Nebraska football is only a couple weeks away from its annual Red-White Scrimmage, which caps off the spring football schedule.
The Huskers have already gone through a couple weeks of practice, and it’s becoming clear who some of the biggest risers and fallers are at this point in spring practice.
Players on the rise:
- Braylon Heard – Moving to cornerback from running back is working out tremendously for Heard. Since moving over, Heard when from a No. 4 running back to a borderline starter at nickel for the Blackshirts. Coach Bo Pelini has said some tremendous things about Heard’s progress and he figures to fight for a starting spot come fall camp.
- Seung Hoon Choi – Choi did the nearly impossible. The walk-on supplanted a former five-star prospect, Andrew Rodriguez, for the starting guard position. His performance thus far in the spring is leaving Nebraska’s coaches impressed with Choi, while his fellow players also shower him with praise, saying he works as hard as anybody on the team.
- Antonio Bell – Right off the bat, Bell surprised a lot of people. A standout in last year’s spring game, Bell started this spring working with the first team. At corner, there are a number of players fighting for the starting role, and it looked like Bell would be an odd-man-out, but thus far, it seems as though he may be near the head of the pack.
Players on the decline:
- Courtney Osborne – Entering spring ball, Osborne looked to be in great shape to fight for the starting safety spot next to Daimion Stafford. Although Pelini said he’s happy with Osborne’s progress, he hasn’t been working with the top squad in practice. Right now, it looks like Corey Cooper will get the dime spot, and Harvey Jackson might join Cooper on the two-deep at safety. Although Osborne has more experience than those two combined, there’s a chance he slips passed them on the depth chart permanently.
- Andrew Rodriguez – It’s been a tough off-season for Rodriguez. An injury at the end of last season gave Choi a chance to jump A-Rod on the depth chart, and Choi hasn’t given up ground since then. As a result, coaches moved Rodriguez to tackle this spring. Pelini said Rodriguez is a “natural” at tackle and that he should compete for a starting spot right away. Although he might leave spring with a starting spot, his pride had to take a hit along the way, and he appears worse off than when he started the spring.
- Stanley Jean-Baptiste – He was the next big thing at corner for Nebraska. In his limited appearances last season, Jean-Baptiste showed flashes of immense potential. After healing up from nagging injuries, spring ball was supposed to be his time to claim a starting role. While Jean-Baptiste hasn’t looked awful, other names are getting much more attention, and it looks like he could be jumped by both Antonio Bell and Mohammed Seisay at corner, while Braylon Heard even gives him a push. It’s unclear where Jean-Baptiste will end up at the depth chart come the end of spring ball, but for now he appears to be sinking rather than rising.
By Chris Peters
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