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July 3, 2006
Paul leads them all
Over the years there has been a tremendous amount of talent in Nebraska, but for one reason or another, the Cornhusker State has been overlooked on the national scene as a top producer of talent.
But in the class of 2007, there are several legitimate national prospects that are good enough to play for almost anybody in the nation. With that in mind, Rivals.com is proud to unveil the Nebraska top 10, a ranking of the top 10 prospects in Nebraska from top to bottom.
At the top of the list is everybody's consensus No. 1 in the state, four-star and Rivals100 selection Niles Paul.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound receiver is ranked as the nation's No. 6 pass-catcher and he's already committed to Nebraska.
He's a big, physical receiver with soft hands and the ability to go over the middle and make big plays on crossing routes. He is a natural fit for Bill Callahan's West Coast passing scheme that's employed at Nebraska.
What's even better about Paul is that he's still working hard on crafting his game and trying to improve every day out there.
Earlier this summer, he spent two weeks in Green Bay working out with the Packers and his uncle, NFL all-pro running back Ahman Green.
Since starting his summer workouts with his uncle, Paul has seen his weight increase by nearly 10 pounds and his bench max has gone up by 15 pounds. Paul also timed out at a 4.38 second 40-yard after his uncle worked with him on his starting techniques.
Even though it's been mostly hard work, Paul said he's enjoyed every minute of his summer working out with the pros.
"The players were there every day working out talking trash and having fun," Paul said. "They're just like high school players, except older and with a lot of money."
If things stay on track, Paul will join them someday.
At No. 2 in the state is offensive center Harland Gunn of Omaha Central. The 6-2, 320-pounder is ranked as a 5.7 on the Rivals rating scale and a three-star prospect. Gunn may be the first ever prospect in Nebraska to receive an offer from Miami, as nobody in the past 10 years from the state was recruited by the Hurricanes.
No. 3 is home to future Iowa State quarterback Phillip Bates. The 6-2, 189-pounder is a perfect fit for the Cyclone offense.
He should excel in the offense that allows quarterbacks to make plays on the run and with their arms. He turned down an offer from in-state Nebraska to pick the Cyclones and is also a three-star prospect.
West of Omaha is usually not home to top talent, but Callahan and the Huskers finally found a player they thought was worthy of an offer with Cozad, Neb., strongside defensive end Jared Crick.
The 6-6, 245-pounder is the No. 4 player in the state and a three-star prospect also. He also had offers from Colorado State, Iowa State, Kansas, Wyoming and Ohio before he committed to the Huskers. His amazing strength and rugged play made him an easy pick for this slot.
Noah Keller of Kearney is the No. 5 player in Nebraska. The 6-2, 230-pounder was named the most valuable player at the Eugene NIKE Camp and is the first player from Kearny to get a Division I offer in 30 years.
Offensive center Kyle Dooley of Papillion La Vista, kicker Josh Cherry of McCook, defensive tackle Alex Stover of Gretna, offensive tackle Aaron Schulte of Norfolk Catholic and strongside defensive end Kevin Thomsen of Elkhorn make up the rest of the top 10.
Cherry is the lone player in that group to make a commitment.
The 6-1, 170-pounder is already committed to Kansas State, and he has one of the strongest legs in the county. He's also considered a great all-around athlete, capturing the state crown in the 800-meter dash.
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