Husker Recruiting: Bubba Starling


I’m in a unique position to cross-analyze a specific player between two of my current activities, writing for this website along with assisting the Blazer Broadcast Network for Gardner-Edgerton High School Football games.

Well who happens to play for the Trailblazers? None other than Derek “Don’t call me Bubba” Starling. Nah, of course you can call him Bubba!

According to Rivals, Bubba Starling is the #1 player in the state of Kansas, the  #5 rated ”
dual-threat Quarterback” in the nation, and the #110 rated prospect overall of any position. These are extremely high grades, especially for someone coming from the boonies of Kansas.

You may have caught a glimpse of Bubba on national television this past week, as Gardner-Edgerton hosted their rivals, St. Thomas Aquinas, on ESPNU on Friday night. Well, I’ve been getting an up close and personal look at him all season.


It’s hard to evaluate Starling moving on the next level. Simply put, he is bigger and faster than every opposing kid on the field. It’s similar to watching LeBron James (in the pros, not in high school–nothing is like that). However, it’s neither of these skills that impresses me most. The pure ferociousness that he finishes runs with reminds me of Adrian Peterson. He absolutely refuses to go down when on some runs, and has no problems delivering the punishment instead of receiving it like most ball carriers.

With almost 1,500 rushing yards on the season, along with 21 touchdowns, he is able to run the ball whenever and wherever he wants (part of the reason the Blazers are ranked #1 in the state and #2 in the Kansas City area–behind Rockhurst).

He proved that theory correct on Friday, racking up 310 rushing yards (260 in the first half!) and 3 touchdowns under the biggest spotlight of the season thus far. He only needed to throw the ball three times, completing two of them, one for a touchdown. Here are his highlights and interview following the nationally televised game….

Questions arise when you look at his production in the passing game. He’s got a cannon of an arm (which helps him throw 94 mph fastballs), but accuracy and decision making are issues with him. Or it’s possible that Quarterbacks in high school are all like that (I’m really inexperienced in the high school scouting field).

A position change at Nebraska seems entirely possible. I would have said, prior to this past weekend, that he could learn to throw it as well as Taylor Martinez until the display Air-Mart put on against Oklahoma St.

Wide Receiver? Tight End? Running Back? I’m not sure, but it’d be a shame to see a kid with this much talent on the sideline.

Of course, this is all optimistically written in hopes that he turns down the hundreds of thousands of dollars that will be thrown his way following the Major League Baseball Draft, where he’s projected as a 1st-2nd round pitching prospect. Nobody would blame him one iota.

But, us Husker fans can hope he shares our desires to see him play football at one of the most tradition-rich schools in the country. It would be difficult to turn down the opportunity to stand inside the Memorial Tunnel, while fans went bonkers to the tantalizing Tunnel Walk video blaring overhead, and step out to the Gulf of the Sea of Red. Then repeat that for four years.

That is something he would never regret in this writer’s humble opinion.