 3.
There is, of course, still Bobby
Newcombe, who could be (and likely
would be) used in the long term if
Crouch got injured early in the sea
son. But Solich said he still had to talk
to Newcombe about the situation.
What has driven potential
prospects off after NU signed so
many touted recruits - including
Tommie Frazier, Frankie London,
Crouch and Newcombe? Likely,
Solich said, it’s those last two players
on the list.
“Those two are known all around
the nation,” Solich said. “Certainly,
some people told (Holiday) he could
go to Notre Dame and start right
Which Solich couldn’t do. And it
may not matter that much, Solich
said, if Crouch stays healthy and Lord
progresses as planned. Already,
Solich said, Lord can run the option
well. He still needs to work on his
Overall, Solich didn’t want to give
a grade to the class, because the true
value of it won’t be determined for a
few seasons. But he said he liked the
talent and character of the class, and
unlike Holiday and Mayes, they were
committed to Nebraska all the way.
“There isn’t one that did not show
that he wanted to be a part of
Nebraska football,” Solicb said.
“That makes a great deaf of differ
ence in terms of what these guys
bring and how hard they work when
they get here.”
NOTICE TO STUDENTS
All students are eligible to apply for a refund
of the "A" portion of their student fees beginning
January 10 and ending February 4,2000. Students
claiming a refund will lose benefits provided by
Fund "A" users during the spring semester, 1999-2000.
(See box at right)
Application forms are available at the ?
Student Organization Financial Services office,
Room 222, Nebraska Union; and die ASUN office,
115 Nebraska Union. Applicants should return the form
in person to 222 Nebraska Union or 300 Nebraska
East Union. Students must bring their
UNL student ID cards when returning the application.
Students who are unable to return their application in
person to the Student Organization Financial Services
office should contact Dan Paea, 222 Nebraska Union,
472-2154, on or before February 4,2000, to make
Students who complete a refund application
ami return it on or before February 4,2000,
will be mailed a check for die amount of the
refund claimed. Refund checks will be mailed
between the dates of February 7-11,2000.
Students claiming a refund will lose certain
benefits provided by die above Fund "A" users.
For details on which benefits may be lost, please
refer to the cover sheet on the refund application.
Career Services Snapshot
IUNL Career Services — 230 NE Union — 316 East Campus Union
Experts say late losses
hurt Nebraska crop
By Matthew Hansen
Staff writer :
As 21 Nebraska recruits signed let
ters of intent, and as two much-publi
cized prepsters spumed NU, recruiting
experts weighed in with what they
thought of the 2000 Husker football
The consensus opinion was clear
Nebraska had definitely been damaged
by the loss of quarterback Carlyle
Holiday to Notre Dame and the defec
tion of previously committed safety
Adrian Mayes to LSU.
But despite the two losses, the
Huskers still had a very good recruiting
class. Jeremy Crabtree, the Big 12 rep
resentative for Rivals 100 recruiting ser
vice, picked NU second behind Texas in
the conference, followed by Oklahoma
He said that the loss of Mayes,
ranked in the top 100 recruits by most
publications, was die deciding factor in
“Adrian Mayes is an impact player,
and he was probably the difference
between the Huskers being first or sec
ond in the Big 12,” Crabtree said.
“Texas has a great recruiting class, but
Nebraska still does, too. It was a real
thin line between die schools.”
Nationally, Crabtree said NU would
end up near the No. 10 spot in most
recruiting rankings. He said players
such as Jason Richenberger and a cou
ple of sleepers had to make Coach
Frank Solich happy.
“Jason Richenberger is an absolute
stud,” Ire said. “The guy can really play
the linebacker position, and I think
Nebraska fans are really going to love
Texas has a
does, too. It was a
real thin link
Rivals 100 recruiting service
“Then there are guys like DeWayne
Long, a split end who has been over
looked but is real good,” Crabtree said.
“Past Nebraska recruiting classes have
been full of guys like this who didn’t get
a lot of press but make the program
what it is.”
There were Husker recruits besides
Richenberger who received national
recognition, although the linebacker
from Liberty, Mo., got most of the acco
Richenberger was selected as the
43rd-best recruit in the country by
SuperPrep magazine and 62nd by The
Http://www.Rivalsl OOrivals. com
chose him as one of the top 100 high
Other decorated Huskers included
Please see EXPERTS on 17
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