LINCOLN, Nebraska — Nebraska's recruiting efforts apparently weren't set back by the coaching transition from Bo Pelini to Mike Riley.
Riley was able to retain most of the players who verbally committed to Pelini's staff, and he ended up unveiling a class of 20 on Wednesday.
"I was impressed with the work that Bo's staff did with these kids and really impressed by the film we saw and the people we met in that next part of the process," Riley said. "All we had to do was introduce ourselves to the mix and see if we were the right fit for the kids. The kids committed to Nebraska, and that says a lot for this place."
Two of the biggest names in the class are cornerbacks recruited out of Colorado by Pelini's staff. Rivals.com lists Eric Lee of Highlands Ranch as the top overall prospect in Colorado and the 12th-ranked cornerback in the nation. Rivals has Avery Anderson of Colorado Springs ranked No. 25 at cornerback.
Other notable signees were twin defensive tackles Carlos and Khalil Davis of Blue Springs, Missouri, and offensive lineman Jalin Barnett of Lawton, Oklahoma.
Rivals.com national recruiting director Mike Farrell said Riley's ability to evaluate and develop players makes him a perfect fit for Nebraska. Riley brought in players from 13 states in his first Nebraska class, and Farrell said he expects Riley to take advantage of strong connections in Texas and California.
"He's better at talent evaluation and finding guys who fit in the system than worrying about star rankings," Farrell said, "and that's what you need at Nebraska. You're not going to go into places and steal four- and five-star kids. You're going to have to find the majority of your class in the three-star range and coach those guys up to be four-star players."
Riley compared his situation at Nebraska to that at his previous job, Oregon State.
"What I always said at Oregon State was that we didn't get a lot of five stars," he said, "but a lot of them came out of our place at the end."
Nebraska made a big move to fill the depleted linebacker corps, signing four players at that position. Riley didn't get a commitment from that last linebacker, Adrienne Talan of Davie, Florida, until Wednesday morning.
"A little drama today. It wouldn't be signing day without a little bit of that," he said.
Top 25 Class: No.
Best in class: Eric Lee, CB, Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Best of the rest: Jalin Barnett, OL, Lawton, Oklahoma; Avery Anderson, CB, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Late addition: Adrienne Talan, LB, Davie, Florida (was considering Pittsburgh and Temple).
One that got away: Kendall Bussey, RB, New Orleans (signed with Texas A&M).
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