Published Sunday, January 26, 2014 at 12:01 am / Updated at 6:50 pm
football
Chicago running back chooses Huskers over offers from Mizzou, Iowa, others

LINCOLN — The weekend hot streak for Nebraska's 2014 recruiting class continued late Sunday when Chicago De La Salle running back Mikale Wilbon committed to the Huskers on Twitter.

“I have officially committed to University of Nebraska! I appreciate the support I got from everyone during this process,” read Wilbon's tweet.

The 5-foot-9, 195-pounder — rated four stars by 247 Sports and Rivals and three stars by Scout and ESPN — took his official visit to Nebraska Jan. 17 after decommitting from Vanderbilt once coach James Franklin left for Penn State.

“He loved Coach Franklin, and when he left for Penn State, that really impacted his decision,” said Mike Boehm, who coached on the De La Salle staff in the fall and took over as head coach after the season. “He's a special player. Nebraska's going to love him. His drive. His leadership. He's one of those special backs. I'm glad he's playing in the Big Ten.”

Wilbon had offers from Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Arkansas and Georgia Tech, among other schools. He gained more than 1,000 yards in each of the last three seasons, but was sidelined late last fall by a minor knee injury, Boehm said. Wilbon was part of the “special mention” list on the Chicago Tribune's all-state team. Another NU pledge, Highland (Ill.) guard Tanner Farmer, was on the first team.

Wilbon's commitment comes on the heels of an official visit by another running back prospect, Dallas Carter High School athlete Corey Avery. Avery left NU this weekend without having committed because he has one more official visit left to Kansas.

With his commitment, Wilbon joined Houston-area running back Larenzo Stewart, who pledged to the Huskers during the summer. Presuming Stewart's pledge sticks, he, Wilbon and potentially Avery join a crowded 2014 backfield that thins considerably after the departure of All-Big Ten running back Ameer Abdullah and junior running back Imani Cross after the 2015 season.

Behind them, sophomore Terrell Newby ran for 298 yards in his first year, while Adam Taylor chose to redshirt, winning scout team offensive player of the year honors in the process. Husker coaches agreed to let Taylor redshirt; he likely would have pushed for playing time had he chosen to forgo it.

Nebraska now has eight offensive skill players — two backs, five wide receivers and quarterback Zack Darlington — enrolled or committed for the 2014 class. The Huskers appear willing to consider a second quarterback prospect, as well, having evaluated several in the last two weeks.

Friday, the Huskers picked up their third offensive line commitment for the class in Las Vegas Bishop Gorman four-star tackle Nick Gates, who picked Nebraska over Texas A&M, Oregon, UCLA and Arizona, among others.

New Orleans Edna Karr wide receiver Glenn Irons picked the Huskers on Saturday over offers from Western Kentucky, South Alabama and Louisiana-Lafayette. Irons, a three-star prospect according to ESPN but otherwise a two-star or unrated prospect, took his official visit with Edna Karr teammate and fellow Husker wide receiver pledge Jariah Tolbert. Irons told Huskers Illustrated he expects to play slot receiver and return kicks. Irons last year was a Louisiana all-state return specialist for Edna Karr, returning nine kickoffs or punts for touchdowns.

“They told me they wanted me in the slot, and in the backfield, and I was going to have the opportunity to return kicks as soon as I come in June,” Irons said.

Nebraska has desired a hybrid running back/wide receiver for several recruiting cycles, and may try Alexandria (Va.) West Potomac wide receiver pledge Demornay Pierson-El in that role, as well. Pierson-El played option quarterback for his team last year. Prior to his transfer to Kentucky, Nebraska attempted to transition Braylon Heard into such a hybrid role. Heard was stuck behind Abdullah on the depth chart.

Contact the writer: Sam McKewon

sam.mckewon@owh.com    |   402-219-3790    |  

Sam McKewon covers Nebraska football for The World-Herald. Got a tip, question or rant? Good. Email him. Follow him on Twitter. Call him.

PHOTO GALLERY AND VIDEO »

 

< >
SPOTLIGHT »
2013 college football preview
View our 2013 college football preview, a 26-page, three-part section filled with coverage of the Huskers, Big Ten conference and more.
Big Red Bowl Retrospective
See complete historical results, game recaps and photo coverage from the Nebraska Cornhuskers college football bowl game appearances, from the 1941 Rose Bowl up to today.
Big Ten football recruits
The World-Herald's Big Ten recruiting database contains every football recruit that signed with a Big Ten school from 2002 to 2011, complete with color-coded interactive map representations, player information, high-concentrations recruiting clusters and more.
Devaney Center timeline
Check out a World-Herald timeline to see the evolution of memorable moments at the Devaney Center, complete with photos, videos, memorable quotes and more.
Follow OWHbigred on Twitter
Looking for the latest Husker sports news from The Omaha World-Herald and Omaha.com? Follow us on Twitter!
Husker scholarship distribution chart
Want to see how many scholarships NU has invested at each position? Wondering how the Huskers have appropriated their offers by class? Check out our handy chart to look further into how Bo Pelini has built his team.
Husker Signing Day 2013
The World-Herald's top-notch coverage of the Nebraska football's class of 2013, complete with videos, photos, articles, live recruit interviews, interactive components and more.
Husker turnovers: A slippery slope
Bo Pelini has coached 68 games at Nebraska. When NUís turnover margin is positive or even, the Huskers are 35-2. When they lose the turnover battle, theyíre 13-18. Why hasnít Nebraska joined the nationís elite? More than anything, itís turnovers.
Interactive: Bo Pelini's contract
View an interactive PDF of Pelini's revised contract signed by the NU football coach, complete with brief summaries of the legalese and insight into the document's finer points.
Interactive: Darin Erstad's contract (2012)
View an interactive PDF of NU baseball coach Darin Erstad's contract released in August 2012, complete with brief summaries of the legalese and insight into the document's finer points.
Interactive: Tim Miles' contract
View an interactive PDF of Tim Miles' contract signed by the Nebraska men's basketball coach on May 4, 2012, complete with brief legal explanations, comparisons to other Big Ten coaches and more.
Omaha.com's Big Ten coverage
Delivering the best news coverage and analysis of the Big Ten Conference, from Omaha.com and other top news outlets from around country.
Husker Recruiting: Changes shrink NU's sphere of influence
For decades, the Great Plains represented fertile recruiting ground for Tom Osborne's football program. Restoring that lost tradition won't be easy.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
The Jaipur in Rockbrook Village
Half Off Fine Indian Cuisine & Drinks! $15 for Dinner, or $7 for Lunch
Buy Now
BRT ON TWITTER »
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT »
< >