Nebraska Football: Why Bo Pelini Must Recruit Monte Harrison Again

Erin Sorensen@erinsorensenContributor IFebruary 10, 2014

Monte Harrison in action
Monte Harrison in

He's already been recruited once. He's even signed his letter of intent to play for Nebraska.

However, Bo Pelini must recruit wide receiver Monte Harrison again.

This isn't the first time Pelini has been in this situation, either. In 2011, quarterback recruit Bubba Starling signed his letter of intent with the Huskers and made his way to campus a few months later. However, Major League Baseball came calling, and Starling eventually left Nebraska.

It was disappointing. Plenty of Huskers fans had hoped to see Starling in scarlet and cream. A couple of years later, it all feels awfully similar. Fans are once again hoping a recruit stays as committed to Nebraska after the MLB draft as he was on national signing day.

In Harrison's case, Pelini does believe he will play for Nebraska. He was optimistic on national signing day, as reported by Brian Christopherson of the Lincoln Journal Star:

I think he has every intention of coming here and playing football and also baseball. If that changes, who knows? But I know one thing: It would have to be pretty significant to keep him from (playing here). Because I know in his mind he sees himself as a football player, and he likes to play the game and is excited about coming here.

Money does talk. Pelini went on to compare Harrison's situation to Starling's, as noted by Christopherson:

Obviously, Bubba was here, came here, reported here. I don't know what the money was, but I know it was significant, it was life-changing money. Is that going to be the situation Monte is in? I don't know.

When it comes to who would be the bigger "keep" between the two, many believe it would be Harrison. Sam McKewon of the Omaha World Herald thinks so, and he even went as far as to call Harrison as athletic as Randy Gregory.

At 6'2" and 205 pounds, Harrison is impressive. He's received plenty of attention on the football field, basketball court and baseball field. Needless to say, he's well rounded.

That's where Nebraska baseball head coach Darin Erstad comes in. Retaining Harrison won't be entirely on Pelini's shoulders.

As Jon Nyatawa of the Omaha World Herald pointed out, it's going to have to be a joint effort between the two coaches.

This is where Pelini shines, though.

In his years as Nebraska football's head coach, Pelini has worked tirelessly to keep key players. While Starling left, Pelini has been much more successful elsewhere.

In fact, he convinced both Ndamukong Suh and Ameer Abdullah to stay for their senior seasons. In both cases, many assumed Suh and Abdullah would declare for the NFL draft. The confidence that either would stay was low.

And then they stayed.

A lot of this can be credited to Pelini. Much like his recruiting pitch, Pelini has a strong "Are you with me?" style that resonates with players, as the Omaha World Herald's McKewon noted.

That's why so many on Nebraska's current roster stand by Pelini through thick and thin. When they commit to his style, they truly commit to it.

As for Harrison, he may have signed his letter of intent, but he's not yet fully committed. That's where Pelini will have to work hard this spring and summer.

But why is Harrison such a big deal? With plenty of other wide receiver recruits, it doesn't seem like the Huskers need him.

That's far from the case.

Harrison's 4-star ranking, per 247Sports, doesn't pay him enough justice.

He's a dynamic player who would be ready to contribute right away. The problem for Nebraska is that plenty of MLB franchises think that, too.

However, Harrison would add exceptional depth to Nebraska's receiving corps. He's a player who would help make any quarterback look good.

"He's just got that…I don't know…freakish athleticism," Michael Schieber, head coach of Lee's Summit West High School, told the Lincoln Journal Star's Steven M. Sipple. "The things he does, you just don't see."

Even more impressive, Harrison was named offensive MVP at the 2013 Rivals Camp Series skills camp in St. Louis, Mo.

It's clear that Harrison could do big things at Nebraska. Receivers coach Rich Fisher would love the opportunity to work with him and coach him. It's all just a matter of time now.

In the end, money may talk. But Pelini will need to talk louder.