For the next 6 days HuskerCorner.com will be bringing you an in-depth look at each position for the 2012 season. We will break down who we think is the front-runner for the starting position, the player on the front-runner’s heels for the starting spot and a freshman who could make a splash.
The Blackshirts have grown accustomed to having All-American talent at the cornerback position. The last two years have seen talents Prince Amukamara and Alfonzo Dennard graduate, and the Huskers are left looking for the next hot shot. Nebraska returns three juniors with starting experience that are all fighting for the top spot. Incoming JuCo defensive back Mohammed Seisay appears to have the talent to put pressure on the top three from the get-go.
The Front Runners
Andrew Green is the best cornerback Nebraska has. Although Green gave Nebraska fans plenty of grief last season when he struggled in man coverage, Green showed that he is the biggest playmaker Nebraska has at cornerback. Green finished the season with 38 tackles and 6 pass deflections. He closed the regular season strong against Iowa, recording an interception and 6 tackles. While his strength is zone coverage, Green can make a huge leap in ability if he can just find a way to keep up with shifty wide receivers downfield.
The frontrunner to start opposite Green is Stanley Jean-Baptiste. Since moving from wide receiver, Jean-Baptiste has shown tremendous upside, but has struggled a bit with form. An offseason spent with defensive backs coach Corey Raymond will do wonders for Jean-Baptiste. His downfield speed, ball awareness and ability to make a play on the ball give him a well-equipped set of tools to succeed at corner. Once he masters the technique and the scheme, Jean-Baptiste has the capability to be the next big thing on the Blackshirts defense.
The Top Contenders
The coaching staff thinks very highly of Ciante Evans – make no mistake about that. Coaches just prefer to use Evans in the nickel role to take advantage of his physicality and strength in man coverage. Since Evans arrived, his best feature has been his physicality, and coaches are finally using that to its full advantage. Last season, Evans focused almost exclusively on the nickel, and it remains to be seen if the coaches want to move him back out wide to replace Alfonzo Dennard, but for now, pencil him in at nickel.
Passed the top three there are only a few more names that could make a splash. Josh Mitchell and Corey Cooper both started a game for the Huskers last season, but it looks like Cooper may have moved back to safety permanently. Also, Bo Pelini said in his Feb. 1 press conference that running back Braylon Heard will likely move to cornerback, so keep an eye on him.
Mohammed Seisay enrolled early at Nebraska for a reason. Seisay has a chance to play right away and could earn a starting spot shortly thereafter, similar to what Daimion Stafford did in 2011. Seisay was named one of the top ten JuCo prospects in the country by Rivals.com. Seisay started as a redshirt freshman for Memphis before transferring to Eastern Arizona Junior College. Seisay is a ball-hawk who has the potential to take one back to the house every time he gets his hands on a pass. Look for him to give the top three a big push right away in spring practice.
Depth Chart Prediction
Starter – Andrew Green
Starter – Stanley Jean-Baptiste
Nickel – Ciante Evans
Dime – Mohammed Seisay
Top Reserve – Josh Mitchell
By Chris Peters
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Topics: 2012, Andrew Green, Big Ten, Blackshirts, Braylon Heard, Ciante Evans, College Football, Corey Cooper, Corey Raymond, Corner Back, Cornerback, Defensive Back, Depth Chart, Huskers, Huskers Blog, Josh Mitchell, Mohammed Seisay, Nebraska, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Roster, Stanley Jean-baptiste, Top 25