COLUMBUS -- Nebraska announced Scott Frost as its head coach on Dec. 2.
Shortly after that, Frost said he was bringing his entire coaching staff from Central Florida with him.
But Travis Fisher, the Huskers’ defensive backs coach, just spent his first Wednesday in Nebraska two days ago. Bowl preparation for the Peach Bowl in Atlanta, Georgia the last week of December was the longest he’s stayed in one place since being hired at Nebraska.
“It’s been nothing but chaos,” Fisher said. “A whole bunch of traveling, sleeping on the plane and not much sleep any other time. Stopping, grabbing a sandwich and trying to down it before you go in a school. It’s rough living, but for a great cause.”
On Thursday, also Fisher’s first Thursday in Nebraska, the coach came up to Columbus, along with offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Troy Walters to talk about the 2018 recruiting class, which was finalized Wednesday.
He had heard a lot about the people of Nebraska and the fans he’s met so far haven’t disappointed him.
“It’s beautiful, man,” Fisher said. “It’s been everything I heard about. I’m looking forward to meeting more people up here and getting it going.”
The two spent nearly two hours talking with fans and answering their questions about the Huskers at Elks Country Club.
One thing's for sure, they’re fired up about the incoming players.
Wide receiver and defensive backs were two of the biggest needs for Nebraska this cycle and Walters and Fisher landed nearly half of Nebraska’s class at those two positions.
For Walters, he knew, as does everybody, about Stanley Morgan, J.D. Spielman and Tyjon Lindsey. But the receiver room was largely unproven after that.
“There were some guys that played and made plays, but we needed to add some depth,” Walters said.
His first phone call when he got to Nebraska was to Morgan, who was mulling the idea of declaring for the NFL draft after a season in which he broke the Huskers' single-season receiving record with 986 yards.
Walters simply shared his vision with the star receiver and Morgan eventually made the decision to return.
“We’re glad he made that decision because he’s going to fit well in this offense and he's going to be able to mentor the young kids,” Walters said. “I expect him to have a huge season.”
Nebraska signed four true wide receivers in the 2018 class along with a trio of hybrid players and one true tight end. Dominick Watt and Andre Hunt are both high school seniors while Mike Williams and Jaron Woodyard are junior college transfers. All four bring a little something different.
Walters described Watt as a Larry Fitzgerald-type receiver with a big body and a good possession receiver. Hunt is a crisp route runner who can take the top off the defense. Woodyard is a true speed receiver, while Williams is a slot receiver.
“This offense is all about guys that have the abilities to make plays in space and take the ball to the house,” Walters said. “We wanted to go out and find those type of guys and I think we did.”
Justin McGriff and Katerian Legrone are hybrid receiver/tight ends. McGriff, at 6-foot-6, 220 pounds, is a monster target for any quarterback and Legrone, who is 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, is faster than most linebackers and too physical for most defensive backs. Cameron Jurgens, from Beatrice, is a true tight end.
The final guy is Miles Jones, a jack-of-all-trades offensive player. Walters said Jones will lineup just about anywhere on offense from running back to outside receiver.
And then there’s the two running backs, Maurice Washington and Greg Bell. Walters characterized both as true three-down backs. They can run, catch passes and block.
“I’m looking forward to those two,” the coach said.
Walters can’t wait to get this group of skill players onto the field in the fall. He expects them to make a big impact in 2018.
“That was the blueprint at UCF,” he said. “We recruit guys that fit our system and give them an opportunity to go out and play. When they come in in the fall, it’s going to be open competition. Their skill sets fit what we’re going to do.”
Fisher also expects his group of five defensive backs to push for early playing time. When he arrived in December, there were only eight defensive backs on Nebraska’s roster.
“It was important to try and get a good class of hungry guys and guys that can play at a young age,” he said. “I shot high for those guys.”
Leading the way are a pair of former Florida commits in C.J. Smith and junior college transfer Deontai Williams.
Fisher coached Smith’s older brother, Tre’quan, at UCF and wanted Smith to come there as well, but knew it was a long shot.
Once he got to Nebraska, he turned up the heat on him. It was a similar story for Williams, Cam’ron Jones and Cam Taylor.
“Cam, Cam and Deontai weren’t going to come to UCF. They were all highly recruited guys,” he said.
Braxton Clark is the fifth defensive back in the class. All five fit what Fisher looks for in a DB.
“Playmakers,” he said. “I want guys that are physical, guys that attack the football, guys that’ll hit you. I like turnovers. Let’s get these turnovers going and get this ball back to the offense.”
Now that the signing class is wrapped up, Fisher and Walters get a short break to recharge the batteries. Of course, that time will mostly be spent finally getting a chance to move and settle in.
But they already can’t wait to get back on the field and see the new guys in scarlet and cream.
“It’s been long, it’s been hard, but it’s worth it,” Walters said. “When those guys made it official, it’s a relief and exciting to know that we’ve got a great class that’s going to be able to come in and do great things.”
The rest of Nebraska's 2018 recruiting class is: offensive linemen Willie Canty and Will Farniok, outside linebackers Caleb Tannor and David Alston, defensive linemen Tate Wildeman and Casey Rogers, inside linebacker Will Honas, quarterback Adrian Martinez and kicker Barret Pickering.