Recruiting 3 year look - 2012 thru 2014
The major question every recruiting season is what positions are our biggest priorities. The biggest mistake people make when answering this question is not understanding that we are not recruiting to fill our CURRENT needs. We are filling our needs for the future. To understand this, we need to project our depth chart 2 or 3 seasons down the road. Where we see holes in the future, that is where we need to concentrate. Holes in our current roster or our immediate future will almost certainly need to be filled by position changes or JUCO’s. Everything else, needs solid HS recruits.
Always beware of positions that look stacked but will be hit hard by attrition down the road. Coaching staffs that do the best job of preparing for such future potential emergencies are the coaching staffs whose programs not only win but win consistently year after year.
This thread is designed to help understand our depth needs looking forward 3 years.
A couple of rules:
Some players may be listed at a secondary position in addition to their primary position. Their names will be surrounded by () at the secondary position. I usually list those players at the end of each position
When projecting future starters, in many cases I just systematically rotate players up. The purpose is not to show who will start over who, but to show depth. In many cases, I do not show a given player to be starter even though I may strongly believe he will be one. I just rotate names forward at that position.
Starters are listed first in each line. Then the second string. The rest of the reserves are listed denoted by  around list. Then () players. I do place ??? anywhere in the two-deep that is not filled by a player currently on the roster. Recruits do not count in the two-deep until they are signed.
Signed players not yet on campus (not yet qualified) denoted by underline.
Walkon players denoted with * after name. Walkon players do not count in the depth chart until they are on campus.
First and Second team in ALL CAPS. First team and second team separated by ~ symbol.
Except in specific situations, I assumed no future redshirts, early exits for the draft, or Academic casualties.
2012 thru 2014 Depth Charts:
S 2011 GRADUATED: AUSTIN CASSIDY, Lance Thorell; LEFT TEAM: Dijon Washington, Brent Moravec*, Andrew Holt*
RECRUITS-LeRoy Alexander, Alonzo Moore-ATH
2012 DAIMION STAFFORD-R & P.J. SMITH-RSR ~ COURTNEY OSBORNE-RSR & COREY COOPER-RSO
[Harvey Jackson-RSo, Justin Blatchford-RSr, LeRoy Alexander-Fr, Alonzo Moore-Fr, Wil Richards*-RJr, Austin Williams*-RSo]
RECRUITS-Nathan Gerry, D.J. Singleton(Spring enrollee), Drake Martinez-ATH
2013 C.COOPER & H.JACKSON ~ W.RICHARDS* & L.ALEXANDER
2014 C.COOPER & H.JACKSON ~ L.ALEXANDER & ALONZO MOORE
CB 2011 GRADUATED: ALFONZO DENNARD, Marcus Mendoza; LEFT TEAM: Josh Bart*
RECRUITS-Mohammed Seisay(JC-2.5/2), Charles Jackson, Greg Milliken*(Walk-on) Transfer-Jonathan Rose
2012 MOHAMMED SEISAY-RJR & ANDREW GREEN-RJR ~ CIANTE EVANS-JR & STANLEY JEAN-BAPTISTE-RJR
[Antonio Bell-Sr, Josh Mitchell-RSo, Jace Dean*-Sr, Seth Jameson*-RJr, Daniel Davie-RFr, Charles Jackson-Fr, Yusef Wade*-RSo, Derek Foster*-RSo, Joey Felici*-RSo, Anthony Ridder*-RFr, Greg Milliken*-Fr] Jonathan Rose-So(not eligible to play in 2012)
2013 SEISAY & A.GREEN ~ C.EVANS & BAPTISTE
[J.Mitchell, J.Rose, S.Jameson*, D.Davie, C.Jackson, Y.Wade*, D.Foster*, J.Felici*, A.Ridder*, Milliken*]
2014 J.MITCHELL & D.DAVIE ~ C.JACKSON & Y.WADE*
[J.Rose, D.Foster*, J.Felici*, A.Ridder*, Milliken*]
LB 2011 GRADUATED: LAVONTE DAVID, Matt May*, Jim Ebke*; LEFT TEAM: Derek Slaughter*, Devin Paulson*, Tyson McGill*
RECRUITS-Michael Rose, Zaire Anderson(JC-3/2), Jared Afalava, Thomas Brown, Aaron Gabriel*(Walk-on), Taylor Hoffman*(Walk-on), Mitch McCann*(Walk-on), Brad Simpson*(Walk-on)
2012 ALONZO WHALEY-RSR & WILL COMPTON-RSR & SEAN FISHER-RSR ~ ZAIRE ANDERSON-JR & TREVOR ROACH*-RSO & DAVID SANTOS-RFR
[Micah Kreikemeier-RSr, Max Pirman-RFr, Michael Rose-Fr, Jared Afalava-Fr, Thomas Brown-Fr, Colby Starkebaum*-RJr, Matt Manninger*-RSr, Jack Gangwish*-RFr, Aaron Gabriel*-Fr, Taylor Hoffman*-Fr, Mitch McCann*-Fr, Brad Simpson*-Fr]
RECRUITS-Josh Banderas, Courtney Love(Spring enrollee), Marcus Newby
2013 Z.ANDERSON & T.ROACH* & D.SANTOS ~ PIRMAN & M.ROSE & AFLAVA
[T.Brown, Starkebaum*, J.Gangwish*, A.Gabriel*, T.Hoffman*, M.McCann*, B.Simpson*]
2014 PIRMAN & T.ROACH* & D.SANTOS ~ AFLAVA & M.ROSE & T.BROWN
[J.Gangwish*, A.Gabriel*, T.Hoffman*, M.McCann*, B.Simpson*]
DT 2011 GRADUATED: JARED CRICK, TERRENCE MOORE; LEFT TEAM: Josh Molek*, JC Moore*
RECRUITS-Vincent Valentine, Aaron Curry
2012 BAKER STEINKUHLER-RSR & THADDEUS RANDLE-RJR ~ CHASE ROME-RSO ~ KEVIN WILLIAMS-RFR
[Aaron Curry-Fr, Jay Guy-RSo, Tobi Okuyemi-RSo, Vincent Valentine-Fr, Kenny Anderson*-RSr, Jeff Uher*-RSo]
RECRUITS-Kevin Maurice, Maliek Collins
LEFT TEAM-CHASE ROME
2013 T.RANDLE & K.WILLIAMS ~ CURRY & VALENTINE
[J.Guy, Okuyemi, J.Uher*]
2014 K.WILLIAMS & CURRY ~ VALENTINE & OKUYEMI
DE 2011 GRADUATED: NONE; LEFT TEAM: JOSH WILLIAMS, Andy Gdowski*
RECRUITS-Greg McMullen, Avery Moss, Ross Dzuris*(Walk-on)
2012 CAMERON MEREDITH-RSR & JASON ANKRAH-RJR ~ ERIC MARTIN-SR & JOSEPH CARTER-SR
[Avery Moss-Fr, Donovan Vestal-RSo, Walker Ashburn-RSo, Greg McMullen-Fr, Ross Dzuris*-Fr]
RECRUITS- A.J. Natter, Randy Gregory(JC-3/3), Ernest Suttles, Dimarya Mixon
2013 ANKRAH & D.VESTAL ~ A.MOSS & MCMULLEN
2014 D.VESTAL & A.MOSS ~ MCMULLEN & W.ASHBURN
RB 2011 GRADUATED: TYLER LEGATE-FB, Austin Jones, Curenski Gilleylen; LEFT TEAM: Aaron Green, Collins Okafor, Lester Ward, Ty Kildow*, Colin McDermott*, Mitch Hron*-FB
RECRUITS-Imani Cross, King Frazier*(Walk-on), Graham Nabity*(Walk-on), Andy Janovich*-FB(Walk-on), Jordan Nelson*(Walk-on), Carson Collins*-FB(Walk-on)
2012 REX BURKHEAD-SR & MIKE MARROW-RJR-FB ~ AMEER ABDULLAH-SO & C.J. ZIMMERER-RJR-FB
[Braylon Heard-So, Imani Cross-Fr, Graham Stoddard*-RSr-FB, Andy Janovich*-Fr-FB, King Frazier*-Fr, Graham Nabity*-Fr, Jordan Nelson*-Fr, Zach Taylor*-RSo, Marat Kuzu*-RFr, Carson Collins*-Fr-FB]
RECRUITS-Adam Taylor, Terrell Newby
LEFT TEAM-Braylon Heard
2013 ABDULLAH & MARROW-FB ~ CROSS & ZIMMERER-FB
[K.Frazier*, Nabity*, J.Nelson*, A.Janovich*-FB, Z.Taylor*, M.Kuzu*, C.Collins*-FB]
2014 ABDULLAH & A.JANOVICH*-FB~ CROSS & C.COLLINS*-FB
[K.Frazier*, Nabity*, J.Nelson*, Z.Taylor*, M.Kuzu*]
QB 2011 GRADUATED: NONE; LEFT TEAM:
RECRUITS-Tommy Armstrong, Ryker Fyfe*(Walk-on)
2012 TAYLOR MARTINEZ-RJR ~ RON KELLOGG*-RJR
[Brion Carnes-RSo, Bronson Marsh-RFr(Left team), Tommy Armstrong-Fr, Tyson Broekemeier*-RFr, Ryker Fyfe*-Fr]
2013 T.MARTINEZ ~ R.KELLOGG*
[B.Carnes, T.Armstrong, T.Broekemeier*, R.Fyfe*]
2014 T.MARTINEZ ~ B.CARNES
[T.Armstrong, T.Broekemeier*, R.Fyfe*]
WR 2011 GRADUATED: BRANDON KINNIE; LEFT TEAM: Khiry Cooper, Keegan Hughes*, Jacob Smith*, Dillon Schrodt*
RECRUITS-Jordan Westerkamp, Brandon Reilly*(Walk-on), Cole Chvatal*(Walk-on), Lane Hovey*(Walk-on)
2012 QUINCY ENUNWA-JR & KENNY BELL-RSO & TIM MARLOWE-RSR ~ JAMAL TURNER-SO & TAARIQ ALLEN-RFR & STEVEN OSBORNE-RSR
[Tyler Evans-RSo, Tyler Wullenwaber*-RSo, KC Hyland*-RSr, Jordan Westerkamp-Fr, Taylor Dixon*-RSr, Sam Burtch*-RFr, Sam Foltz*-Fr, Brandon Reilly*-Fr, Richard Wynne*-RFr, Cole Chvatal*-Fr, Lane Hovey*-Fr]
RECRUITS-Kevin Gladney, Tre'vell Dixon(ATH)
2013 Q.ENUNWA & K.BELL & J.TURNER ~ T.ALLEN & T.EVANS & WESTERKAMP
[Wullenwaber*, S.Burtch*, S.Foltz*, B.Reilly*, R.Wynne*, C.Chvatal*, L.Hovey*]
2014 K.BELL & J.TURNER & T.ALLEN ~ T.EVANS & WESTERKAMP & WULLENWABER*
[S.Burtch*, S.Foltz*, B.Reilly*, R.Wynne*, C.Chvatal*, L.Hovey*]
TE 2011 GRADUATED: Kevin Thomsen*, Jay Martin*; LEFT TEAM: J.T. Kerr, Robert Barry*
RECRUITS-Sam Cotton, Trey Foster*(Walk-on), Jared Blum*(Walk-on), Eddie Ridder*(Walk-on)
2012 BEN COTTON-RSR ~ KYLER REED-RSR
[Jake Long*-RJr, Conor McDermott*-RSr, David Sutton-RFr, Sam Cotton-Fr, Trey Foster*-Fr, Jared Blum*-Fr, Eddie Ridder*-Fr]
RECRUITS-Greg Hart, Cethan Carter
2013 J.LONG* ~ SUTTON
[S.Cotton, T.Foster*, J.Blum*, E.Ridder*]
2014 SUTTON ~ S.COTTON
[T.Foster*, J.Blum*, E.Ridder*]
OL 2011 GRADUATED: JERMARCUS HARDRICK, MIKE CAPUTO, MARCEL JONES, Luke Lingenfelter*; LEFT TEAM: Ryan Klachko, Brian Thorson*, Dwight Jones* SUSPENDED: TYLER MOORE
RECRUITS-Paul Thurston-OT, Corey Whitaker, Garret Johns*(Walk-on), Robbie Painter*(Walk-on), Dylan Utter*(Walk-on)
2012 BRENT QVALE-RJR(OT) & SEUNG HOON CHOI-RSR & COLE PENSICK-RJR(OC) & SPENCER LONG-RJR & ANDREW RODRIGUEZ-JR(OT) ~ JEREMIAH SIRLES-RJR(OT) & BRANDON THOMPSON-RSR & JUSTIN JACKSON-RSR(OC) & RYNE REEVES-RFr & JAKE COTTON-RSO(OT)
[Mike Moudy-RSo, Givens Price-RFr, Zach Sterup-RFr(OT), Paul Thurston(OT)-Fr, Corey Whitaker-Fr, Mark Pelini*(OC)-RSo, Brandon Chapek*-RJr(OT), Brodrick Nickens*-RJr(OT), Nick Ash-RJr, Scott Criss*-RJr, Will Sailors*-RFr, Aaron Hayes*-RFr, Adam Kucera*-RFr(OT), Chris Long*-RFr, Garret Johns*-Fr, Dylan Utter*-Fr, Robbie Painter*-Fr]
RECRUITS-Zach Hannon, David Knevel(OT)(Spring enrollee), Matt Finnin(OT)(JC-2/2*), Chongo Kondolo(JC-3/2), Dwayne Johnson(OT) TRANSFER-Sam Hahn*(OT) LEFT PROGRAM-Nick Ash
2013 QVALE(OT) & R.REEVES & PENSICK(OC) & S.LONG & A.RODRIGUEZ(OT) ~ J.SIRLES(OT) & M.MOUDY & M.PELINI*(OC) & G.PRICE & J.COTTON(OT)
[Z.Sterup(OT), P.Thurston(OT), C.Whitaker, B.Chapek*-(OT), B.Nickens*(OT), S.Criss*, W.Sailors*, A.Hayes*, A.Kucera*(OT), C.Long*, G.Johns*, D.Utter*, R.Painter*]
2014 Z.STERUP(OT) & M.MOUDY & R.REEVES(OC) & G.PRICE & J.COTTON(OT) ~ P.THURSTON(OT) & C.WHITAKER & M.PELINI*(OC) & W.SAILORS* & ???
[A.Hayes*, A.Kucera*(OT), C.Long*, G.Johns*, D.Utter*, R.Painter*]
Kicking 2011 GRADUATED: Jonathan Damkroger*; LEFT TEAM: Sam Meginnis*
RECRUITS-Colin Clare*(Walk-on)-PK, Spencer Lindsay*(Walk-on)-PK; TRANSFERS: Michael Ziola-PK
2012 PK/P/KO-BRETT MAHER-RSR ~ MAURO BONDI-SO LS-P.J. MANGIERI-SR
[Joseph Rotherham*-RFr-LS, Michael Ziola*-RJr-PK, Colin Clare*Fr-PK, Spencer Lindsay*-Fr-PK]
RECRUITS- Gabriel Miller-LS TRANSFERS: Pat Smith-PK
2013 PK/P/KO-MAURO BONDI LS-P.J.ROTHERHAM
[M.Ziola*-PK, C.Clare*-PK, S.Lindsay*-PK]
A little late this year, as I have had issues with health, computers, my job, and so on. I just really struggle with time to really do this thread right. I started to do the 2012 Recruiting Board thread a couple of weeks ago and my computer crashed right when I was done--I lost everything before I was able to post. Four hours of work down the drain. I have had so many issues with my new computer, Windows 7, and Office 2010 (specifically Word 2010) that I am ready to just chuck my PC into the sewer and give it up.
But, first day of Fall Camp calls for some effort. So here is the 2012 version of the 3 year depth chart. Hopefully, I can devote enough time to keep it up to date.
Let me know if I have made an obvious mistakes or omissions please.
I will be back in the next few days or so to give some thoughts on some of the positions.
As always thanks!!!
Originally Posted by HuskerInOkieland
I would give my life for anyone one of them as i would my own family.
It doesn’t matter if the glass is half full or half empty. What matters is you have a glass that has something in it. Some people have no glass, or have a glass with nothing in it. So appreciate all that is in your life and quit questioning whether your glass in half full or half empty.
I don't post a lot in these threads but I do read them every day and I sincerely appreciate all the work you do
My favorite thread every year, thanks again HIO.
A hard group to pin down because players move back and forth so much. It is sometimes hard to tell where guys are playing and the hybrid positions cloud the issue even more. In addition, many of the younger players start off at cornerback, even if their destination is believed to be safety. This is a practice used by many coaching staffs as the belief that playing at cornerback for a period of time improves the players coverage skills when the move to safety is made. But here goes . . .
The numbers appear to be shallow a bit across the board. Also, I noticed that we do not have many walk-ons in the defensive backfield, particularly safety. Walk-ons have been a big part of the safety position in recent years and certainly have added to the over all depth. Perhaps we will see those numbers change once Fall Camp ends and the rest of the walk-ons arrive.
I have this position rated as my #2 concern coming into this season. To be more precise, free safety is the position that concerns me. Yes I know, according to Bo Pelini our safety positions are interchangable and that is true to some extent but not completely 100%. Strong safety is an area of strength with Daimion Stafford primed to be our next great defensive player. His coverage skills improved in the second half last season and almost the entire backfield (which greatly underperformed in the first half) seemed to breathe a sigh of relief at the coaching change made in the off-season. Stafford is backed by Courtney Osborne who has the misfortune of playing the same position and really not being an option at free safety. Corey Cooper is another option as is Harvey Jackson. We are loaded here. Meanwhile at free safety, we have P.J. Smith and . . . . . . . . . ah, to be named later. I was looking to the spring game to shed some light on this position but . . . oh well. Our #2 free safety in the spring transferred out. I'm going to guess Corey Cooper here even though there was some talk of moving him to linebacker. Justin Blatchford is also an experienced DB that can provide depth all over the backfield. But we need Smith to have a big year. He is a huge key to our success in 2012. In 2013, the depth falls off the table. This is a critical issue that will most certainly need a JUCO. Thus, we are looking at JCs in recruiting. We will also likely convert a guy or two from CB (rob Peter to pay Paul) but we have to be careful there as those numbers will fall off the table in 2014. Two candidates I like are Andrew Green (if you go with an upperclassman) or Daniel Davie (if you go with a younger guy). The problem with Green is that you are potentially moving a key starter for his senior season. There were some folks I have talked to that have wondered out loud if Green should have already been moved for this year. Hard to do when Seisay hadn't set foot on campus before the Spring. Again, robbing Peter to pay Paul is a risky proposition when Peter's numbers are in flux as well. If you notice, I have LeRoy Alexander (he of one practice) listed on second string next year with walk-on Will Richards (not a bad player by the way). Alonzo Moore is not yet qualified and he could be a candidate for CB. We already have two athletes verballed for next years class that I have earmarked for safety. The only young walk-on safety I see on the roster is Austin Williams.
What a difference Mohammed Seisay makes to the immediate depth chart! Andrew Green and Ciante Evans at CB with a couple of other guys fighting for the nickel? Hmm . . . Seisay at CB with Green and Evans at the other CB & nickel backed up by some a couple of other guys? Sounds much nicer, doesn't it? Of course, those other guys include Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Antonio Bell, and Josh Mitchell. Those guys aren't bad. I put Baptiste on the chart on second string but Bell had a great spring and the difference between the two is very small. Depth doesn't stop there. Charles Jackson has arrived. Even better! And don't forget young speedy Daniel Davie. Then throw in experienced walk-ons Jace Dean and Seth Jameson and this position doesn't look too bad at all. In fact, this may be our deepest position. I have got to believe we are going to see somebody move over to safety from here. I also like Yusef Wade who moved here from RB last year. No wonder Braylon Heard moved back to RB. The problem with this position? Look how the depth falls off the table in 2014. It isn't too terrible as I like the three scholarship guys that are left at that point but how much experience will those guys have blocked by so many upper-classmen up to that point? A JUCO may be needed (this year or next). In addition, I am not sure all of those guys will still be at CB. Again, I like Davie to potentially move to safety. Josh Mitchell is very talented (if he doesn't get stuck behind the others, get impatient, and transfer). I do believe Charles Jackson will force his way into the rotation by then if he is as good as billed. But this is getting a little thin. CB has got to be a key position in this year's class. So far, I have no one listed at CB for our class but keep in mind that athletes can end up anywhere. There are a few young walk-ons who could still be around by then including Freshman Greg Milliken who was here in the spring. This walk-on group could very well provide some depth at safety as well.
Over all, there is some talent in this bunch and some very promising talent coming in. Hopefully, Alonzo Moore will qualify and give us another great athlete in the defensive backfield (although WR may be an option as well). The trick will be to find the right fit for this group to ensure that we have coverage at all positions across the board and that each player is playing at the best position for his skill set. Not always an easy task but that is why the coaches make the big bucks. Recent late misses at these positions have created a bit of a shallow pool of talent. Look for a JUCO at both CB and safety, probably this year (yes, there are offers out) or next year at the latest (safey has to be this year, though). I also look to see the staff beef up the walk-on numbers at safety a bit.
Some cause for concern here and there, but certainly managable issues.
Great stuff as always my good friend....
Notre Dame only had one Rudy but Nebraska gets a new crop of Rudys every season
Nebraska fans, this is called someone in your conference having your back…welcome to the Big Ten. - HawkeyeNation
Follow up note. I forgot to mention that a transfer could also be a possibility at safety. Well, Auburn DB Jonathan Rose is considering transferring to Nebraska after being dismissed from the team. He was a true Freshman last year so he would have 3 to play 3 after sitting out his transfer year.
Appears that was what Coach's 'P's twitter was about......rated a 4-star out of high school...yup would burn his RS year....
Could be a Husker by midweek....looking really good for Nebraska...
Originally Posted by HuskerInOkieland
Notre Dame only had one Rudy but Nebraska gets a new crop of Rudys every season
To paraphrase Shakespeare (sorry to be so philosophical here) "The fault is not in our stars . . . but in ourselves . . ."
When you look at the linebacker depth chart, you might want to keep this famous line in mind.
I think that no position has been a bigger disappointment in recruiting to me than linebacker. It has arguably been perhaps the most mediocre (forgive me Lavonte David) position during the Bo Pelini era. Not to let Callahan off the hook. I remember Callahan’s second full recruiting class where he made no attempt to recruit a HS LB. I remember saying that I hoped I would never go through another recruiting cycle where we skip linebacker. When Bo Pelini got hired, I hoped that his previous NFL experience coaching linebackers and the tremendous job he did unleashing Demorrio Williams upon the unsuspecting College Football world in 2003 would be a sign of things to come for the position at NU.
Oddly enough, he has seemed almost appethetic towards the lack of depth at linebacker here.
Consider that in 2006, I counted 10 major setbacks to the linebacker position (major injuries, JUCO player not making it to Lincoln based on a technicality-not grades, suspensions, etc.) I remember people complaining about the lack of depth at the position. How much depth can you reasonably expect, I wondered out loud many times in game threads.
Can you imagine 10 injuries/setbacks to this years' group? Yikes. Imagine if it turned out that Zaire Anderson was ineligible due to a technicality. Imagine our top 3 linebackers all having season threatening injuries. How bad would it be then? To quote Count Floyd, "Scardy, kids!" I don’t think we even have 10 guys. If we had that many injuries, Bo Pelini would be surfing HuskerMax looking for some posters with eligibility who wouldn’t mind suiting up and playing some linebacker.
But HIO, some would say, we changed Conferences and were in the Peso. That is what happened. Well we were in the Peso because of Eric Hagg and because of poor LB depth. We had to know that Hagg would graduate someday. We also were way short at LB even for the spread-happy Big 12.
We did this to ourselves. Can we survive? I have labeled LB depth as the #3 worry that I have for next year. We simply cannot afford ANY injuries at LB.
We seem to recruit a big class every 3-4 years or so, and then act as though we can move on to other positions. Then, once the big class gets established, we feel as though we can’t recruit kids to sit behind young starting linebackers. Throw in a JUCO here and there to fill our holes, and there you have our recruiting.
We are again at the big class part of the cycle. Last year we took 3 promising guys . . . two of which have not yet qualified (although we are waiting on paperwork and hopefully it is just a formality). We are following it up with an outstanding 2013 trio of linebackers led by Josh Banderas.
But let’s look at our depth.
Now some would take note of the fact that I said above, “LB . . . DEPTH”. But HIO I hear some say, I’m worried about our starters. We’re terrible.
I actually have some hope here. Last year, we had a fresh linebacker coach and it seemed that the unit in general showed promising improvement in the second half. I take that as a good sign. Some of the veterans seemed to be playing with much better technique including fixing issues in technique which had been present since the players arrived in Lincoln. I take that as a very good sign.
The one constant component seems to be Will Compton. He has had two seasons where he seemed to play much better in the second half. He flashed on some big time plays in the second half last year which may hint for a big senior year. Whether he has a huge play-making year or just solid study play, his presence and leadership is vital to the success of the blackshirts.
After Compton, things get a little dicier. Like Compton, Alonzo Whaley flashed for some big time plays in the second half last year. Whaley’s career has been a mystery. Given chance after chance, I have heard said several times that he just was not the type of player the coaches thought they were getting when they recruited him. Where is the guy we saw on film? our coaches have reportedly asked. Then last year, that guy suddenly showed up in practice. He made some plays in games. He had a great spring. Could he be this year’s Philip Dillard? All right, that isn’t a fair comparison but perhaps the light bulb has truly come on for Whaley.
It is a shame that Zaire Anderson could not make it here in the spring. We can only hope he does as well as the last JUCO LB who couldn’t make it for the spring (David). He is the wildcard that everyone is counting on to save the day at LB.
Anderson better be as good as advertised because we all know who that leaves . . . perpetual internet punching-bag Sean Fisher. It was brutal to watch Fisher hobble on one leg last year. A true testiment to our lack of depth that a one-legged man could start at linebacker at NU. We are told that his leg is better now and that he had a great spring. I am not going to try to pump sunshine flavored kool-aid to anyone and suggest an All-American year in the making. I will point out that for all of his troubles making plays, he sure did put himself in a position to make a lot of plays last year. That is one of the reasons his failures flashed so brightly. I have always said, never judge an injured player. They’ll make a chump out of you every time either way you go (see KCRoyals trade of David Cone years ago.) I would hope that if his leg is better, his experience and nose for being in the right place can at least make him a usable body out there. If he can be better than that, than all the better all around. Keep in mind that he may also be eligible to recover one more year due to his injuries. I actually expect him back in 2013.
That gives us four guys. Those four are not proven stars by all means but hope is eternal. What else do we have? David Santos is promising and should see plenty of action on kickoffs and mop-up duty at the least. Hopefully, he can work his way into the rotation to prepare to be at least a three year starter for us. Last year, one of the hot names I heard coming out of spring ball was walk-on Trevor Roach. He flashed for us in one game early in the year and disappeared. Injuries were to blame. Hopefully he is back to 100% and ready to go. He looks to back up Compton in the middle. Max Pirman seems to be doing well after settling on LB, but is probably a ways away yet. Perhaps one of the least popular scholie offers of all time went to Micah Kreikemeier years ago. This is his last injury filled season. Don’t expect much here. That leaves incoming Freshman Michael Rose who may very well see duty this year. Expect him on kickoffs if anything, to prepare him for any late-year injuries and for next year. He is a good one. Jared Afalava and Thomas Brown have not yet been cleared. Fingers crossed, fingers crossed. I could be wrong but I believe Afalava is more likely to be ready right away as Brown may be more of a long term project. As Afalava’s status remains unchanged, the odds of his participating right away decrease.
We lose Compton and Whaley next year so the depth depends on how well the younger players work their way into the rotation this year and if Fisher returns. We lose Anderson (and Fisher?) the following year but hopefully by then, the younger players are flourishing.
A JUCO is not out of the question here but I am not aware of any offers so far. Perhaps the coaches will wait and see how Santos, Rose, Afalava, Roach and company fare before making the decision.
This pool isn’t shallow, the suction pump is actually gasping air. We have put ourselves behind the 8-ball here and this isn’t the first time either at this position. But we have actually been fairly lucky at this position so far (imagine if David had been a bust, gotten hurt, not qualified, for example) and perhaps our luck will hold for just a little longer. The status of Afalava and Brown (Afalava particularly) are huge. Assuming they qualify, combined with Rose that is an outstanding start to restock the cupboard. Add 2013 verbals Josh Banderas (perhaps the best player in this class), Courtney Love, and Marcus Newby and there is a whole lot to get excited about. Plus, we are solidly in the Big 10 and appear to be seeing some solid development coaching from Coach Ross Els.
Now let’s just hope we don't say “good enough” and stop recruiting the position again for 2-3 years.
Next up . . . Defensive Line.
Zach Hannon announces "N".
Double good day, Alonzo Moore cleared. I have removed his underline. That is great news. Tremendous athlete if we can harness his potential.
Now we just need to get him in Fall Camp.
Great stuff. Wow, this makes the only recruiting game more interesting and understandable. Thanks.
CB Jonathan Cook joins the Husker pledge list.
Great thread, thanks for the work it took to put all this together.
"Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment." -- Benjamin Franklin
Jonathan Rose is now a Husker. It is official. That makes 2 Jonathan CB's in 24 hours from the state of Alabama to join the Huskers. They even spell their first names the same and both have 4 letter last names that are actual common words. Strange.
Jonathan will sit out this year and then will have 3 to play 3. It sounds like he is being brought in as a CB (his position at Auburn), not a safety. I still look for NU to recruit a JUCO safety if Rose truly plays CB. And it also makes more sense now than ever that one or two CBs might eventually move to safety.
One of the more enigmatic groups in the Pelini era. Every year, posters start multiple threads about how deep and talented our DL is . . . “the strength of the team,” they declare. Then someone else posts how average and ordinary our DL is, “Where are the playmakers? Where are the pass rushers?” they cry. “The biggest weakness of the team,” they declare.
The truth as usual seems to lie somewhere in the middle. One explanation we keep hearing for less than expected results is that our DL is used to “contain” the other team and not to attack. With a linebacker like Lavonte David, their job has been to occupy blockers and allow him to make plays. But David is gone now. Another thing that is unusual is that Pelini seems to bring pressure up the middle and contain on the outside with his DEs. This is a bit backward from most programs who seem to rush off the edge and try to stuff the middle. Pelini’s strategy made sense when he had Suh, but where is the off the edge pass rush he featured in 2003? Husker fans ask.
To make matters worse, last year our DL bulked up in the offseason to gear up for the Big 10. This turned out to be a mistake as they looked slow and at times, foolish chasing opposing QBs and ball carriers in the open field. This year, we have a much better understanding of the strength and fitness that is required for the Big 10.
We debate amongst ourselves how good or bad our DL is however, there is no denying the statistic that we were last in the Big Ten in tackles for loss last year. But regardless of anything tangible we can put our fingers on, no matter how well we believe the DL is actually playing, we always seem to hunger for just a little more.
We are told that with the new DL coach, that we will be more aggressive and attack more. This sounds encouraging however, I would warn that the last time I heard a Husker DC say he was going to be more aggressive with a first year DL coach, it was Cosgrove right before the Hindenburg crashed into the Titanic at Memorial Stadium.
But let’s see what we got.
Are we deep at DT? The answer to that lies in the answer to this question: Who’s still hurt and who is now healthy? The answer to this question will be one of the storylines for 2012. We had one of those avalanche injury type situations during spring ball. This could turn out to be a blessing if key players come back healthy this fall. Lots of younger players got reps.
The anchor to our DL is Baker Steinkuhler. An enigma within an enigma. Steinkiller just has never quite lived up to the expectations of Husker fans. It’s doubtful he ever could given that many feel it is a given he would be a 4 year All American had he stayed at OT. The truth is, he was discovered with a serious back condition his freshman year that took a long time to get under control and I understand will be an issue for the rest of his life. I have always said that a recruits’ ranking is nothing more than a snapshot in time. If Baker’s back condition had been known in High School, no way would he have been rated 5*s. But he is better than Husker fans sometimes realize. NTs don’t always make big plays (Suh somewhat spoiled us). Sometimes their job is to force the other team to double team and clog up the middle. Baker Steinkuhler does this very well. Plus, he comes up with a great play every now and again. All in all, Husker fans should learn to appreciate him for what is and not what they wish he was. Starting next to him will be a good battle between Chase Rome and Thad Randle. Hard to say who will have the leg up as injuries have kept both guys off the field for awhile. Personally, I think Chase Rome is a star in the making. There is good depth here if everyone is healthy and all three should play and contribute quite a bit. Behind those three, it is more of a mystery. RS Freshman Kevin Williams drew rave reviews last year but an injury set him back somewhat. If he is healthy, look out. Jay Guy has tools but not the drive our coaches would like to see although he is getting better in that regard. He played some last year and if he doesn’t improve, could still be a useful body in an emergency type player at the least. Toby Okuyemi moved inside from DE and has some promise but might need a little more time. Todd Peat Jr. has had some issues with his back that have made evaluation of his progress difficult. Walk-on Kenny Anderson is a senior who could see the field some if injuries are a factor. Jeff Uher is a young walk-on with some potential. NU brought in two good looking recruits in Vincent Valentine and Aaron Curry.
The depth holds up for the most part for the next two years if the injuries aren’t too serious and if some of the younger players step up. There are a couple of players that haven’t progressed as well as the coaches have hoped, so a sudden “light-bulb” moment out of somebody would do wonders for our depth. There is considerable promise here but NU has offered a big time JUCO to help this group get over the top.
“Where is the big-time pass rushing end?” Husker fans keep asking. This is one of the main concerns of many fans year in and year out. Cameron Meredith led the DL with 5 sacks last year playing with an assortment of injuries. He suffered as much as anyone for trying to bulk up too much. Before his first injury, he flashed on some plays that seemed to indicate that he was ready to become a dominant end. Let’s hope he can stay healthy and can be one of the stars of this years’ defense. The other end is a spot of concern and was an ongoing issue all of last year. Jason Ankrah started almost all season and at times looked utterly lost. But he is a young player with considerable upside and he seemed to get better in the second half. He had a solid spring and could hold a key to the defense returning to form this year. Meanwhile, Eric Martin really came on in the pass rushing department in the second half of his first full year at DE. Look to him to be a key component in third down rushing situations. He is a major wildcard on the DL as no one knows what to expect but his talent, hitting, and aggressiveness makes him a scouts' dream. Joseph Carter is a JUCO who seemed to swim in the details last year. I thought he looked much more comfortable during the second half last year. If having a solid build is what it takes to be great, Carter would be an instant All American. He has the tools and Papuchis has hinted that Carter is a big part of the plan for 2012. The depth here isn’t bad and could even be good if some guys step up their games even with the departure of Josh Williams to Kansas. Part of our issue with DE stems from our last big DE class that included Donovan Vestal, Walker Ashburn, and Toby Okeyumi (now at DT). This class was largely a bust although Vestal still has a chance but it is time for him to make a move. Freshman Greg McMullen offers hope for the future (although some have speculated he could move inside) and it is not outrageous to think he could play right away. I don’t see how he could move inside given the depth issues down the road. Avery Moss is another promising Freshman but he looks to need some time. Ross Dzuris is a promising walk on.
We lose three of the top four guys for 2013 and then the fourth for 2014. Our depth is little thin here and scary if some young guys don’t step up. DE is clearly one of our most pressing issues for this class and recruiting is off to a good start with promising Christian Lacouture and A.J. Natter already verballed for 2013. I still think that a JUCO is in our future here and possibly one more HS kid (preferrably a pass rushing specialist).
Pretty basic. DT depth solid but perhaps not spectacular talent over all (assuming positive results to health issues). DE depth a major concern after this year and over all needing big time playmakers. There is plenty of young talent already on campus. How those guys fare will go a long ways in answering the concerns that fans might have. I can see it going either way, it is up to the players. We should know by the end of this year a great deal more than we know now. Let’s hope that the adjustments in strength and fitness yield positive results and that new DL coach Rick Kaczenski can help the young talent to turn the corner and realize their potential.
Over all, I actually feel pretty good about this group although DE depth down the road does concern me a little.
Next up . . . Offense and the skilled positions.
We will finish up with the Offensive Line after that.
My #1 concern position going into this season. Not because there isn’t talent or potential here, but because how enormous this position is to our success. For all the debate about Pelini, he really has been a Quarterback away from some impressive accomplishments. I believe that QB play has been the weakest link during the Pelini era. In fact, going back thru the Callahan era, no position has been as troublesome, elusive, or inconsistent. We have had ten years of so-so QB play. We have had some decent performances mixed in over the years, but over-all, we haven’t had the consistency we need to run any of the many offenses we have attempted. Furthermore, huge recruiting disappointments have hurt as well. Freeman and Gabbert come readily to mind. Untimely injuries have played their part as well. But whatever the reasons, QB play hasn’t quite been there. Consider Mack Brown and how he looked before Vince Young and Colt McCoy. Look how he has looked after those two QBs. A great QB can lift a program to new heights and also cover up a lot of issues.
With that said, I will say that this year one thing must be true:
It is time for the great Taylor Martinez experiment to be over.
This is not a slam on Martinez or his abilities. But it is time. It is time for him, now that he is a third year starter, to step up and be the kind of playmaking QB that Pelini has always envisioned.
I do not want to hear any excuses. No more talk of new offenses, young WRs, OL issues, etc. I don’t want to hear about how he is “managing” the offense. I don’t want to hear how he is learning the basics of quarterbacking. I don’t want to hear how young he is. I don’t want to hear how another embarrassing loss is everyone else’s fault but Martinez’s. When we are blowing somebody out, I don’t want to see Martinez stay in the game because “he needs the reps” when it is clearly time to give the #2 QB some reps (Can you imagine Burkhead staying in the game in a blowout because “he needs reps”). I don’t want to hear about his girlfriend crying in Math class. I don’t want hear about how the Omaha World Herald is picking on him. I don’t want to see him pouting after a bad performance telling the media, “it doesn’t matter what I say, you guys criticize me no matter what I do.” Enough.
It is time for Taylor Martinez to be the man. Time to grow up. Criticism comes with the job. And it isn’t always fair. It doesn’t matter if the criticism is unfair (often times it is, and others it isn’t), nothing good ever comes from a Head Coach or a QB complaining about the media or the fans.
Play well, and everything else takes care of itself.
Taylor Martinez has worked very hard this offseason. He is in the second year in a new offense that was tailored to his talents. He has a great running back at his disposal and a wealth of talented receivers to utilize. All the ingredients are there for a great season. He doesn’t have to be perfect. He doesn’t have to throw like Peyton Manning. He can have bad moments or tough games just like any other QB. But there are things he must do. He must lead (this team cries for leadership), he needs to show that he can retain lessons and move onto other lessons without backsliding on previous learned lessons, and he has to show the ability to bounce back once things start spiraling downhill.
These are things he has struggled with.
I don’t care if T-Mart completes 70% of his passes (meaningless statistic really), if he does these things, we could surprise a lot of people this year. If he doesn’t, another 9-4 type season filled with the usual disappointments is probably in the cards. No other player has such a direct influence on our win-loss record as Taylor Martinez.
It’s up to him. I think he has the talent to do it. But I also think some of the concerns of his skeptics are legitimate. That is why I have this position as the #1 concern.
What of depth? Our QB position is almost synonymous with Taylor Martinez for the next two years. But there are some interesting players behind him. Depth at QB has not been the greatest over the past decade, at times we have been scary thin. QB depth is hard to develop due to the fact that athletes tend to transfer if they don’t see an opportunity to start in front of them. It is hard to blame kids for this because the simple fact is that QBs don’t develop sitting on the bench. Generally speaking, a QB has to play in order to get better. So even if a QB doesn’t transfer, how much are they really worth if they do not play?
That brings us to our current situation. On paper, the depth looks to be improving. We have a young backup with promise named Brion Carnes. But how good is he? Critics of Martinez often question Carnes’ abilities when it is stated that there is a big gap between Martinez and Carnes. But honestly, Martinez is a two year starter and Carnes a RS Sophomore with little experience (and no real significant experience), how could they be close? I have no doubt if Martinez goes down with an injury, we would see a significant drop. The question is, for how long? If Martinez was injured for 5 or 6 games, would Carnes grow into the position with significant playing time? I don’t know the answer one way or the other. Everyone has their opinion, but I don’t know if anyone really knows for sure. That is the nature of being a #2 QB behind the established #1.
Of course, Carnes isn’t for sure the #2 QB. Freshman Tommy Armstrong is looking like a future star who could be ready sooner than later. Given the number of snaps Carnes received last year, I don’t know if Husker fans would like to see Armstrong burn his redshirt to be the #2 QB. The question would be if Martinez were to get hurt, it would be hard not to burn Armstrong’s redshirt even if Carnes slid up from #2. Armstrong would then become the #2 (if wasn’t already) and would always be a play away from getting into the game. This would be a painful decision to make late in the year if you bypassed opportunities to play him earlier in the year. This will be interesting to watch.
Behind these two, Ron Kellogg Jr. isn’t a bad sort of guy to have around. As walk-ons go, he is downright a luxury to have. He has some experience and if a rash of injuries would occur, he has a strong arm and has been in the system awhile. Bronson Marsh is done with safety we are told and will be a full time QB. RS Freshman Tyson Broekemeier is an interesting walk-on talent. So is true Freshman walk-on Ryker Fyfe. Pretty decent depth and some quality walk-ons at a tough position to walk-on.
But of course, QB is all about taking it to the next level. Johnny Stanton is verballed for the next class giving Nebraska another potential star at the position. There was talk of possibly taking two QBs in this class, but I tend to think the coaches like where the position sits right now.
Our depth in the future looks great. Martinez has another season and could be an extremely rare 4 year starter. Meanwhile Carnes is still young (although it is tough to be blocked above with talented guys nipping at your heels from below), and Armstrong and Stanton give Husker fans plenty to hope for in the years ahead.
Maybe, just maybe, we now have the quarterbacks in place for the program to make a prolonged run back to the top of the elite class of teams. Our immediate future seems tied to Taylor Martinez. But our long term future appears to be in great hands. No position should be more fun to watch in the years ahead.
Next, RB’s, WR’s, & TE’s. I was going to do one post for all the skilled positions, but wanted to concentrate on QB by itself. I will finish with the OL.
Great, Great post HiO. I agree, Pelini is a consistent QB away from being a double digit win team the past few years. It's time for TMart to shoulder this team and either take them where we expect them to be, or the experiment that will last 3 years after this year, should probably be over. It's time for him to win us a game or two, and make sure that we don't lose any by his mistakes. A lot of great college QBs would have killed for the opportunity to have a 3rd and even 4th year as a starter. But many had to come in as RS Jrs or even Srs and get the job done. Where you are more mature then, Taylor's growing process needs to show that it has improved immensely. No more stupid mistakes. When the line breaks down make a play. Check to the right plays. Don't fumble.