Steve Wiltfong of IrishSportsDaily.com reports that Bubba Starling has committed to the Nebraska Cornhuskers, a move that likely puts Notre Dame’s recruiting plans at quarterback in a rebuilding mode.
As discussed earlier this week, the dismissal of Notre Dame baseball coach Dave Schrage could have been a factor in Starling’s decision to pick the Cornhuskers over the Irish. Whether that had a factor or not doesn’t matter now, as the Irish now move down their list of quarterback targets.
Once a who’s who of national names, the Irish offer list now lacks a favorite to commit to the Irish, with Justin Worley of South Carolina the most-likely to pledge Irish and already scheduled to attend camp in South Bend at the end of the month.
While the commitment of Starling to Nebraska is no doubt a blow, the lingering worries of a professional baseball career at least put the uncertainty of Starling maybe or maybe not playing college football out of the question. (Also worth mentioning, recruiting is never over until Signing Day.) I was curious to see what Brian Kelly and offensive coordinator Charley Molnar would’ve done with an athlete with raw skills and explosive speed like Starling, who reportedly can run a sub-4.5 forty-yard dash.
Geography could have played a factor in Starling’s commitment to Nebraska (Lincoln is three times closer to his home than South Bend) and it is possible that the stability of Nebraska’s baseball program, with Mike Anderson set for his 8th season while Notre Dame is between coaches could’ve been important to Bubba as well. But a log-jam at quarterback, where Notre Dame has three freshman QBs set for the fall and Dayne Crist has three years of eligibility could have been important. The depth chart at Nebraska seems much more favorable for Bubba, where Zac Lee seems entrenched at quarterback as a senior and Cody Green should back him up, but is far from an heir apparent. More importantly, Nebraska has only received two QB commitments in the past two seasons, leaving a depth chart that is there for the taking for Starling. Playing time is likely an important part of the decision making process for a quarterback that’ll likely be looking at a mid-six figures signing bonus out of high school as a baseball player.
We’ll know some day in the near future whether or not Bubba Starling, the football player, was a recruit worth worrying about. For now, it seems that those concerns will fall solely on the shoulders of Huskers fans. Either way, it’s a great get for Bo Pelini and the Cornhuskers.