March 4, 2015

Charlton Warren leaving Nebraska football coaching staff

nebraska_cornhuskers-helmet-logoStatement from University of Nebraska Head Football Coach Mike Riley:

“Charlton Warren has informed me of his plans to take a similar coaching position at another university. This is an opportunity that Charlton feels is right for him and his family, and I respect his decision. We appreciate the valuable role Charlton has played in our transition to the University of Nebraska and wish him and his family nothing but the best. Charlton is an outstanding man and a bright, energetic football coach with a great future ahead of him in this profession.

“We will search for a talented teacher, coach and recruiter to fill the open position on our defensive staff. This is a high priority, but we will take the necessary time to find the individual who is the right fit to help lead the young men in the University of Nebraska football program.”

Riley wraps up first recruiting class with big gains on the defense

Mike Riley is pretty happy with his first recruiting class at Nebraska

Mike Riley is pretty happy with his first recruiting class at Nebraska

Nebraska Head Coach Mike Riley introduced his first Husker recruiting class on Wednesday. The 2015 signing class includes 20 scholarship players that come from 13 states.Riley was hired at Nebraska on Dec. 4 and he and his staff quickly put together a class that includes 12 on the defensive side.

Riley had to get after three defensive backs ready to enroll early in Avery Anderson and Eric Lee from Colorado and Aaron Williams from Georgia.  That was his first priority. He also stopped over in Blue Springs, Missouri and made sure Carlos and Khalil Davis (6’3, 280/270 respectively) were on board.

Riley said selling the University of Nebraska to recruits was a rewarding experience for him and his staff.  In a release from the NU Athletics Department, Riley said:

”I think kids also, and especially parents who have input, look at the big picture of going to college and what does this university have to offer. This is where Nebraska is off the charts. The resources for young men here, academic support, life skills, nutrition, just go down the line in all of those things and it is at a high, high level. So they’re joining a place that really knows what it is talking about when it is talking about student athletes and what you can accomplish here. That part of it, that is pretty easy.”

2015 Scholarship Recruits

Lavan Alston WR 5/11 173 CA
Avery Anderson S 6/1 172 CO
Jalin Barnett OL 6/4 315 OK
Mohamed Barry LB 6/1 210 GA
Alex Davis DE 6/5 220 FL
Carlos Davis DT 6/3 280 MO
Khalil Davis DT 6/3 270 MO
Michael Decker OL 6/4 280 NE
Tyrin Ferguson LB 6/2 205 LA
Christian Gaylord OL 6/6 270 KS
Eric Lee CB 5/10 175 CO
Stanley Morgan WR 6/1 185 LA
DaiShon Neal DE 6/7 240 NE
Jordan Ober LS 6/0 190 NV
Devine Ozigbo RB 5/11 225 TX
Antonio Reed LB 6/2 210 MS
Matt Snyder TE 6/5 245 CA
Adrienne Talan LB 6/1 205 FL
Aaron Williams DB 5/11 185 GA
Dedrick Young ATH 6/1 215 AZ

8 walk-ons 
Fyn Anderson DL 6-3 260 NE
Jared Brugmann LB 6/2 225 NE
Brody Cleveland LB 6/2 220 NE
Austin Hemphill FB 6/0 220 NE
Reid Karel QB 6/3 190 NE
Wyatt Mazour RB 5/9 190 NE
Jacob Weinmaster LB 6/0 200 CO
Conor Young ATH 6/1 170 NE

Husker signing day off to a bang (updated 9 a.m)

nebraska_cornhuskers-helmet-logo2015 Signing Day is here and names continue to roll in from student-athletes committed to the Nebraska football program under first year head coach Mike Riley.  Here are the bios of those who have signed letters from Huskers.com

1. Avery Anderson is one of four defensive standouts who joined the Nebraska program in January. Anderson was regarded as one of the top prospects from Colorado and among the nation’s top defensive back recruits. Anderson helped Pine Creek High School in Colorado Springs to consecutive Class 4A state championships.

Pine Creek posted a perfect 14-0 record in 2014 as Anderson starred in all three areas of the game. As a defensive back, he recorded three interceptions, while making 52 tackles, including six tackles for loss. Anderson also contributed on offense, rushing for 226 yards and a touchdown, while catching 16 passes for 318 yards and one touchdown. He also handled kickoff return duties for Coach Todd Miller.

Anderson was an All-Colorado choice by the Denver Post for his play in 2014, and he was a first-team Class 4A choice by the Colorado High School Activities Association.

In helping the Eagles to the 2013 Class 4A state title as a junior, Anderson was named a first-team all-state free safety by the CHSAA. He also earned all-league and all-region recognition after totaling 53 tackles, one interception and three breakups while leading Pine Creek to its first state championship and a 12-2 record. Offensively, Anderson had 53 carries for 386 yards and eight touchdowns.

Anderson was a consensus four-star prospect, and he was rated as the No. 2 player in Colorado, behind fellow early enrollee Eric Lee Jr. Anderson was a member of the Rivals250, coming in at No. 224 on the list of the nation’s top prospects. Additionally, the service ranked Anderson as the nation’s No. 24 cornerback, while Scout.com listed him among the top 35 safeties in the country and 247Sports ranked him among the top 40 athletes nationally. In May, Anderson earned defensive back MVP honors at the Rivals Camp Series in Chicago.

Anderson committed to Nebraska in February of 2014, after considering offers from Arizona State, Kansas State and Utah, among others. Anderson is the son of Killian and Angela Anderson, and he was born on Sept. 11, 1996.

2. Oklahoma product Jalin Barnett is regarded as one of the nation’s top offensive guard prospects after a standout career at Lawton High School. Barnett is Nebraska’s first signee from the state of Oklahoma since Phillip Dillard and Craig Roark in 2005. Barnett played at the same high school that produced former Husker greats Mike Minter and Will Shields.

[Read more…]

Two former Huskers named to Pro Football Hall of Fame

Will Shields (photo/KCChiefs.com)

Will Shields (photo/KCChiefs.com)

A pair of former Nebraska offensive line greats were among eight individuals selected to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as part of the 2015 class of inductees.  Mick Tingelhoff was a standout center for the Minnesota Vikings following his Nebraska career, while Will Shields followed his Husker career by becoming a perennial All-Pro for the Kansas City Chiefs.

The announcement of the Hall’s 2015 class came on Saturday evening in Arizona as part of the NFL’s Super Bowl weekend. Tingelhoff was chosen for induction by the Hall’s senior committee, while Shields was elected in his fourth season as a modern-era Hall of Fame finalist.

They are joined in the 2015 class by Tim Brown, Jerome Bettis, Charles Haley, Junior Seau and contributors Bill Polian and Ron Wolf. The class of 2015 will enshrined on Saturday, Aug. 8 in Canton, Ohio.

Tingelhoff and Shields will become the fourth and fifth Nebraska players to be elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The duo joins Guy Chamberlin, Roy “Link” Lyman and Bob Brown as Nebraska players to be a part of the Hall of Fame. Brown was the most recent Husker inductee, being enshrined in the Hall in 2004.

Petteway, Shields power Huskers to 79-77 win over Spartans

On an afternoon honoring Nebraska assistant coach Chris Harriman’s son Avery and other children who’ve battled cancer, it took a strong performance from Terran Petteway and Shavon Shields to will the Huskers to victory.

“Our fans are so great and certainly tonight with the cause and the Harriman family, especially Avery,” Nebraska head coach Tim Miles said. “The strength and resolve they’ve shown and the lessons they’ve shown our players, it was such a neat night.”

Avery Harriman was quite happy with the outcome of the game and excited to see so many in attendance throughout the arena wearing the ‘Avery Strong’ t-shirts.

The student sections sporting gold "Avery Strong" t shirts for Avery Harriman, son of Nebraska assistant coach Chris Harriman before tip off against Michigan State on Saturday

The student sections sporting gold “Avery Strong” t shirts for Avery Harriman, son of Nebraska assistant coach Chris Harriman before tip off against Michigan State on Saturday

“It was great. I saw many ‘Avery’ shirts, I was so impressed by it. I couldn’t believe everyone wore my shirts, but I was so proud,” Avery said. “Thanks for everyone wearing my shirts.”

Coach Chris Harriman was certainly emotional seeing so much support for not only Avery, but other children who’ve needed bone marrow surgeries. Harriman was especially touched when the student section started the ‘Avery strong’ chant.

“It was just tremendous, just so many people supporting my son and the other children that were there, it was truly a night that I’ll never, ever forget,” Harriman said.

“I feel like as a coach and a player, I’ve been in a lot of big games and big wins. But this one was really special.”

Petteway finished with 32 points while Shields added 21 as Nebraska knocked off Michigan State 79-77 on Saturday afternoon. Despite being out-rebounded 48-26 by the Spartans, the Huskers made it count at the free throw line where they hit just enough down the stretch to pull out the victory. For the game, Nebraska was 29-of-37 at the line, while Michigan State struggled at 15-for-25.

Terran Petteway passes to Shavon Shields (31) during Nebraska's 79-77 win over Michigan State on Saturday. Petteway and Shields led the Huskers with 32 and 21 points, respectively PHOTO COURTESY: HUSKERS.COM

Terran Petteway passes to Shavon Shields (31) during Nebraska’s 79-77 win over Michigan State on Saturday. Petteway and Shields led the Huskers with 32 and 21 points, respectively
PHOTO COURTESY: HUSKERS.COM

The Huskers had to play most of the contest without forward Walter Pitchford, who was ejected for a flagrant two level foul with 16:20 left in the first half. Pitchford threw a right elbow at the head of Spartans’ forward Matt Costello and was tossed after officials reviewed the play.

“I thought Walt deserved to get kicked out,” Miles said of the technical on Pitchford. “I know he’s sorry for that mistake, but you don’t do that. That’s uncalled for. Walt will learn from that.”

Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo thought the Pitchford technical helped put an extra spring in Nebraska’s step, which translated into a big Husker run in the first half.

“I just thought in a little way it energized them and the calls went different after that, I think they normally do,” Izzo said. “We had a gamplan going in with him, nothing major, we just didn’t respond I think.”

Forward David Rivers also missed the entire game after suffering a left knee injury in practice earlier in the week, which forced Leslee Smith into the starting lineup. Smith responded with seven points and seven rebounds in 30 minutes of game action, by far the most minutes he’s seen since returning from a torn ACL injury that saw him miss all of the non-conference portion of Nebraska’s season.

Miles was impressed with the contributions from his bench, including from Tai Webster.

“What I see is Tai playing his butt off. I thought he used to play with a little bit of cool to him, and you can’t be cool and play,” Miles said.

“He’s playing his butt off and that’s what matters.”

Nebraska (12-7, 4-3) held a 39-25 lead at halftime thanks to the play of Petteway and Shields. Petteway hit back-to-back three pointers during a 15-2 run that put the Huskers ahead 35-20 with 3:24 left in the opening half and carried the 14 point lead into the break. Petteway’s eight-footer from the baseline with six seconds left in the half gave him 15 points for the half, as Shields wasn’t far behind with 13 points and four rebounds. Webster saw 13 minutes of game action and added five points in the first half as the Huskers built their lead.

Nebraska football coach Mike Riley (wearing black) and athletic director Shawn Eichorst (right) celebrate the first Nebraska basket of the game during the Huskers' 79-77 win over Michigan State PHOTO COURTESY: HUSKERS.COM

Nebraska football coach Mike Riley (wearing black) and athletic director Shawn Eichorst (right) celebrate the first Nebraska basket of the game during the Huskers’ 79-77 win over Michigan State
PHOTO COURTESY: HUSKERS.COM

Michigan State (13-7, 4-3) would eventually trim the Nebraska lead to six after the Huskers had opened up a 45-28 lead early in the second half. Travis Trice’s three-pointer made it a 47-41 ball game with 11:55 remaining, but Nebraska responded with an 11-2 run, with Petteway’s three-pointer extending the Husker lead to 58-43 with 7:17 to play. The Spartans would hang around and closed the gap to 79-77 with 2.2 seconds remaining, but Shields threw a long in bounds pass into the front court for Benny Parker, who tipped the ball before Trice controlled it. However time ticked away and Michigan State could not get a shot off before time expired.

Izzo lamented his team’s shortcomings on Saturday, but praised Nebraska for making big shots and making their free throws when it counted.

“When you have 11 turnovers and you miss 11 free throws, you just aren’t going to win on the road against good teams,” Izzo said of the loss.

“Here is a team (Nebraska) that shoots 62 percent in Big Ten play, you have to give them credit because they made every free throw and shot their best percentage of the year.”

Besides Petteway and Shields, Webster played perhaps his best game of the season, adding 13 points and three rebounds as the Huskers searched for a third scorer after Pitchford’s ejection early in the game.

“It’s tough. It has actually been a really tough experience for me,” Webster said of his decreased role in previous games. “That is definitely something new.”

“I’m having a lot of fun now. I’ve had more fun now than I’ve ever had playing basketball at the moment.”

Avery Harriman (middle) joins Shavon Shields (left) and Terran Petteway (right) in the post-game press conference after Nebraska's 79-77 win over Michigan State

Avery Harriman (middle) joins Shavon Shields (left) and Terran Petteway (right) in the post-game press conference after Nebraska’s 79-77 win over Michigan State

Petteway was impressed with how the bench lifted up the starters and played big minutes, considering they had lost two members of their starting lineup for most of the game.

“The bench play had to be big tonight. We couldn’t have just me, Shavon, or just our starting five scoring or whatever you want to call it,” Petteway said. “They came in and gave us great minutes.”

Trice led the Spartans with 27 points, but needed 24 shot attempts in the process while Denzel Valentine added 21. Branden Dawson nearly outrebounded Nebraska by himself, grabbing 18 rebounds to go along with eight points. Michigan State became just the second team to score more than 70 points against the Huskers this season, the other being Incarnate Word back on December 10.

The Huskers face Michigan in Ann Arbor on Tuesday night, while Michigan State is also on the road Tuesday night at Rutgers.