NCF On The Trail: reggie davis

LINCOLN, Neb. -- In an homage to their frantic and fruitful first few days on the job at Nebraska, Mike Riley’s coaches in future years may want to leave the comfort of their offices for a week every year at the height of recruiting season and drag their work to a conference room.

There, if linebackers coach Trent Bray and running backs coach Reggie Davis need to discuss a prospect, they can bypass cell phones and electronic messaging, forget even about walking down the hallway.

Sometimes, the most simple method to eliminate chaos is the most effective. And so it went for the Nebraska coaches in the days after Riley’s Dec. 4 hiring.

On the eve of signing day, with Riley set Wednesday to unveil his first recruiting class at Nebraska, the successes of the past 60 days in Lincoln can be traced to those two weeks of December madness.

The coach, four of his assistants and a core group of support staff uprooted their lives at Oregon State and immediately established a home base in that conference room amid the third-floor administrative offices at Memorial Stadium.

“We were all there, engaged with one purpose,” said Dan Van De Riet, Nebraska associate athletic director for football operations who worked with Riley at Oregon State for 14 years. “So it was actually really good.”

Their teamwork and efficiency proved vital in retaining the majority of commitments secured by the former staff and in laying the groundwork for a productive final recruiting stretch.

One floor below the makeshift nerve center in December, Nebraska’s departing assistants prepared the Huskers for the Holiday Bowl. Riley took his partially constructed staff, in their first hours together at Nebraska, straight to meet the outgoing coaches.

“They knew we were there,” Bray said last month. “We knew they were there, so why hide and pretend you’re not there?”

From those opening days, Riley attacked challenges. His first results of substance, on display Wednesday, are a testament to the coach’s skill as an executive and illustrative of the trust he places in hires at various levels of the football program.

Often, the first group of recruits signed by a coach after a postseason change is not indicative of his style or the game plan for future recruiting classes. The new guy gets a pass, more or less; it happened at Nebraska after moves that followed the 2003 and 2007 seasons.

No such luxury exists for Riley as Nebraska looks to improve on seven consecutive nine- or 10-win seasons.

Sure, he’ll get a grace period to learn of the culture and expectations.

How about until the end of spring practice?

The Huskers’ class ranks 32nd nationally and fifth in the Big Ten. Given more time, Riley and his recruiters figure to sign groups with more flash and bang. More important than its ranking, though, this class doesn’t feel rushed -- as so many do when built after a coaching change.

Riley and his coaches found fits. They kept key pieces, headlined by Colorado defensive backs Eric Lee and Avery Anderson, who enrolled in January, twin defensive linemen Carlos and Khalil Davis and defensive end Daishon Neal.

Nebraska added a four-star talent in offensive guard Jalin Barnett and scored a legitimate recruiting win over Michigan in keeping tight end Matt Snyder. They added pledges from the states of California, Florida, Texas, Georgia and Louisiana, which bodes well for next year and beyond.

On social media, the Huskers showed an innovative spirit.

They sought to address a potential weakness within the borders of their own state as not a single coach on Riley’s staff has recruited extensively in Nebraska. A call to Paul Limongi, president of the Omaha Metro Coaches Association, was among the first placed by Van De Riet, the administrator who flew to Nebraska with Riley on his first trip two months ago.

“Reaching out is key,” said Limongi, coach at Omaha’s Burke High School. “It was really refreshing to hear from him. It seems like they’re headed in the right direction.”

Scott Strohmeier, coach at Iowa Western Community College, said he, too, has engaged in preliminary conversation with Nebraska about growing the relationship between his program -- one of the nation’s most successful at the juco level -- and the nearby Huskers.

The new Nebraska staff won’t abandon its diverse recruiting strongholds for local kids. But a key to their success involves finding a balance.

“When you recruit local, the kids are a little more invested,” offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf said. “I do think it’s important to start here and work out from there.”

It seems, so far, Riley and his coaches have done their homework -- aided, perhaps, by a two-week, conference-room session of mind-melding at the start.

ESPN 300 CB names UGA his leader 

July, 8, 2013
ATHENS, Ga. -- The Georgia coaching staff is looking for another cornerback in the Class of 2014 to pair with ESPN 300 athlete commit Malkom Parrish (Quitman, Ga./Brooks County). Its chances improved over the weekend as another ESPN 300 standout Kendall Randolph (Tallahassee, Fla./Lincoln) named the Bulldogs as his leader, followed by Florida State and South Carolina.

Lilly a key factor in UGA class 

February, 7, 2013
ATHENS, Ga. -- Multiple coaches had a hand in Georgia’s landing another top-10 signing class on Wednesday, but John Lilly might have been the standout in the collaborative effort. The Bulldogs’ tight ends coach played a key role in recruiting at least six of the Bulldogs’ 32 signees, including two of their top early enrollees.

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Signing day primer: Georgia 

January, 23, 2013
ATHENS, Ga. -- With national signing day exactly two weeks from today, DawgNation looks ahead to what Georgia has coming and who the Bulldogs still need, and why.

Team needs: Georgia has a number of holes to fill, considering the defense is losing 10 players who started last season. All-American junior Jarvis Jones and two-year leading tackler Alec Ogletree have declared for the NFL draft, which means the incoming prospects will have to be ready to play early.

Also, consider that Georgia only signed one player for the secondary, one wide receiver and not one inside linebacker in the class of 2012. Those positions are a priority. The secondary is in special need of attention as both starting safeties and two starting cornerbacks were seniors this past season. The Bulldogs have decent depth at the outside linebacker spots but the SEC championship game proved Georgia needs help on the defensive line. Junior nose Kwame Geathers has also opted to leave early for the NFL, so Georgia needs to sign some quality prospects to fill in the defensive trench.

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2015 WR Burt already getting major offers 

November, 30, 2012
When Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln head coach Yusuf Shakir shows college coaches the film of Class of 2015 prospect John Burt, he waits to see how long it takes for their jaws to drop.

“It doesn’t take too long,” Shakir joked. “Every coach that’s come through here and seen the film offered him right away. He’s a phenomenal athlete.”

Those offers include ones from Ohio State, Florida State, Ole Miss, South Carolina and a few others. Shakir says he could go down as one of the best prospects in school history. That’s saying a lot, considering Lincoln is the former home of first-round NFL draft choices Kevin Carter and Antonio Cromartie.

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New commit Rumph fills sizable WR need 

November, 21, 2012
The commitment of juco wideout Jonathon Rumph (Cayce, S.C./Holmes Community College) to Georgia is a big addition to the Bulldogs’ receiving corps -- pun intended. Georgia does not have a returning receiver on the team now or committed in the Class of 2013 who resembles the 6-foot-5, 215-pound Rumph. He is a large target -- something this recruiting class was missing.

As it stands, Georgia has commitments from wide receivers Reggie Davis (Tallahassee, Fla./Lincoln), Uriah LeMay (Matthews, N.C./Butler), and Rico Johnson (Swainsboro, Ga./Swainsboro). Athletes Tramel Terry (Goose Creek, S.C./ Goose Creek) and J.J. Green (Kingsland, Ga./Camden County) will play multiple roles on the offense as well, including slot receiver. Aside from LeMay, who stands at 6-2, this group of receivers is not known for size, but rather speed and technique. Rumph will be the wideout who creates the most mismatches with opposing corners. He is not fast like Davis or Terry, but in a red-zone situation he will present a nice option.

Georgia signed only one wide receiver in the Class of 2012, and Blake Tibbs redshirted this season. The coaching staff knew it would have to bring in some playmakers with the next class.

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Juco WR Rumph is UGA commit No. 29

November, 21, 2012
A day after adding a cornerback with the size coveted by secondary coach Scott Lakatos, the Georgia Bulldogs gained a commitment from a wide receiver with the size any college program would love to have. Juco wideout Jonathon Rumph, at 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds, announced his commitment to Georgia tonight at Spires Recreation Center in Cayce, S.C., his childhood stomping grounds.

“I chose Georgia because I love the atmosphere there, the fans, and how the coaching staff is filled with real people,” Rumph said. “They have my best interests at heart for me in regards to my career and my path to becoming a quality young man.”

Rumph chose Georgia over offers from Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Texas Tech, among others. In nine games this season, Rumph caught 44 passes for 575 yards and 3 touchdowns.

With the upcoming graduation of Georgia’s Marlon Brown and Tavarres King, Rumph sees an opportunity to make an impact in Athens.

“The situation at receiver is such that I feel I can come in, work my way up the depth chart, and have a good chance at earning a starting position,” Rumph said. “With my size, the pro-style scheme at Georgia is a perfect fit because it puts me in 1-on-1 matchups where I can be a big help to the offense.”

He also likes the potential for success at Georgia.

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Scouts: Georgia loads up at WR 

June, 4, 2012
It has been a good week for Georgia with offensive weapons and in the case of Reggie Davis (Tallahassee, Fla./Lincoln) it is a great week for the kicking game as Davis is the type of player that can flip field position and create points as return specialist.

While Davis has a ways to go as a pure wide receiver, his speed and decisiveness allow for him to hit the crease with no fear and make plays.

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WR Reggie Davis commits to Georgia 

June, 3, 2012
Last year the Bulldogs signed 19 players for the 2012 class. Now, with eight months to go until signing day for the 2013 class, Georgia has matched that total with the addition of wide receiver Reggie Davis (Tallahassee, Fla./Lincoln).

“Yeah, I just committed to Georgia,” Davis told DawgNation on Sunday night.

“I was talking with the coaches and they asked, ‘Do you like Georgia?’ I said yes, and that I would come in and work for a spot, too,” Davis said about his conversation with UGA wide receivers coach Tony Ball. “He said, ‘I like that you will come in and work for a spot and I don’t mind playing freshmen. I will make plays for you. Also you got your name on the map with special teams, so I will let you get back there on kick return and punt return.’ That was what I wanted to hear, so I committed.”

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New offers for DE Washington, Lincoln Trio 

February, 17, 2012
Defensive end Devin Washington (Orlando, Fla./East River) received an offer from Louisville today. Earlier this week the 6-foot-3, 220-pound junior was offered by South Florida.

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